State Attorney Defends Use Of Bogus Lab Reports To Obtain Confession
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) _ Authorities used phony lab reports to help get a confession from a man in the rape and murder of his 5-year-old niece, and the man’s lawyer is seeking a special investigation.
The prosecutor defended the action.
″I would not encourage these unusual investigative tactics except in very rare circumstances,″ Lee County State Attorney Joseph D’Allesando said Tuesday. ″We believe it was better to use whatever tactic was legal than to see this atrocious crime go unavenged.″
″Here they’re manufacturing evidence that isn’t true. We’re talking about fundamental fairness,″ said the man’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Robert Jacobs.
Jacobs has asked Gov. Bob Martinez to appoint a special prosecutor to find out if the prosecutors used the fake memos - or Paul David Cayward’s alleged confession - when arguing their case before the grand jury. If so, Jacobs said, he will ask that the charges be dismissed. A hearing on the request is set for Friday.
Paris Massey was found dead in her bed on Dec. 19, 1987. Her uncle, of Fort Myers, allegedly confessed in April after he was shown fake lab reports linking him to the crime.
On May 3, a grand jury indicted Cayward on charges of first-degree murder and sexual battery of a child, both capital crimes. He has pleaded innocent and is being held in the Lee County Jail awaiting trial Sept. 12.
D’Alessandro said at a news conference that his investigators drafted one fake lab report, while Cape Coral police drafted another.
The state attorney’s fake report used the letterhead and logo of Lifecodes Corp., a New York lab hired to analyze DNA evidence in the case.
The April 7 report said a DNA ″print″ taken from blood and semen found in the child’s underwear matched a genetic print found in a hair sample taken from Cayward. It said the probability that the genetic match was incorrect was one in 12 million.
The actual Lifecodes report, dated April 12, concluded that investigators didn’t send them enough physical evidence to make a DNA print. Ronald Dorazio, a Lifecodes vice president, said the company did not authorize the fake letter.
″If the idea of using a bogus report is acceptable, they ought to make up a fictitious company,″ he said. ″They shouldn’t use our logo.″
Cape Coral police drafted their fake report under the letterhead of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement without authorization. It said said a hair sample taken from Cayward matched one found in the girl’s underwear.
FDLE’s actual reports did not find any hair samples that matched.
Lt. Al Caiata, a spokesman for Cape Coral police, refused to answer questions Tuesday. ″I can’t give you any information. We’re referring everything to the State Attorney’s office. I can’t say anything.″