A report released today by two former FBI agents, commissioned to review North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation laboratory in the wake of the Greg Taylor exoneration, finds that the convictions of three people executed in North Carolina were based in part on forensic reports and testimony that were, to be kind, misleading. The report is available online here.
The executed persons identified in the report are Desmond Carter (report confirmed the presence of blood on an item when the test was in fact negative), John Rose (report stated that there were chemical indications for the presence of blood and no further tests were done when in fact further tests were done and were negative), and Timothy Keel (report stated that blood test was inconclusive when in fact subsequent tests were negative).
The report also identified four current death row inmates whose cases involved similar errors by the SBI, as well as five potentially innocent people who died in prison before this information came to light.
The report is focused on one test performed by one division of the lab between 1987 and 2003, and only looked into cases in which certain language, identified as misleading in the Taylor case, was repeated in the lab’s report. Still, the survey identified 269 defendants who were charged based on faulty evidence.
Imagine how many more potentially innocent persons could be identified through a more comprehensive review.