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Biological Trace Recovery Crime Scene Reconstruction Touch DNA

New DNA testing ordered by Governor Brown in the death row case of Kevin Cooper: A radio interview with Richard Eikelenboom

Posted By Richard Eikelenboom

On Christmas Eve, Governor Brown ordered new DNA testing on four pieces of evidence in the case of Kevin Cooper, who was convicted of murdering a couple, their ten year old daughter and an 11 year old boy in Chino Hills in 1983

In this link you can hear a radio interview with the lawyer of Kevin Cooper, a journalist and Richard Eikelenboom of IFS.

DNA of the Kevin Cooper was found on some incriminating locations of evidence. There are indications that (blood) evidence could have been planted.  Eikelenboom is convinced that new (touch) DNA-investigations can help solve this very complicated case.

More about the the Kevin Cooper case on wikipedia.

The New York Times als has an article with a lot of information about the case.

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Letter to the editor: “To characterize the P450 phenotype, one should take into account the drug–gene interactions over more than one drug and one gene.”

CYP450 IFS Articles

Letter to the editor: “To characterize the P450 phenotype, one should take into account the drug–gene interactions over more than one drug and one gene.”

Posted By IFS

10.2217/pgs-2018-020 2018 James Fogleman Pharmacogenomics

Letter to the Editor

Selma JM Eikelenboom-Schieveld & James C Fogleman

“To characterize the P450 phenotype, one should take into account the drug–gene interactions over more than one drug and one gene.”

Letter regarding: Ekhart C, Matic M, Kant A, van Puijenbroek E, Schaik RV. CYP450 genotype and aggressive behavior on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Pharmacogenomics 18(7), 613–620 (2017) [1].

First draft submitted: 9 December 2017; Accepted for publication: 12 July 2018; Published online: 31 August 2018

Keywords: aggressivebehavior•CYP450genotype•phenoconversion•SSRIs

With great interest, we read the paper by Ekhart et al. on the relationship between CYP450 genotype, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and aggressive behavior [1]. They reported that Lareb, The Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre, received 50 reports of aggression while on SSRIs (citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline or venlafaxine) between 2010 and 2014. Genetic profiles were generated for two of the CYP450 genes that are known to be involved in the metabolism of SSRIs: CYP2D6 and CYP2C19. The allelic and predicted phenotypic frequencies for these genes were compared to a healthy blood donor control group of 99 individuals and literature data in Caucasians, but no significant differences between the aggression cases and the controls were found. Based on these data, the authors concluded: “We found no supporting evidence for a significant relationship between CYP2C19 and CYP2D6 genetic polymorphisms and aggression in patients using SSRIs.” We believe this paper has multiple, serious methodological problems, which call the authors’ conclusion into question.

Our first comment involves their sample size for cases involving aggression (in other words, 18 cases). The authors base their conclusions on a very selected, small group of patients and then stretch those conclusions to the general population. This is an example of inappropriate generalization or proof by example. That the authors did not see differences between cases and controls for frequencies of functionally compromised P450 alleles may well have been a result of their small sample size. This is in addition to the well-known fact that statistics, performed using small sample sizes, may lack sufficient statistical power to reject a null hypothesis and detect a true effect. We note that the study by Lucire and Crotty [2], which did detect increased frequency of variant CYP450 alleles in cases (akathisia) versus controls, had sample sizes of 85 (cases) and 150 (controls).

The authors go on to state that they did not find a single case of a poor metabolizer (PM) for either CYP2D6 or CYP2C19 among their 18 cases, and subsequently state that, with respect to CYP2D6, this absence fails to substantiate the hypothesis that it plays a role in the risk of aggressive behavior. A PM for either enzyme would be a likely candidate for increased adverse events based on decreased metabolism. We believe, however, that there may be other reasons for this finding. Individuals, who are receiving psychotropic drugs and are PMs, are the first to feel the adverse effects of medication, and it is certainly possible and may be likely that they stop the medication when they feel increasingly worse instead of better. This is supported by the fact that, in clinical trials on psychotropic medication, the number of dropouts is usually around half of the participants. If that is the case here, it is not surprising that PMs do not make it to the stage where they report aggression as a side effect. It is also possible that, among the 32 who did not agree to participate or who did not submit DNA, there were people with such bad experiences on SSRIs that they did not wish to be involved. The PMs (0–2) that the authors expected out of their 18 cases could be in the group of nonparticipants. We believe that the authors’ method of selecting participants creates a bias in favor of the lack of an association. Finally, with such a small sample size, it is possible that PMs were simply missed due to random chance. Given the expected frequency of PMs given in the paper (5–10%), the binomial probability of seeing zero PMs among 18 cases ranges from 0.15 to 0.40.

We also disagree with the authors’ decision to limit their study to just CYP2C19 and CYP2D6. Considering patient M053720, this subject was prescribed citalopram, and is characterized as an intermediate metabolizer for both CYP2C19 and CYP2D6. According to the paper, citalopram is metabolized by CYP2C19 (∼40%), CYP2D6 (∼30%) and CYP3A4 (∼30%). To us, it seems unlikely that the authors could completely understand the relationship between a drug and P450 genotypes without having information on all of the P450 enzymes that metabolize the drug. The authors do not explain why CYP3A4 was not investigated, when it is as involved in the metabolism of citalopram as the other two enzymes. To characterize the P450 phenotype, one should take into account the drug–gene interactions over more than one drug and one gene. Citalopram is known to inhibit both CYP2D6 and CYP2C19. For this patient, CYP2D6*4 is a loss of function allele and CYP2C19*2 exhibits decreased activity. The patient is on medication that will further reduce the metabolic capabilities of both P450s. This patient might well be considered a PM due to phenoconversion [3]. The same applies to patient M053719, who is using paroxetine, a paninhibiter. This patient’s CYP2D6*5 is a loss of function allele, CYP2C19*2 exhibits decreased activity, and the patient is on medication that inhibits both enzymes as well as most other P450 enzymes (including CYP3A4) that might be recruited if the titer of the medication in the blood starts increasing. This patient is also an excellent candidate for phenoconversion to a PM. The CYP3A4 gene is the work horse of the CYP450 system and could assist in metabolizing both citalopram and paroxetine, but the status of that enzyme is unknown in all the patients included in this study.

Finally, the last four cases (out of 18) reported in Table 1 do not include any information on the medication that these patients were taking. Without this information, we do not believe these four cases can contribute anything to the understanding of the relationship between CYP450 genotype and aggressive behavior, since the authors do not, in fact, know which P450 enzymes are specifically involved. Elimination of these four cases would bring their sample size down to 14 and increase our concern regarding all matters relating to small sample size.

We believe that the issues mentioned here should have been addressed by the authors. While the study of the relationship between P450 genetic polymorphisms and the occurrence of aggressive behavior in patients using SSRIs is critically important in our present-day health care system, the methodological problems inherent in this study significantly limits its contribution to increasing our understanding of this relationship. Furthermore, the use of this study to support particular points of view on this topic for criminal cases in front of court systems or for decisions by governmental organizations regarding future research is, in our opinion, not scientifically warranted.

Financial & competing interests disclosure
The authors have no relevant af liations or nancial involvement with any organization or entity with a nancial interest in or nan- cial con ict with the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript. This includes employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, or royalties.

No writing assistance was utilized in the production of this manuscript.

Open access
This work is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit //creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

References

  1. 1  Ekhart C, Matic M, Kant A, van Puijenbroek E, Schaik RV. CYP450 genotype and aggressive behavior on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Pharmacogenomics 18(7), 613–620 (2017).
  2. 2  Lucire Y, Crotty C. Antidepressant-induced akathisia-related homicides associated with diminishing mutations in metabolizing genes of the CYP450 family. Pharmgenomics Pers. Med. 4, 65–81 (2011).
  3. 3  Shah RR, Smith RL. Addressing phenoconversion: the Achilles’ heel of personalized medicine. Br. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 79(2), 222–240 (2015).
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Documentary: The Happy Pill

Anti depressants CYP450 IFS Articles

Documentary: The Happy Pill

Posted By IFS

From thehappypillfilm.com

Silje Marie Strandberg was seriously mentally ill. She had a heavy schizoaffective and dissociative disorder diagnose. She heard voices, hallucinated, cut herself, had an eating disorder and repeatedly tried to kill herself. She was so sick that no one thought she could ever recover. But after 10 years in mental wards, 10 years of compulsion, isolation, electrolysis and heavy medication, she finally recovered and is now completely healthy. The difference was her psychiatric nurse, Lone. Lone went further in terms of proximity and self-interest. It’s almost like a miracle. This story is unique. A story of hope. But it’s also the story of a young girl with little self-confidence that lost 10 years of her life. Where did it go wrong? Did she have to go through 10 years of torture in mental wards? These are the answers Silje Marie is looking for in this documentary.

Watch the movie on their own website or directly here:

      
    
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Now doctors MUST wake-up to the dangers of patients hooked on depression pills

Anti depressants CYP450 IFS Articles

Now doctors MUST wake-up to the dangers of patients hooked on depression pills

Posted By IFS

The Daily Mail October 2, 2018.

In this article cases and studies are described about the effects of addiction when using anti depressants. In case work performed by IFS and Selma Eikelenboom-Schieveld we see the problems described in the article below. So not only these types of medication increases the chance on suicide and homicide but also people are getting heavily addicted. Selma is investigating into CYP 450 enzymes to find out how the anti depressants are metabolized and how these drugs can cause violence.

Read the whole article here

 

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Fabrications created by out-going Denver District Attorney Mitchel R. Morrissey

IFS Articles

Fabrications created by out-going Denver District Attorney Mitchel R. Morrissey

Posted By IFS

First I want to mention that my native language is Dutch and not English. I apologize for grammar mistakes. In the Netherlands, the issue for court is for the truth to come out. Justice is based on the truth. For a Dutch person, the American court system is kind of weird because of the adversarial system in the US the opposing party seems to be the enemy who must be discredited whether serving the truth or not. I have seen that in the Tim Masters Case, the David Camm case, Casey Anthony and many other cases.

Several newspapers wrote about me and television networks aired a statement by Denver District Attorney Morrissey in which he discredited me as a DNA expert. In this reaction, we will expose the fabrications in his statement.

August 29, 2016, I was going to testify in an alleged sexual case where I had reviewed DNA reports generated by the Denver police lab, the State lab (CBI) and a private company called Cellmark.
During the voire dire phase, the proposed expert is questioned by both the defense and the district attorney. The district attorney limited her questions in her cross examination to the time when I was working for the Netherlands Forensic Institute, which is from 1993 till 2005. During the re-direct by the defense attorneys, the lawyers failed to give me the opportunity to clarify my working experience since then. Normally in this phase any wrong impressions created by the DA are set straight. Not doing their job resulted in the judge rejecting me as an expert. I have testified almost 90 times and this is the first time I have been rejected as an expert witness.

The text below was used by FOX 31 on September 1 2016:
“A Denver prosecutor got Richard Eikelenboom to admit he “had no direct DNA extraction or analysis experience, that he operates a lab that has not been accredited, that he personally failed his basic proficiency tests in 2011 and 2012, and admitted that he was ‘self-trained’ in running DNA profiles,” the Denver District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Thursday.”

Fabrication 1:
Richard Eikelenboom “….had no direct DNA extraction or analysis experience…”

That Denver prosecutor limited her questions to me in her cross examination to my experience at the Netherlands Forensic Institute, where I worked from 1993 till 2005. That laboratory, as most labs in Europe, performs DNA examination in an assembly line. The sample goes from one department to another:
1. DNA trace recovery
2. DNA extraction
3. DNA analysis
4. Cases coordinating
5. DNA report writing

If you worked in the DNA department at that time you could specialize in one of these steps. Other areas of expertise were bloodstain pattern analysis and crime scene investigation.
When I worked at the NFI my specialties were in DNA trace recovery, coordinating cases, bloodstain pattern analysis, crime scene investigations, reports writing and testifying about those reports in court.
At the NFI, I received training on every field of expertise but I did not work on the sub departments of DNA extraction and DNA analysis. So, it is correct that at the NFI I did not work at DNA extraction and DNA analysis units.

What makes the statement of Morrissey a fabrication?
After I left the Netherlands Forensic Institute, I joined Independent Forensic Services. This company was founded by my wife Selma and DNA expert Johanna van der Meij in 2003. We rebuilt a farm in the middle of the Netherlands into a DNA laboratory. We performed DNA examinations for law enforcement, prosecution and defense attorneys. In our lab, the DNA experts execute every part of the DNA investigation, from step 1 to step 5. Since 2005 Johanna van der Meij and myself have done thousands of DNA-extractions and analyzed thousands of DNA-profiles.

Around 2008 we had a meeting at the Office of the Attorney General where Morrissey was present. In that meeting we explained in detail how we performed the DNA investigation in which we found prove that Tim Masters was innocent. We provided full discovery to the AG’s team, including Morrissey. He was very hostile towards us, to the embarrassment of the staff of the Attorney General’s Office. The Denver District Attorney’s Office – in the person of Morrissey – knew I had “direct DNA extraction or analysis experience”. By putting out a press release and making statements to the contrary, Morrissey is deliberately casting doubt on my expertise.

Fabrication 2:
“….that he operates a lab that has not been accredited….”

The standard accreditation for forensic laboratories worldwide is the ISO-17025. IFS acquired that accreditation in 2008 and held it ever since. This allows us the work internationally. The American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) has some additional requirements, but they audit laboratories against the same ISO-17025 standard. We decided to apply for the ASCLD accreditation as well. During the trial in which the Denver prosecutor crossed me, we received the certificate of the ASCLD accreditation and presented that to the judge and the DA. The judge did not allow the certificate for this trial, but the DA had from that moment on proof that IFS has a double accreditation. We are the only lab in Europe which is in the possession of an ASCLD accreditation. The Denver police lab, that works for the DA office, does not have an ASCLD accreditation. Morrissey obviously felt the need to give a press conference based on what happened during the trial. Either his district attorney informed him about our ASCLD accreditation and he knowingly left it out, or the district attorney did not inform him and allowed her superior to make incorrect statements damaging my reputation. Both options raise serious questions about the integrity of the Denver district attorney’s office.

Fabrication 3:
“…..he personally failed his basic proficiency tests in 2011 and 2012…..”

The goal of a proficiency test is to check if different labs can reach the same conclusion at the end of the DNA testing. During the testing, labs can have minor different results, due to technical issues and different procedures. That was the case in the testing I did in 2011 and 2012.
You fail the test if you reach a wrong conclusion. I reached the correct conclusions, hence I did not fail the proficiency test. Failing the test will lead to a withdrawal of our accreditation. We never lost our accreditation. Morrissey either does not understand how a proficiency test is set up, or he is deliberately trying to make us look incompetent.

But let us look at real mistakes, made by the Denver police lab:

The Denver lab was not capable of detecting their errors before the wrong people were arrested. One can only wonder how many innocent people are in jail because of the work of the Denver lab and Morrissey. It is obvious why the Denver police lab does not have an ASCLD accreditation. It is unlikely ASCLD would accept these types of errors.
I can assure you that this type of errors has never been made by me or my IFS coworkers.

Fabrication 4:
“….admitted that he was ‘self-trained’ in running DNA profiles…..”

I have a degree in biochemistry which involves a large amount of DNA training. During my more than 10 years working on the Biology Department at the National Forensic Institute, I was trained in all aspects of DNA investigation. At that time, there was no educational facility where you could study to become a DNA scientist. You became a DNA scientist by on the job, in-house training.
We built our own lab. We worked closely through the years with the experts from the manufacturers where we bought our equipment. We wrote our own quality system, we validated the tests and subjected ourselves to two independent, international audits to get the personal, including myself, and the proceedings of our lab accredited. Most so-called DNA scientist do not have the opportunity to acquire that kind of in depth expertise. In that sense, we are “self-trained”, and we are proud of it.

Fabrication 5:
“….He gets paid high dollars to give opinions….”

This is offensive and hypocritical. We do pro bono work worldwide. In the United States we haven’t made more than 20,000 per year for the last 5 years.

Morrissey on the other hand wanted more money even though he was already the highest paid state elected official:

Fabrication 6:
“… he is a fraud….”

A fraud is a person intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.
Where is the proof that I am a fraud? Does Morrissey base his claim on the accusations put up in fabrications 1 to 5? Accusations we proved were wrong and which Morrissey knew were unjustified?
A lot of judges, people working for law enforcement and defense lawyers think different about me. In the Netherlands, I got a certificate as court appointed expert. This means that the courts can rely on your integrity and opinions. A lot of experts in the Netherlands do not hold such a certificate.
Furthermore, I was allowed by the Ontario Provincial Police to go to crime scenes and review cases. It is very unlikely a “fraud” would get this opportunity and get a thank you letter for other work.

The Denver DA’s and prosecutors from others states did an extreme amount of investigation into my background. The even contacted co-workers from more than 10 years ago at the Netherlands Forensic Institute. I have no problem with that, I have nothing to hide. On the other hand, they must have become aware that perpetrators are in jail because of DNA evidence I found and reports I wrote. They also know I am not corruptible because I worked on several miscarriages of justice in the Netherlands and was responsible for turning the verdicts around (cases like the Puttense homicide and the Deventer murder case).

Morrissey went before the cameras to try to destroy my reputation. Willingly and knowingly, he made statements about me that are untrue and can be easily proven so. It went all over the United States and we have yet to determine the extent of the damage. We are seeking legal advice and will decide the coming months whether to take legal action.

Let us look at what Morrissey is implying with his statements:
Is he suggesting that Tim Masters is guilty of the murder of Peggy Hettrick? Is he trying to defend the police work in the Masters case? Tim Masters was the first official wrongful conviction in the history of Colorado. Given the quality of the Denver District Attorney Office, especially under the leadership of Morrissey, it is unlikely that Tim Masters was the first or the only one.
The Attorney General’s office cleared Tim Masters of any wrongdoing and exonerated him completely and unconditionally. After the DNA examination of our lab proved Tim Masters innocence, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did their own investigation and confirmed our findings. That part was left out in the statements made by Morrissey.
Morrissey upholds the public office of leading the Denver district attorneys. One would expect high integrity.

Another example is the case of Moses-El.
Moses-El was convicted of rape on partly based on a dream of the victim. The DNA rape kit, and other physical evidence, was destroyed by the police after a judge ordered testing on it. Morrissey saw no reason to reopen the case. Years later after public outcry, instead of releasing the man Morrissey spend tax payers’ money on retrying this case and gets slapped in the face by a jury’s “innocent verdict”.

Finally let’s have a look at the JonBenet Ramsey case, Morrissey apparently wanted to indict the father and the mother.
There is one problem however, in that his own Denver police lab did find DNA of at least one unknown male inside the panties of JonBenet. A profile that does not match the parents. But that did not stop Morrissey to try to indict the parents.
BODE technology, a private lab, made things worse for Morrissey because they confirm the results from the Denver lab. They took two samples from the long-johns which Jon Benet was wearing. These samples were not taken at random but from the sides where a perpetrator could have pulled them down. If you find an indication of the same unknown male on a girl of 6 that has been raped, you want to know who that is, before you starting an indictment of the parents. We analyzed the case for A&E and came up with ideas how to solve the case.

The only way for this exculpatory DNA to go away is if huge mistakes were made by either the Denver lab and/or CBI. These mistakes could be a contamination combined with the inability to detect such a mistake. If this is the case, the lab at fault could lose its accreditation.

I think Morrissey has felt threated by my work from the beginning. The Attorney General asked IFS to investigate the Peggy Hettrick case after the release of Tim Masters, not the Denver Police Lab. We advised the Boulder DA how to do the trace recovery on the clothing of JonBenet and the profile of the unknown male was where we said it might be.

In another case, we have been investigating evidence and generated profiles for law enforcement. The Denver Police Lab refused to compare our results with possible suspects.

Morrissey is just shooting the messenger of ill news.

This is to be continued……

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Transcript of Abraha and Gebreyohannes case: Comments by Richard Eikelenboom

IFS Articles

Transcript of Abraha and Gebreyohannes case: Comments by Richard Eikelenboom

Posted By IFS

The transcript of the case.

This was the case in which Denver DA Mitch Morrissy claimed that I admitted not having performed DNA extractions and DNA analysis.

The Denver DA in this case Dawn Weber used transcripts from other cases, like Casey Anthony, David Camm and Tim Kennedy in which I testified. Those cases were huge compared to this alleged rape case. The problem with transcripts is that I never get to verify and agree on what is written down. In this case, there is a very easy mistake. I said that I testified about 90 times as mentioned in my CV. The court reporter wrote down about 19. That is a heck of difference. 

English is not my first language therefore it is understandable that court reporters get it wrong sometimes. Besides that, I speak very fast which makes it even more difficult for a court reporter to understand me. Sometimes the court reporter in this case abbreviated the Netherlands Forensic Institute to the Netherlands. The DA was talking about my time at the Netherlands forensic Institute not about the time after 2005 when I left the Institute and I was still living in the Netherlands. Below you can see that the way of questioning was not very friendly. Often you can not answer the question correctly with a yes or no, if for instance you don’t know the context of the question. This case proves that the Denver Da’s will explain my answers in the way they want to see it, even if it is not true.

The Denver DA’s said I admitted that I had no experience in DNA extraction and DNA analysis. The text below show my answer to one the questions.

The text above means that I also do DNA extraction and DNA analysis since 2005. I do not know what the Denver DA’s and the judge don’t understand about this. But maybe this got lost in translation as well. Then about admitting failing the proficiency test. The DA comes with that. My answer in the transcript is shown below. I think that this answer is clear.

At one point the judge asked the DA and the defense lawyers to his table and then they talked about something which I could not hear. Reading the transcript, I still don’t understand exactly what is going on. The way I read it he did not hear enough of my qualifications. If this is correct than it is up to the defense to make my qualifications more clear. This case was very small compared to the Casey Anthony and David Camm cases.  In those cases much more time was spend on qualifying me and much more time was spend by the DA’s in order to get me disqualified. In the Camm case I even had to go through a Daubert hearing about the methods that I used. This Daubert hearing we won. I spend days on the stand in those cases. The defense in this case was rushed because the case had to be ended the next day and I did not get to explain my qualifications because the defense had no further questions. I think that was absurd and the defense should never have stopped.

Another big mistake made by the defense, was that my resume was not given to the court as an exhibit. That would help to prove that the judge made a mistake by blocking my testimony.

There is much more but I am not going to write about all issues which come up out of this transcript. You can read the transcript yourself here.

I think we can conclude that the Denver DA’s fabricated the story for the news networks because they don’t like me to investigate their cases. That they damage my reputation is not only sad for defense lawyers but also for the police forces for which we work. Cases like those of  Michelle Lawless and the Kristin O’Connell. For now I stop with talking about the Denver DA’s, because I have to go work on the case of Aaron Hernandez….

 

 

 

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Biological Trace Recovery

The Intercept: After decades on death row William Montgomery was granted a reprieve. Yet his dubious conviction still stands.

Posted By Richard Eikelenboom

In this article in the Intercept more background information about the case is given. Also the opinions of the scientists, police, lawyers and DA’s are stated, which makes this a very interesting article.

 

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Biological Trace Recovery

W.T. Montgomery death sentence commuted by governor Kasich

Posted By Richard Eikelenboom

This morning, the Governor signed a warrant of commutation for Inmate Montgomery commuting his death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Selma Eikelenboom-Schieveld wrote a report on time of death on the victim Debra Ogle. She found out that Ogle was alive after the victim Cynthia Tincher was killed. This completely refutes the scenario of the DA’s. There were more issues in the case. We wrote a short review of the case.

We both presented before the parole board which later decided 6-4 for clemency. With this post I want to thank everybody for their support to get the sentence commuted. The next step will be for the lawyers to get their hands on the evidence which still could be available and to get a new trial.

The DailyMail posted this article.  WHIOTV posted this article.

Articles by IFS are found here and here.

View the warrant in PDF here

 

 

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Biological Trace Recovery

Too much doubt to execute W.T. Montgomery, please sign this petition

Posted By Richard Eikelenboom

Please sign this petition.

As a forensic scientist I normally do not get involved in petitions and politics, but in this case there is so much at stake and in order to find the truth W.T. Montgomery should not be killed on April 11, 2018. Time is needed to prove his innocence (or guilt). If he is killed that is not possible anymore.

We met W.T. Montgomery on death row and he certainly did not show signs of being a psychopat who killed two girls in cold blood. I have met serial killers and a number of suspects in court who were convicted partly on forensic evidence I found in their cases. This certainly does not maken me an experts on criminal behaviour and able to recognize every psychopath. In order the identify the psychopaths I rely on forensic science, DNA, bloodstain pattern analysis crime scene reconstruction, etc.

More information about the forensic problems in this case, you can find here. here you find the parole board recommendation  and here the clemency application

More news articles and here

 

 

 

 

 

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Biological Trace Recovery Crime Scene Reconstruction Forensic Medical Investigation Touch DNA

W.T. Montgomery’s death row case: A short review by Richard Eikelenboom

Posted By Richard Eikelenboom

In this article more will be explained about the case of W.T. Montgomery.

William Montgomery was convicted of killing Ms. Ogle, 20, as part of a Toledo robbery on March 8, 1986, and then returning to kill her roommate, Cynthia Tincher, 19, because she could have placed Montgomery and his convicted accomplice, Grover Heard, with Ms. Ogle that night. Montgomery was sentenced to death for Ms. Ogle’s murder and is scheduled to die by lethal injection on April 11, 2018. He is serving a separate life sentence for Ms. Tincher’s murder.

The Toledo Blade placed this article last Friday. The San Fransisco Chronicle had  this article.

The journal times published this.

There is a certain amount of doubt in this case. The experts at Independent Forensic Services do “truth finding”. We are hired by both the prosecution and defense and make it clear from the start that what we do is to scientifically test the hypotheses from both parties and determine which hypothesis is supported by the evidence, regardless of who proposed the hypothesis. To see this case in perspective more information is needed than what is published by the newspapers.

Background of the case

The hypothesis of the prosecution is that these girls were killed by the same perpetrator shortly after one another on March 8, 1986. Victim Tincher was found on March 8, 1986, in her car along a road. Victim Ogle was found four days later in a wooded area. A proper investigation into the time of death of these victims has never been performed and a forensic medical report was never written. My wife Selma Eikelenboom-Schieveld conducted an investigation into the time of death of the victim Debra Ogle. This investigation revealed that is was much more likely that Debra Ogle was killed on a later date than the victim Tincher. This discredits the theory of the prosecution. But there is more .

Review of the case

In this case there are factors which should cause serious concern about the guilt of W.T. Montgomery.

  1. This case was tried in 1986. Forensic science was not very sophisticated compared to 2018. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reviewed a number of fields in forensic in their report: “strengthening forensic science in the united states: a path forward”. “the quality of forensic practice in most disciplines varies greatly because of the absence of adequate training and continuing education, rigorous mandatory certification and accreditation programs, adherence to robust performance standards, and effective oversight. These shortcomings obviously pose a continuing and serious threat to the quality and credibility of forensic science practice.” This is certainly true for all investigations performed in 1986 on the gun, exhibit 45, in this case.
  2. The body of Debra Ogle was found four days after Tincher’s. In the scenario of the prosecution Ogle was killed first. Which would mean that she was dead for four days when she was found. Warming up the body of Debra Ogle will have accelerated the decomposition and the postmortem indicators, like rigor and livor.
  3. The body of Debra Ogle was discovered face down. She was then moved to her left side. She was then moved to her back. Lividity shifted accordingly. This proofs that not all the lividity was fixed at the moment of discovery of the body. The finding of non-fixed lividity does not support the hypotheses that the victim died on March 8, 1986. The finding of non-fixed lividity puts the time since death somewhere between 12 hours to a maximum of 36 hours prior discovery of the body.
  4. There is no sign of animal activity, neither from insects nor from animals like rodents. Especially the area of injuries would have been targeted by such animals. In the four days temperatures Rose to the sixties, at these temperature insects are active.
  5. It appears that the coroner’s verdict about the date of death of Ogle has been altered from March 12, 1986 to March 8, 1986. This is a strange finding which should be investigated further. Why did the coroner change his first conclusion?
  6. No receipt of the gun, exhibit 45, was found in the evidence released to IFS. The gun is the main piece of evidence which supposedly belonged to Montgomery and which was “matched with the bullets, cartridges, and casings found at the crime scenes of Tincher and Ogle. From a key piece of evidence one could expect that the chain of custody was properly documented, even in 1986.
  7. No blood tests were performed on the gun exhibit 45. Since both victims sustained a contact shots to the head is almost certain that the gun used contained their blood. Why was this not investigated? We can do it now, even after 30 years.
  8. No counter expertise was performed on gun and the “matches” with the bullets, cartridges, and casings. This could be a mistake of the defense but when you want to execute someone, a check of this evidence, in my opinion, would be important. E.G. the FBI could perform this counter expertise. (//www.fbi.gov/services/laboratory/scientific-analysis/firearms-toolmarks)
  9. Blood tests were performed on a small number of items but much more clothing of both defendants Heard and Montgomery should have been investigated. If the evidence is still present investigations could be performed by IFS.
  10. Bloodstain pattern analysis and crime scene reconstructions could have been performed in 1986. There is no evidence in the files IFS has received that this has taken place. IFS could do it now if all evidence and all pictures are provided to us.
  11. IFS does not have all the pictures in this case, but it is clear that more pictures should have been taken from victim crime scenes and all evidence. Even in 1986 this was normal practice with most police forces. In other old cases we worked on, much more pictures were available.
  12. A gun belonging to of grandmother of Glover Heard, a 38 special, was not brought into evidence. Although Glover Heard was a suspect. One injury to the skull of Debra Ogle is likely caused by a much heavier caliber gun than the .380 Bersa linked to the crimes. A 38 special would be a more likely gun to cause the damage to the skull of Debra Ogle.
  13. It is almost certain that a .380 gun malfunctioned on the crime scene of Debra Ogle. Two live cartridges were found at the scene. This supports the hypothesis that a second, more powerful, gun was used to kill Debra Ogle.
  14. This case relies heavily on witnesses. Witnesses are often proven wrong by DNA investigations, bloodstain pattern analysis and crime scene reconstructions. As a forensic scientist, I think forensic science is more reliable, when performed correctly, than certain eyewitnesses. Especially as the witness could get a death sentence unless he/she testifies.
  15. Touch DNA could shed light on the events that happened around the time the two girls were killed. Ogle had an injury on her arm which could have been caused during a struggle with the shooter. The jacket of Ogle can be investigated for touch DNA. DNA testing on the clothing of victims, suspects, gun cartridges and shell casings, which might be still available should be considered.
  16. Other persons than the two defendants could have been involved in the homicides. The statements described in police reports don’t reflect that, but does not mean that other persons than the defendants could have been involved. We see that in other cases and with DNA we were able to prove that.
  17. IFS would have performed DNA investigations on a limited number of samples for free. We also warned Montgomery that the case would be over as soon as we would find incriminating evidence. We did several cases where our investigations were more incriminating for the defense and we reported that to the courts. It could be part of a deal to report for a judge whatever the outcome of our investigations, so the defense cannot withhold our findings. Montgomery does have no problem to let us do a full investigation to find out what really happened during these two homicides. That is a dangerous thing to do if you are guilty.
  18. In their presentation for the parole board the DA’s have a slide that states that “unfired bullet from Tincher/Ogle apartment, copper jacketed, aluminum cartridge” This cartridge seems to have a lead bullet and not copper as seen on the other pictures. If this conclusion was drawn by a gun expert than there is a problem and it casts doubt on the rest of the investigation of the gun, casings, live rounds and bullets.
  19. There seems no clear motive for Montgomery to kill Ogle and Tincher.

 

From the NAS report:

“Challenges Facing the Forensic Science Community

For decades, the forensic science disciplines have produced valuable evidence that has contributed to the successful prosecution and conviction of criminals as well as to the exoneration of innocent people. Over the last two decades, advances in some forensic science disciplines, especially the use of DNA technology, have demonstrated that some areas of forensic science have great additional potential to help law enforcement identify criminals. Many crimes that may have gone unsolved are now being solved because forensic science is helping to identify the perpetrators.Those advances, however, also have revealed that, in some cases, substantive information and testimony based on faulty forensic science analyses may have contributed to wrongful convictions of innocent people. This fact has demonstrated the potential danger of giving undue weight to evidence and testimony derived from imperfect testing and analysis. Moreover, imprecise or exaggerated expert testimony has sometimes contributed to the admission of erroneous or misleading evidence. Further advances in the forensic science disciplines will serve three important purposes. First, further improvements will assist law enforcement officials in the course of their investigations to identify perpetrators with higher reliability. Second, further improvements in forensic science practices should reduce the occurrence of wrongful convictions, which reduces the risk that true offenders continue to commit crimes while innocent persons inappropriately serve time. Third, any improvements in the forensic science disciplines will undoubtedly enhance the Nation’s ability to address the needs of homeland security.”

“Lack of Mandatory Standardization, Certification, and Accreditation. The fragmentation problem is compounded because operational principles and procedures for many forensic science disciplines are not standardized or embraced, either between or within jurisdictions. There is no uniformity in the certification of forensic practitioners, or in the accreditation of crime laboratories. Indeed, most jurisdictions do not require forensic practitioners to be certified, and most forensic science disciplines have no mandatory certification programs. Moreover, accreditation of crime laboratories is not required in most jurisdictions. Often there are no standard protocols governing forensic practice in a given discipline. And, even when protocols are in place (e.g., SWG standards), they often are vague and not enforced in any meaningful way. In short, the quality of forensic practice in most disciplines varies greatly because of the absence of adequate training and continuing education, rigorous mandatory certification and accreditation programs, adherence to robust performance standards, and effective oversight. These shortcomings obviously pose a continuing and serious threat to the quality and credibility of forensic science practice.”

“Problems Relating to the Interpretation of Forensic Evidence. Often in criminal prosecutions and civil litigation, forensic evidence is offered to support conclusions about “individualization” (sometimes referred to as “matching” a specimen to a particular individual or other source) or about classification of the source of the specimen into one of several categories. With the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, however, no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source. In terms of scientific basis, the analytically based disciplines generally hold a notable edge over disciplines based on expert interpretation.”

to be continued…

 

 

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