Forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee is standing by his testimony in a three-decades-old murder trial. This is the third case from the 1980s, in which Lee has now been accused of offering inaccurate testimony.
Last month the Connecticut Supreme Court threw out the 1989 murder covictions of two men. It was determined that stains on a towel that Lee testified were consistent with blood were not blood.
In a second case, David Weinberg, convicted in a 1984 murder, was released two years ago also based on evidence citing inaccurate testimony by Lee.
In the most recent case, Wendall Hasan, who’s been in prison since 1986 for the murder of a Darien man, filed court papers Tuesday citing similar circumstances.
In that case, Lee testified that a sneaker, linking Hasan to the crime, was bloodstained. But his lawyers say testing conducted decades later found no blood.
At a press conference conducted at the University of New Haven, with slides depicting scientific charts and photographs of crime scenes, Lee defended his testimony and his work. In the Hasan case Lee said modern testing of the sneaker would not yield an accurate result.
“So when I used it up — thirty years later, this sneaker — you retest it and say no blood was found,” Lee said. “Of course no blood was found. It’s already used up. You cannot say thirty years ago it wasn’t there.”
Lee said a recovered copy of a lab report shows the bloodstained sneaker was tested multiple times. He explained that other factors, such as decomposition due to aging and storage, can have a negative effect on biological samples, which could also explain the absence of blood.
But Lee reminded reporters that blood evidence wasn’t the only factor in the case. He said credit cards belonging to the victim were found in a clogged toilet at Hasan’s residence several days later.
Going forward, Lee suggested the state set up a review committee that would include, among others, retired judges, scientists, and professors to investigate the scientific merit of questioned older cases.
“If a case is related to my reputation, they should at least give me a chance,” Lee said. “The public is going to be misled and think that I really messed up the whole thing, which I did not.”