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Dr. Henry Lee defends testimony in 1985 Darien murder case

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WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Famed criminologist Dr. Henry Lee held a news conference on Thursday to address new claims against him.

“So my testimony I stand behind,” said the famed forensic scientist. “100% correct.”

Another convicted murderer is saying Lee’s evidence does not stand the test of time. In July of 1985, George Tyler was killed in his Darien home. Days later, Tyler’s credit cards were found in Wendall Hasan’s home. He was arrested.

Lee then examined Hasan’s sneakers and found they tested postive for blood. But 30 years later, Hasan’s lawyers had the sneakers tested, and the lab found no blood on them.

Dr. Lee said that to understand why the sneakers may no longer test positive for blood, you need to understand how they do the testing. You take a swab and wipe it on the item, then send the swab to the lab. Once blood is on the swab, there may not be any more on the item.

“So when I used it up, 30 years later, the sneaker, they re-test it and no blood was found,” said Dr. Lee. “Of course no blood was found. Already used up.”

Lee brought up the famous New Haven murder case of Penny Serra, where a handkerchief was tested for blood so many times, there was barely any of it left for evidence.

“You have to use the sample,” said Lee. “Once the sample used, you cannot test the original. Already used up.”

A month ago, the state supreme court overturned the convictions of Ralph Birch and Shawn Henning in the 1985 murder of Everett Carr in New Milford. Lee testified that a substance on a towel at the scene tested positive for blood. A more recent re-test showed it was not blood. Lee held a press conference then pointing out he had only testified that he did the test and it showed the substance may be blood. He says he never said it definitely was blood.

In a third case, Lee testified about blood on hair and a knife in the 1984 murder of Joyce Stochmal. David Weinberg served decades in prison, but was recently released when new tests showed the substance there was also not blood.

Lee sticks by his testimony, adding that technology and standards like wearing gloves were much different 30 years ago.

“Now, 30 years later, you find some foreign DNA, that person must be innocent,” Lee said. “Do you know how many people touched that piece of evidence?”

Dr. Lee says the state should set up a review committee made up of scientists and experts who can determine if evidence in old cases was handled properly.

Christopher Duby, the attorney representing Wendall Hasan, put out a statement reaction to Dr. Lee’s press conference:

“We will not litigate this very important case in the media. While Dr. Henry Lee takes to defending himself in a press conference, we will do all our talking in a court of law where the merits of his explanations will be tested.

“The fact of the matter is that Wendall has been in jail for a crime he did not commit since Ronald Reagan was president. We will work tirelessly and zealously until Wendall walks out of a courthouse a free man and with his name cleared.”

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