february 4. 2014
Texas: Assistant attorney general tears down Skinner defense witness
During cross examination of defense witness Dr. Julie Heinig, PhD, a DNA expert from Cincinnati, Ohio, Georgette Oden, an assistant state attorney general, began a systematic dismantling of Heinig’s credentials as an expert witness.
Oden began by pointing out inconsistencies in Heinig’s education, and the witness’ lack of complete training with DNA evidence testing.
As an example, Oden brought out that of the 10 publications written by Heinig for her PhD., five were about lamprey eel research and two were in DNA fingerprint analysis.
Oden then asked if it’s true that Heinig’s employer, DNA Diagnostics Center, does DNA testing for the “Maury Povich Show,” a tabloid television talk show also based in Cincinnati. The lab is often called upon to perform DNA testing in child custody cases that are aired on the TV show.
Heinig answered yes, and Oden countered with, “Then it’s true that your employer’s DNA testing regimens do not follow the standard procedure of the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s crime lab?”
Heinig again answered yes.
Cross examination by Oden then delved into the defense’s contention that many of the blood samples taken were not conclusive for Hank Skinner’s DNA.
In her questioning, Oden asked Heinig if there were any samples of mixed blood that could have excluded Skinner from the crime scene. DNA testing done by the state proved it was inclusive on whether Skinner’s DNA was in those blood samples.
Heining agreed that the tests did not exclude Skinner from the crime scene.
Four hairs were found on Twila Busby’s hand at the crime scene but were not tested. Busby and her two sons were the victims in the brutal triple homicide on Dec. 31, 1993. Skinner was Busby’s live-in boyfriend.
The defense had earlier questioned why the hairs weren’t tested.
The state then brought as its witness John Lan Bundy, a former trace analyst for the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab in Lubbock, whose responsibility at the time was identifying the hairs found on Busby’s hand.
Bundy testified that of those four hairs, one was an animal hair and the other three were not sufficient for laboratory testing because they weren’t attached to their roots.
DNA cannot be taken from a hair unless it has a root and there are obvious differences between human hair and animal hair, he said.
At that point, the state passed the witness to the defense, who chose not to cross examine Bundy.
The hearing recessed shortly after 5 p.m. and will reconvene at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Pampa, TX – Day two has just come to a close after some 6 hours of discussion, both the state and Hank Skinner’s defense team have rested their cases.
What happens next, is both sides will submit a proposed fining report, basically explaining to the judge why they think he should side with them. After court transcripts are filed, the state and the defense team have 21 days to make those reports. After three weeks, the judge will make a decision.
No official decision has been made regarding death row inmate Hank Skinner. Over the last two days, his defense team tried to create reasonable doubt surrounding evidence that was collected from the 1993 crime scene. The state says DNA points to Skinner as the killer of Twila Busby and her two sons.
(Source: NewsChannel 10)