Innocence Project reviewing Hattiesburg area cases - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS


Innocence Project reviewing Hattiesburg area cases

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Of the 80 cases the Mississippi

Innocence Project is reviewing for potential forensic fraud, at

least two are Forrest County and involve the testimonies of two

controversial forensic experts.

The two capital murder cases ended in the convictions of Stephen

Elliott Powers and Larry Matthew Puckett.

W. Tucker Carrington, director of the Mississippi Innocence

Project, says his office is investigating the cases because both

involved testimony for a pathologist and a coroner under fire for

their work and credentials.

Those men are the state's former primary forensic pathologist -

Dr. Steven Hayne - and Michael West, a Hattiesburg-based dentist,

who was coroner of Forrest County at the time of the trials.

Both also testified in two Noxubee County trials that ended in

the wrongful convictions of two men in separate child murders.

Hayne performed the autopsies in the cases and West testified

that bite marks on the victims were made by the men.

The two men, Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks, were released from

prison earlier this year after DNA testing and a confession from

another man.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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