SBI: Independent analysis backs lab findings

December 30, 2010 9:08:00 AM PST
A spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Justice said Thursday that an independent review of analysis work done by an SBI examiner in a Pitt County shooting case backs the work done by the SBI examiner.

NCDOJ Public Information Officer Noelle Talley said in a news release that former Chief of the Firearms and Tool Mark Unit of the FBI Forensic Laboratory Dr. Stephen Bunch looked at disputed evidence in the Jemaul Raoul Green case.

Green was convicted by a Pitt County jury for second-degree murder in the shooting death of a 10-year-old boy in Ayden, NC.

Bunch's independent review looked at the laboratory analysis of SBI Forensic Firearms Analyst Beth Desmond and confirmed her results.

"This additional review should resolve questions about the analysis done in this case, and we are continuing work to strengthen our operations," SBI Director Greg McLeod said Thursday. "We will keep pursuing best practices and making changes as needed to ensure we are solving crimes and assisting the criminal justice system effectively."

The independent review of the case came amid heightened concerns about the accuracy of work done by the SBI lab and the conduct of some agents.

Problems at the lab have been the subject of media reports for months. In August, a report by independent investigators found that SBI agents helped prosecutors obtain convictions over a 16-year period by misrepresenting blood evidence and keeping critical notes from defense lawyers.

In October, North Carolina Attorney Director Roy Cooper named a retired judge to oversee the troubled lab on an interim basis while a national search for a new director continues.

On Thursday, McLeod said improvements continue at the lab, including a move to install cameras and computer storage capacity so that SBI Firearms and Tool Mark Unit analysts can supplement work contained in case files.

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