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Tag: evidence

Ex-FBI Agent Who Stole Heroin From Evidence to Be Sentenced Today

fbi badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent who stole heroin from criminal investigations to feed his addiction should be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison, prosecutors plan to urge a judge, the Washington Post reports.

Former agent Matthew Lowry, who worked in the Washington field office, spoiled drug case and forced prosecutors to dismiss drug charges against 28 people.

“Whatever can be said of the defendant’s decision to self-medicate, what is both indefensible and inexcusable is the fact that the defendant decided to supply himself with heroin by stealing it from FBI custody,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin R. Brenner wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Lowry is scheduled to be sentenced at 1:3o p.m. today.

How a Single Hair Led to 39 Years in Prison on False Conviction, Faulty Science

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A single hair has put George Perrot behind bars for nearly 30 years.

Perrot, then 17, was tried and convicted of rape and burglary based on a piece of hair found on the bed sheet of a 78-year-old woman who had been raped, The Guardian reports.

There was no blood or semen. Just the hair.

An FBI agent named Wayne Oakes testified that he knew with certainty that the hair belonged to Perrot.

Trouble is, Oakes was wrong, and Perrot is still hoping for a retrial.

Oakes is among an elite FBI unit that gave faulty testimony in hair evidence cases for two decades, a discovery recently made public. The news is expected to spur retrials for many people.

 

Justice Department Closes Trayvon Martin Shooting Case without Civil Rights Charges

Trayvon Martin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
 
The federal investigation into the shooting death three years ago of Trayvon Martin has ended without hate-crime charges against the gunman, George Zimmerman, The New York Times reports. 

The Justice Department closed the civil rights investigation.

The family is devastated, said Benjamin L. Crump, the lawyer for Martin’s family.

“This is very painful for them; they are heartbroken,” Crump said. “But they have renewed energy to say that we are going to fight harder to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else’s child.”

The investigation was launched to determine whether there was enough evidence to show Martin was killed because of his race.

The Justice Department interviewed 75 witnesses and reviewed evidence.

FBI Agent Became Addicted to Heroin After Dependence on Pain Meds

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent accused of stealing heroin from evidence in cases to feed his addiction was first hooked on pain medication, The Washington Post reports.

Matthew Lowry, 33, of the Washington Field Office told investigators that he first took heroin in 2013 after stealing a small amount obtained during an undercover sting.

He said he became addicted to pain medication in 2012 for reasons that aren’t clear.

Lowry’s eventual dependence on heroin led him to steal heroin from suspects, authorities said in reports. The theft resulted in the dismissal of charges for 28 defendants because the evidence was deemed tainted.

Lowry has been suspended but not charged.

FBI Agent’s Chronic Theft of Heroin Raises Questions about Bureau’s Evidence Rooms

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An FBI agent’s ability to steal heroin from an evidence room without being detected suspicions for at least 14 months raises serious questions about the bureau’s checks and balances, the Washington Post reports.

By his own admission, Mathew Lowry repeatedly stole heroin from the evidence room at the FBI’s field office in Washington to support his addiction. The thefts have sabotaged drug cases, so far leading to the dismissal of 28 defendants.

The thefts didn’t catch up with Lowry until his colleagues found him incoherent next to his disabled bureau car.

The FBI has responded with an internal review to determine how better to handle evidence.

“It’s shocking that there was such little oversight,” said Steven H. Levin, a former federal prosecutor. “It’s something you would expect to see on a made-for-TV movie. . . . You’re thinking, there is no way that could ever happen. And that’s what happened.”

 

Lowry, 33, has been suspended and is undergoing drug treatment while the case remains under criminal investigation.

Alleged Eco-Terrorist Freed After 7 Years in Prison Because FBI Hid Evidence

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com  

A former college student imprisoned since a jury convicted him of eco-terrorism in 2007 was freed Thursday after it was discovered the FBI and prosecutors withheld thousands of pages of evidence that could have been used for his defense, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Federal prosecutors realized they had little choice but to support the release of 37-year-old Eric Taylor McDavid, prompting a judge Thursday to order his release.

“I’ve never heard or seen of anything like this,” said U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr., who originally sentenced McDavid.

In an agreement with prosecutors, McDavid agreed to plead guilty to a single conspiracy count, which carries a sentence less than the number of years he already spent in prison.

McDavid was in prison for allegedly plotting bombing the Nimbus Dam, cell phone towers and a U.S. Forest Service lab.

FBI Assists Investigation into Disappearance of 43 College Students in Mexico

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com  

The FBI is beginning to help investigate the disappearance of 43 college students in Mexico, even as evidence recently surfaced that the country’s government may have been involved in rounding up the young people, NBC News reports.

The students, who were training to be teachers, vanished on Sept. 26 after protesting for more funds.

American scientists are helping analyze DNA evidence to determine whether bodies found in a mass grave in October are those of the missing students.

Prosecutors alleges that local officials were behind the disappearance. Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca, his wife and dozen of local officials have been jailed, accused of turning the students over to a local drug cartel, Guerreros Unidos, which grows opium poppies for heroin that is shipped to the U.S.

Investigative reporter Anabel Hernandez believes the Mexican government played a significant role in the disappearance.

“The government knew exactly what was happening,” she said, citing documents and cell phone videos that revealed the presence of federal police during the disappearance.

The Mexican government has denied any involvement.

Internal Investigation: FBI’s Evidence Collection Is Beset with Serious Errors

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An internal investigation found widespread mishandling of FBI evidence in every region of the country, the New York Times reports.

The highly critical report found that the FBI’s evidence collection and retention system is beset by errors, either through mishandling, mislabeling or losing evidence.

The report also found that the FBI was storing more drugs and weapons and less money and valuables than indicated.

The errors were serious enough for the FBI to alert prosecutors on Friday that some of the errors may need to be disclosed. Even minor record-keeping discrepancies can prompt evidence to be tossed out of court.

“A majority of the errors identified were due in large part to human error, attributable to a lack of training and program management oversight,” auditors wrote in the report, which was obtained by The New York Times.