Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Several months ago, District Attorney Mike Nifong released his expert witness list to the attorneys defending against his Hoax. At the time, it appeared curious that two experts from DNA Security, Inc. were listed among the expected witnesses. Considering the limited amount of DNA evidence revealed at the time, it appeared unlikely that the State would find significant value in presenting the opinions of two experts from DNA Security. According to the report provided by DNA Security, it appeared that the only DNA evidence to be addressed would be the non-exclusion of David Evans’ DNA from the DNA recovered from his bathroom trashcan and the DNA matched to the accuser’s boyfriend from her vaginal swab.
Considering that Dr. Brian Meehan was already on record as dismissing the value of the Evans' non-exclusion, it was even more difficult to decipher the anticipated expert testimony.

"A DNA link is not clear cut with the type of test used in this case, DNA experts told ABC News. ABC News spoke with DNA analysts, including Brian Meehan, head of DNA Security, the Burlington, N.C. laboratory that conducted the set of tests used in the case. All of the analysts agreed that the most one could say about a specific person — the alleged third attacker in the Duke rape investigation — was that he could not be ruled out, but also could not be definitively ruled in." ABC News

Noting that, by law, the District Attorney was prevented from fluffing up his witness list with experts he did not reasonably expect to call, the puzzle became slightly more complicated.

“Give notice to the defendant of any expert witnesses that the State reasonably expects to call as a witness at trial. Each such witness shall prepare, and the State shall furnish to the defendant, a report of the results of any examinations or tests conducted by the expert. The State shall also furnish to the defendant the expert's curriculum vitae, the expert's opinion, and the underlying basis for that opinion. The State shall give the notice and furnish the materials required by this subsection within a reasonable time prior to trial, as specified by the court.” § 15A‑903. (2)

The events of the past few days, however, have given some clarity to the issue. It appears that the experts from DNA Security will be called by District Attorney Mike Nifong not to validate their scientific findings but rather to debunk the science of DNA and the merits of their own laboratory. In what appears to be professional suicide, Dr. Brian Meehan gave a preview of what we might expect his testimony to resemble if the Hoax endures to trial. To explain how no DNA could be left behind by the suspects in the course of a thirty minute, brutal, condom-less gang rape, Dr. Meehan offered this explanation:

"A person can rob a bank and never leave a fingerprint; it doesn’t mean they didn’t rob a bank.”

We fully expect that Dr. Meehan will offer an equally non-scientific explanation for how he concluded that the overwhelming amount of unidentified DNA was somehow irrelevant.

While we have no idea what the second expert, Dr. Bo Scales, will be expected to testify to, we are curious to know if he was involved at all in the DNA testing or the analysis of the results. Dr. Scales is listed as DNA Security's technical leader but it appears that Dr. Scales may be a “technical leader” in name only. Considering that Dr. Scales serves as the director of his own laboratory in Brandon, Mississippi, the following comments from a recent article on Dr. Meehan may be quite telling.
"In 2003, Meehan decided he wanted to expand the company and get into forensic DNA testing, which is used in criminal investigations and court cases.

"Doing so meant Meehan's small lab had to be certified by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/ Laboratory Accreditation Board so that results of any tests he did would be admissible in court. While Meehan had the technical expertise -- he had worked in forensic DNA at National Legal Labs -- there were still plenty of hoops for his small company to jump through.

"He teamed up with another scientist in Mississippi who also ran a small DNA lab, and the two of them agreed to act as "technical leaders" for each other's companies. Having a technical leader was part of the certification requirement." Triangle Biz
According to the standards set by the FBI, a technical manager is defined as:

"Technical manager or leader (or equivalent position or title as designated by the laboratory director) is the individual who is accountable for the technical operations of the laboratory." FBI

There does not appear to be any requirement that the technical leader actually work on-site but rather they simply accept accountability for the technical operations of the lab. One can only wonder if that accountability extends to ensuring that the technical operations prevent the lab director from contaminating samples with his own DNA. Dr. Meehan concedes that this contamination undermines his own lab's credibility.
“Brad Bannon asked Meehan to discuss the concept of “transference.” Meehan feigned ignorance, so Bannon explained how the transference of one or two cells—from, say, intermingling in a trashcan, or through a spec of dandruff—can lead to finding a partial match of someone’s DNA on an item.

“The example he cited: Meehan’s own DNA, which was found on one of the items in the rape kit. Meehan conceded that this discovery (which he didn’t include in his initial “report”) undermined his lab’s credibility. And, of course, the theory offers the likely explanation for the partial match to Dave Evans’ DNA, on a fingernail that was in a trashcan in Evans’ bathroom.” KC Johnson
Considering the mutual back scratching arrangement that gives Dr. Meehan accountability for technical operations at Scales Biological Laboratory Scales Biological Laboratory, his ineptitude and apparent disdain for the science of DNA would also appear to call into question the credibility of Dr. Scales' lab. KC Johnson is reporting that the agency responsible for accreditation of DNA labs has agreed to investigate DNA Security, Inc.
“In last Friday’s court session, Dr. Brian Meehan admitted that he and Mike Nifong entered into an agreement to intentionally exclude from his report any mention that DNA tests had discovered results from five unidentified males in the accuser’s rape kit.

"Meehan also conceded that the decision reached by Nifong and him violated his company’s protocols. It also ran counter to the Supreme Court’s Brady decision and North Carolina’s Open Discovery law. The former requires the state to turn over all exculpatory evidence to the defense; the latter requires the prosecution to turn over all evidence to the defense.

“Despite this revelation, there has been no sign that the North Carolina State Bar has abandoned its passive approach regarding Nifong’s misconduct. Meehan, however, might face a different fate.

“His lab is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB). I emailed the board to ask if it planned to investigate Meehan’s accreditation status in light of Friday’s testimony. Executive Director Ralph Keaton responded,

“As the accrediting body for the laboratory in question, ASCLD/LAB will
conduct a review of the issue in question. ASCLD/LAB is aware of the ongoing legal process and will take that into consideration in determining
the appropriate time to review the circumstances.” KC Johnson

Since it is unknown to what degree Dr. Scales has participated, or intends to participate, in the Meehan-Nifong Conspiracy, it is unclear whether a review of Dr. Scales' lab accreditation appears to be warranted as well. One thing that is certain, however, is that Dr. Meehan’s inept reporting and complicity in the conspiracy to deceive the public and withhold evidence from the defense has raised the ire of his peers.

Forensic Talk’s Dr. Kathleen Eckelt shares her displeasure and that of another esteemed colleague at her website:
“No matter what field we are in, when colleagues fail to follow standard protocols and / or behave in an unethical or unprofessional manner, it sheds a bad light on all of us. The rest of us have worked too long and hard to create and maintain standards of protocol, to maintain our credibility, and our professionalism.

“Those in the forensics field don't appreciate having a profession they take pride in being placed in an unfair light or subjected to scorn and redicule (sic) because a small number choose to forget what professionalism is all about.

"Brent Turvey, of Forensic Solutions LLC, is a forensics scientist, criminal profiler, and consultant. He is the author of several forensics books including, Criminal Profiling, Rape Investigation Handbook, Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis, and Crime Reconstruction.

"I contacted Brent after reading his posts and requested further comments.

"Kathleen ... State prosecutorial agencies, and those in their employ, have a duty to disclose ALL potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense, per Brady v. Maryland. What Dr. Meehan has admitted to, under oath, is that he personally conspired with prosecutors to conceal actual exculpatory findings from the defense. He has further testified that this is a violation of his own lab's policies - policies that he would have written. There is no good reason for such conduct, and there can be no excuses for such conduct. Moreover, Dr. Meehan has admitted to contaminating suspect samples with his own DNA. In other words, his house is not in order from a scientific perspective. A full investigation by ASCLD, the agency that certifies his lab, is warranted.

"This is no small matter for Dr. Meehan, or the private forensic lab industry. Dr. Meehan's conduct in this case has single-handedly demonstrated that privately funded and operated forensic labs are just as easily influenced by zealous prosecutors as their government lab counterparts.

"And to the question, "Have you ever willfully conspired with the prosecution to conceal evidence that you to be exculpatory?" - he must forever answer yes, while under oath in future cases. For many in the forensic science community, this would be a career headshot. - Brent" Forensic Talk
As a final note of curiosity regarding Dr. Meehan, it has been reported that DNA Security has not performed any public work prior to being contracted for the Hoax.

“DNA Security had done no public work, whether for a judge, district attorney, public defender or court appointed lawyer, according to financial records of the Administrative Office of the Courts dating to January 2002.” N&O

It appears that this report is not entirely accurate. Recently, DNASI hosted a two day workshop for crime scene investigators from Alamance County and other law enforcement agencies from across the country.
“Was it Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with the knife, or Mrs. White in the study with the gun?

“These were some of the questions crime scene investigators were asking themselves at DNA Security Labs crime scene training this week in Burlington, where they gathered for in-depth and forensic training.

“The two dozen investigators from across the country found that, without DNA analysis, solving a crime scene is a lot like playing Clue.” Times-News
Given the revelations of the past few days, these investigators would have been better served playing Clue than training with Dr. Meehan who quite obviously doesn’t have one.


Anonymous said...

Clueless in Durham!

Liestoppers you have done it again! That was a great piece of reporting.

It is clear that the real criminals are the ones running the investigation & prosecution. Durham needs a house cleaning top to bottom, from the PD, to the DA, to the Judge entrusted for oversight. Why were ever indicted?

How much more do we have to hear before this Judge throws out this Hoax?

Anonymous said...

Meehan comparing DNA from a bank robbery with a rape. And he has a PHD!

Anonymous said...

"debunk the science of DNA"

In this day of CSI, no juror is going to believe that 3 guys raped a woman and left no DNA on or in her.

Anonymous said...

In this day of CSI, no juror is going to believe that 3 guys raped a woman and left no DNA on or in her.

8:10 AM

No, only Bob Ashley is stupid enough to believe that.

bill anderson said...

The last two comments are what is so frightening about this case. As we have seen from the local Durham blacks (or at least who claim to be local blacks), they are DEMANDING that all DNA evidence that is exculpatory be ignored. Furthermore, they say that a jury MUST ignore it, and today's Herald-Sun editorial comes close to saying the same thing.

The most important exculpatory evidence following an accusation of rape, especially when police can treat the woman's body as a crime scene because of the immediacy of the alleged event, is DNA. Yet, potential jurors as well as the Durham paper are telling us that this is not important.

Furthermore, we read the accuser's support website, Our Hearts World, which was set up by prominent local blacks. This site also calls for jurors to ignore exculpatory DNA. When I pointed out in a recent article how dangerous that was, the site branded me a racist.

Do the blacks of Durham really want ALL exculpatory DNA ignored in this one? If so, then they are demanding it be excluded everywhere. Because exculpatory DNA has been used to release wrongfully-convicted blacks from prison, the "black leadership" of Durham is demanding that wrongfully convicted black males be kept in prison.

They somehow believe that such actions can be confined to this one case. Sorry, that will not happen. If Nifong gets his trial and conviction because the jury deliberately ignored exculpatory evidence, then the precedent set will be horrendous.

Anonymous said...

I agree Bill-it's ridiculous, these people are just looking for a "leader", someone to hold up to the public as their poster child...a black woman "struggling" to raise a family who was abused so visciously by three elite white wealthy men seemed too good to be true (and it was). You think they are going to turn their backs on something that can push tons of agendas their way? Look at who has latched onto this case; The New Black Panthers, the NAACP, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, every prominent black leader sees this woman as their savior. And do you honestly think it's because they care for her, are concerned for her, actually care that she was raped? How many black (and white) women are raped daily? It doesn't seem to matter when a "sista" is raped by another black guy, but oh nelly, throw the word whitey into the mix and suddenly you've got an injustice so bad, so horrible, it can't even be tolerated! Those other rape victims, psh, it wasn't so bad because it wasn't white male elite wealthy kids doing the raping. Duh.

There is no way they are about to admit their savior is actually just a back alley slut who didn't want to get locked up.

These people are looking for "justice" to be served on the tons of injustices blacks endured and at times, still endure today. Three rich white boys are going to be their sacraficial lambs. They don't care. White is white, whether guilty or innocent.

Anonymous said...

Who did award Meehan his PhD?

The Duke English Department? That talk real good of make sense.

Anonymous said...

In this day of CSI, no juror is going to believe that 3 guys raped a woman and left no DNA on or in her.

8:10 AM

Especially when there is DNA from a bunch of other men in and on her.

huesofblue said...


Quick note. You mentioned that, according to the N&O, DNA security wasn't on record as doing any public work before January 2002. While that's true, I wouldn't take it to mean that they hadn't done any public work prior to this case. According to the Triangle Biz article you cited:

"In 2003, Meehan decided he wanted to expand the company and get into forensic DNA testing, which is used in criminal investigations and court cases."

Accordingly, it makes sense that they don't show up as doing any work as of 2002.

Anonymous said...


I read this as the N&O having checked backwards from the time of the research until January 2002 and coming up with no records.

“DNA Security had done no public work, whether for a judge, district attorney, public defender or court appointed lawyer, according to financial records of the Administrative Office of the Courts dating to January 2002.”

I don't think they checked prior to January 2002. There would have been no reason to do so and certainly no reason to do so without checking from 2002 until now. My guess is that the AOC may not be the entity to pay for the workshops and thus it did not show on the N&O's search.


Anonymous said...

BRAVO Liestoppers! Outstanding piece of work. Take a bow.

huesofblue said...


Good point. At first I interpreted "records . . . dating to January 2002” as being the opposite of "records . . . dating from January 2002." But in context, it really doesn't make sense for the newspaper to be reporting on 4-year-old records. On second read, I think you had things right all along.

Anonymous said...

Congressman Jones sent another letter to the DOJ, update dwith Fridays DNA omition.


Anonymous said...

"The most important exculpatory evidence...especially...[at the]immediacy of the alleged event, is DNA."

I agree Bill - how often are wrongly accused released from prison purely based on "another's DNA match"

Nifong said "he'd do this [persecution] the old fashioned way, as they did before DNA"

This logic only works for those with an IQ under 50. We don't do it the old fashioned way because DNA was not available then - with DNA, the wrong people don't go to jail.

We don't burn witches if they float either Mike - despite your sentimental approach to "crime fighting"

By the way Mike - how's the search going for the "DNA 5" - the guys who left the DNA trail - having trouble tracking them down ? Give "OJ" a call !

bill anderson said...

The "old fashioned way" works only when the alleged rape is not reported for several days, so DNA cannot be collected, or at least reliable DNA. In cases where DNA IS used for conviction (and for acquittal), we have a situation in which the person who claims to have been assaulted and who is checked by doctors in the hours right after the alleged event.

The latter is what happened in the Duke case. The woman claimed she had just been raped, and so the doctors were able to get reliable DNA samples. That and the other medical evidence tells us that she surely was NOT raped, and that the young men at the party COULD NOT have been the ones.

What the trolls on this site, as well as the NAACP and black churches in Durham have been declaring is that they want ALL DNA evidence ignored. This is what I would call the Scottsboro Standard. We better can call it the "racist" standard.

Anonymous said...

Boycott of DNA lab, please

Anonymous said...

Law enforcement withing North Carolina, and the rest of the world, should be encouraged to avoid using DNA security, EVER, in the future, for any work. They have proven they are not ethical, why would I believe them if I was on a jury?

I am sending out some emails urging NC officials to boycott them.

Anonymous said...

Nifong is a thug with a political office, not much more to add to that.

Where I have to break with it is citing Brent Turvey as any kind of moral authority or for that matter as an authority on forensic science. He applied for a job working for Dr. Lee Colwell at the UALR Criminal Justice Institute as an entry level tech and was declined. In Lee's words (I asked him) "He didn't have any experience working in a lab."

But there is more.

While retained by the Baggen family to investigate their daughter, he seduced and eventually moved in with one of their surviving daughters (love to hear more about his so-called professional ethics) while still married to the woman who put him through graduate school, Barbara Troyer-Turvey.

He often touts his law enforcement background, and yet he lacks even POST entry level qualifications (the standard used in nearly every state in the US). The only credible reference he's ever had, Sitka Police Department, he filed suit against when they stated as fact that he had never been a detective there.

Turvey had, in fact, under oath in a capital murder trial in California claimed to have been a detective in "Sitka, Alaska".