March 2nd, 2008, 11:41 AM
Disputed evidence frees men (MS)
At a small-town courthouse in one of rural Mississippi's poorest counties, Dr. Michael West swore under oath that a dead girl had bite marks all over her body and that they were made by the two front teeth of the man charged with murdering her.
On the strength of West's testimony and little else, a jury in 1995 convicted Kennedy Brewer of raping and murdering the 3-year-old girl and sentenced him to death.
Three years earlier, West gave similar testimony in a nearly identical rape-and-murder case involving another 3-year-old girl from the same town. West testified there were bite marks on the victim's wrist and they were made by Levon Brooks. Brooks, too, was found guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
Today, more than a decade later, both Brewer and Brooks are out of prison, and prosecutors have all but pronounced them innocent. The reason: A third man confessed to both killings after DNA connected him to one of the rapes, investigators say.
As for West, his analysis of bite marks in the two murders -- and in hundreds of other Mississippi criminal cases over the years -- is under attack.
This is very interesting to me because of the alleged bite mark evidence in the Robin Hood Hills/West Memphis 3 case. I can honestly say I have never seen or read an unbiased account of the case. The books all paint the police to be corrupt, and the televised specials point all their evidence toward John Mark Byers.
There have been SO many Law and Orders and other crime shows where the ME is finally questioned and their defense is pleasing the police or playing the odds.
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