Jimmie Duncan

Jimmie Duncan was convicted for the 1993 murder of Haley Oliveaux of West Monroe, Louisiana based primarily on the testimony of Hayne and Michael West, a bite mark examiner and at the time coroner of Forrest County, Mississippi. Duncan had admitted to leaving Oliveaux in a bathtub unattended, and was initially charged with negligent homicide. Hayne examined Oliveaux and claimed to have found bite marks on her face that had not been seen by any of the other medical professionals who had previously examined her body, such as EMTs and hospital personnel. After this, a mold was taken of Duncan’s teeth for use in bite mark analysis by Michael West. In performing this analysis, West repeatedly pressed the mold into the cheek of Oliveaux’ corpse, creating bite marks which had not previously existed. This was recorded on videotape which surfaced in 2008. Michael Bowers, deputy medical examiner for Ventura County, California commented with regard to the bite marks that “Dr. West created them. It was intentional. He’s creating artificial abrasions in that video, and he’s tampering with the evidence. It’s criminal, regardless of what excuse he may come up with about his methods.”

Source : Wikipedia

The other major piece of evidence against Duncan was testimony from a jailhouse informant who claimed that Duncan confessed to his crime while behind bars. Michael Cruse testified that he shared a jail cell with Duncan for one day in late December 1993. (Cruse also claimed another inmate in the same cell confessed a felony to him, according to the letter he wrote to prosecutors.) Duncan’s current attorneys have since obtained an affidavit from Michael Lucas, another inmate in the cell that day, who says that not only did Duncan not confess, he repeatedly asserted his innocence, despite Cruse’s constant attempts to elicit a confession.

Since then, two other inmates have reported being asked by Ouachita Parish law enforcement officials to lie about hearing Duncan confess. One of them, Charles Parker, who had worked as an informant for the FBI, wrote a letter of complaint to the district attorney’s office about the incident. In a later interview with Duncan’s post-conviction attorneys, he described how an investigator named Jay Via approached him and fed him information about Duncan’s case. “He gave me details of the crime, saying that the child was less than two years [old] and that she had been anally raped,” Parker said “He told me that when I came forward I was to say that Jimmie had confessed to biting the child while he was raping her.”

Source

When I first wrote about Duncan’s case, I thought Steven Hayne and Michael West were the most disturbing aspects of his conviction. And to be sure, between them the two have tainted thousands of cases and sent who knows how many innocent people to prison. But you could say the same thing about Jay Via. Duncan’s case is merely where the two intersect.

Jimmie Duncan is still on death row in Louisiana.

The prosecutor in Duncan’s case was never disciplined for failing to turn over the exculpatory evidence in that case, either.

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