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Hartford Courant June 14, 2019: State Supreme Court blasts renowned forensic scientist Henry Lee and throws out 1989 murder convictions of two New Milford men

In a unanimous decision released Friday afternoon, the state Supreme Court threw out the 1989 murder convictions of two New Milford men and delivered a stinging rebuke to renowned forensic science expert Henry Lee, whose inaccurate testimony put them in prison for decades.

Both Sean Henning and Ralph Birch were convicted in separate trials for the bloody murder of Everett Carr, who was stabbed 47 times, his throat slit and his blood tracked through the house. They were convicted partially based on the testimony of Lee who told jurors that a towel in the bathroom of Carr’s home had a spot on it that he had tested and found was “consistent with blood.”


It wasn’t until more than 20 years later when the Innocence Project took on the case that the state forensic laboratory revealed the towel had never been tested before the original trial and when they tested it for DNA they determined the substance on the towel wasn’t even blood.

"It is inarguable that Lee, as the representative of the state police forensic laboratory, should have known that the bathroom towel had not been tested for blood. He, like any such witness, had an affirmative obligation to review any relevant test reports before testifying so as to reasonably ensure that his testimony would accurately reflect the findings of those tests,'' Justice Richard Palmer wrote in a 23-page decision. more

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