In 2016, Texas determined that dental bitemark experts should not be admitted in court. What’s now happening in Mississippi (MS) is a classic legal and forensic science example of continuing that agenda.
1993. A bitemark ID was achieved in MS from apparently uniquely manufactured denture teeth (from a removable dental appliance) biting a victim. The bite was “recovered” via an exhumation after her homicidal death. Cause of death: knife wounds.
1994. Eddie Lee Howard is convicted for rape, arson, and murder. He has been sentenced to death twice. His convictions contain doubtful and clearly fake forensic evidence. Remember the”Making a Murder” similar assertions? Howard’s case is more rock-solid when compared to Avery’s. Google is filled with dozens of links about Howard’s decades-old case.
There are two “characters of interest” then (now ex ) Mississippi’s 16th District DA Forrest Allgood used at Howard’s multiple trials.
Drs. Steven Hayne (he did the victim’s autopsy) and his colleague Michael West (bitemark dentist).
Allgood’s history of wrongful convictions ( 3 ) may have played heavily in his lost re-election attempt. All these overturned convictions relied on medical and dental experts.
MS Attorney General Jim Hood has also continued to defend this duo and ignore tackling junk forensics issues over the last 22 years. His relationship with ex DA Allgood is substantial.
2012 Dr. Hayne develops an antagonistic relationship with the IP.
2014. Dr. West admits that bitemark IDs are unreliable to MS Innocence director Tucker Carrington during a deposition related to Howard.
2015. The MS Supreme Court allows post-conviction relief for Howard which creates the 2016 event in Howard’s appellate journey. See another excellent article by UK Prof Iain Pretty.
NY and Mississippi Innocence Projects co-counsels, veteran MS Office of Post-Conviction Counsel Capital Defense Executive Director attorney Vanzetta Williams, along with an international cast of forensic experts, will be doing more anti-bitemark and pro-DNA litigation next week at Howard’s relief evidence hearing in Columbus, MS.
Dr. Cynthia Brzozowzski is from Garden City, New York. Among other professional affiliations, she is member of the bitemark certifying ABFO and also on its Board of Directors. She is an advocate of forensic science reform in the field of forensic odontology.
Professor Iain Pretty is from University of Manchester, UK. a Public Dental Health researcher and extensively published in the field of forensic odontology.
Peter and Dr. Mary Bush are researchers at the University of Buffalo in the fields of human identification and pattern skin injury analysis.
I will also be attending the hearing on May 3 til May 5th, 2016 and will stream pics with comments on Twitter at #ELHoward.