2.16.2011

SBI Blood Expert Questioned in Peterson Case

What I would like to know is when the truth actually became less important than your own personal image? This will not only open up appeals on the Peterson case, but will cast a shadow over all expert testimony!
Amplify’d from www.newsobserver.com

Published Wed, Feb 16, 2011 03:58 AM
Modified Wed, Feb 16, 2011 06:54 AM


Michael Peterson questions SBI blood expert



State Bureau of Investigation agent Duane Deaver testifies at Peterson's 2003 trial.
Y MANDY LOCKE - Staff Writer


Tags: crime and safety | Durham County | SBI | Agents' Secrets | Michael Peterson


Durham novelist Michael Peterson is making a new plea for freedom, saying the State Bureau of Investigation agent who helped convince jurors he killed his wife cannot be trusted.
Former agent Duane Deaver was at the center of Peterson's 2003 trial. Deaver, a veteran bloodstain pattern analyst, linked Peterson to the murder of his wife, Kathleen, saying that blood stains on the stairwell and Peterson's clothes helped prove that he assaulted her with a fireplace poker.

But in the eight years since, Deaver has fallen from star witness to an agent accused of hiding or manipulating evidence to ensure a win for prosecutors. He has been blamed with withholding critical blood evidence in the case of Greg Taylor, a Wake County man exonerated last year. An audit of the SBI's serology unit found more than 30 cases by Deaver with similar patterns.
Peterson's lawyer, David Rudolf, is now asking for a do-over, saying jurors were led to believe Deaver was a stand-up agent with the truth as a priority.
"Deaver has had a long-standing pattern and practice of fabricating inculpatory evidence, concealing exculpatory evidence, tailoring his testimony to whatever the prosecutor wanted or needed him to say, and committing perjury in order to advance his primary goal: to secure the conviction of the person on trial," Rudolf, his trial
"Deaver has had a long-standing pattern and practice of fabricating inculpatory evidence, concealing exculpatory evidence, tailoring his testimony to whatever the prosecutor wanted or needed him to say, and committing perjury in order to advance his primary goal: to secure the conviction of the person on trial," Rudolf, his trial attorney, said in the motion.
Peterson, a one-time candidate for mayor of Durham, is in prison for life, having lost every appeal. Peterson's case has drawn international attention for nearly a decade, with supporters latching on to an array of theories, including the possibility that an owl attacked Kathleen Peterson and caused her to fall down the stairs.
Fired from SBI
This appeal could bring different results.
Deaver has been at the center of a scandal rocking the SBI. In courtrooms across the state, prosecutors are having to defend the reputations of SBI agents and analysts in the wake of News & Observer reports and a scathing audit of Deaver's serology unit commissioned by Attorney General Roy Cooper.
This motion goes to Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson, who was the judge in Peterson's trial. Late last year, Hudson dismissed a murder charge against Derek Allen, whose case was highlighted in the audit. In 2007, Hudson also released Floyd Brown, who was held for 14 years in a state mental institution based on an alleged confession taken by SBI agent Mark Isley.
Even SBI leaders have turned against Deaver, firing him in January. He also faces criminal contempt charges for statements made to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission in 2009 involving his work in the Taylor case.
Hudson could grant Peterson a second trial if he believes there's new evidence that would have changed the jury's decision.
Deaver's attorney, Philip Isley, has not yet seen the motion but said he hopes the SBI defends the allegations against Deaver. He said that Deaver would help if asked.
Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline declined to comment on the motion. A spokeswoman for Cooper said district attorneys typically handle such motions but that the Attorney General's office would consider helping Cline if asked.
Proving a theory?
The scene at the Petersons' home in 2001 presented a mystery to investigators.
The scene was very bloody, so Durham police turned to Deaver, the SBI's foremost bloodstain pattern expert, to study the bloodstains in the stairwell to figure out how she died.
Read more at www.newsobserver.com

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