SBI says they did not hide Taylor evidence

February 19, 2010 6:11:05 PM PST
The head of the SBI says the state crime lab did not hide evidence in the Greg Taylor case despite testimony under oath that disputes that. An SBI lab report in Taylor's 1993 trial said samples from Taylor's truck "gave chemical indications for the presence of blood."

No one outside the SBI saw the actual test results - positive for a preliminary test, but negative to confirm blood.

"Today, we proactively push that out," SBI Director Robin Pendergraft said. "We did not do that, the Bureau did not do that back in 1991 and that was not a good practice."

SBI Director Robin Pendergraft says it was not good practice to omit the actual test results, the so-called bench notes, from the final report.

She was not at the SBI at the time, but she says the lab agent, Duane Deaver, was following accepted scientific standards.

And she says Deaver did not withhold key evidence.

"I would say no," Pendergraft said. "It was in the bench notes. The details were in the bench notes, to be shared. Was it shared? No. Should it be shared? Yes."

"If this weren't a case where a man has spent almost two decades in prison that would be a laughable statement," Taylor's defense attorney Mike Klinkosum said.

Taylor's defense team says the SBI broke the law.

"The SBI is trying to cover itself," Klinkosum said. "They have been caught. They have been caught withholding evidence."

The state crime lab has improved since 1991. Samples are now tested for DNA.

New laws give defendants access to all case documents.

"Today is so different than what it was in 1991," Pendergraft said.

ABC11 asked Pendergraft what she would say to Taylor about lab tests which could not confirm blood and a final SBI report which made no mention of that, but instead said Taylor's truck "gave chemical indications for the presence of blood."

"What I would say to Greg Taylor is the SBI conducted as thorough testing as it could and did not withhold information," she said.

Pendergraft would not specify on questions on review of other blood tests, performed by agent Deaver or by anyone in the crime lab during this time.

Defense attorneys fear other evidence from other cases may have been described as blood, when it really wasn't.

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