HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Forensic scientist Henry Lee, who became famous for his testimony in the O.J. The trial of Simpson and his work on other high-profile murder cases defended his reputation on Thursday after lawyers this week again questioned the accuracy of the blood testimony that he gave decades does.
Wendall Hasan has been in prison since 1986 for the murder of George Tyler, of Darien, Connecticut. Hasan's lawyers filed court documents Tuesday arguing that he should have been released after the 2014 tests found no blood on a pair of sneakers that Lee had witnessed were stained with blood.
This move came after the Connecticut Supreme Court criticized Lee last month when he overthrew the convictions of two men for a 1985 murder.
"I'm behind my scientific merit," Lee said at a press conference at the Henry C. Lee Forensic Science Institute at New Haven University. "If the person is really innocent, surely, they should make them free. But, just trying to spread my reputation to get (their appeal) advanced, it shouldn't happen."
Lee said, for example, that the blood of shoes in the Hasan case was probably exhausted during his first tests, although he admitted he was unable to review the file. It is also possible, he said, that any other blood on the Puma couple may have degraded over the decades.
"You can't say that 30 years ago it wasn't," he said. "The blood stain was tested in 1986".
Hasan's lawyers released a statement on Thursday saying they would not comment on the details of the case, but are not looking forward to questioning Lee in court.
The beliefs of Sean Henning and Ralph Birth were set aside last month on the basis of tests showing stains on a towel, which Lee had witnessed were consistent with the blood, were something else. The men have served more than 30 years in prison.
Lee also faces criticism of the conviction of David Weinberg in the 1988 murder of a Connecticut teenager, Joyce Stochmal. Lee testified in that case that he was unable to determine the source of blood that had been found on a knife connected to Weinberg.
But Weinberg's lawyers, who filed petitions for his release in due course two years ago, said that Lee knew that the knife and hair fragment tests showed that the blood came from an animal, not from an animal human.
"This is not a problem with science at the time," said Darcy McGraw, director of the Connecticut Innocence Project and Weinberg's lawyer. "This is 100% a problem with Dr. Lee."
Eighty-year-old Lee, who has worked for years as head of the state police criminal laboratory, responded Thursday at a press conference that his testimony in all these cases was true and accurate.
Lee became internationally famous after his testimony in the 1995 Simpson murder trial, in which he questioned the treatment of blood evidence. He has also worked as a consultant in other high-profile surveys, such as the 1996 Colorado killing of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey.
At one point he was the subject of a television show, "Trace Evidence: The Case Files by Dr. Henry Lee".
Lee acknowledged on Thursday that DNA and other forensic tests have come a long way in the last thirty years. But this does not mean, he said, that his testimony at the time was inaccurate.
He suggested that the state set up a group of former judges, scientists and others who can go beyond the disputed forensic evidence in old cases to get the truth.
"They shouldn't be able to try spreading my reputation for getting out of prison," he said. "There must be standards and ethics for everyone".
McGraw said the problem has little to do with science. In his case he said that juries and court officials, including herself, would take Lee's word as a gospel.
"Here is the most famous forensic scientist in the world who tells you he does not know the source of this blood," he said. "That leaves you with a very different impression than the truth."
He declined to say if the Innocence Project is looking into other cases where Lee was a key witness.
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