DA: No criminal charges against former state medical examiner
Posted November 15, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Friday that no criminal charges will be filed against a former state medical examiner accused of mishandling evidence.
Dr. Clay Nichols was fired last week as North Carolina's deputy chief medical examiner amid a State Bureau of Investigation review of his work.
Woodall asked the SBI to investigate after authorities received a tip in September that evidence was mishandled in the autopsy of a 2011 Cumberland County shooting victim.
The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is now housed at a state lab in Raleigh, but it used to be in Chapel Hill, which puts any criminal investigation in Woodall's hands.
Investigators looked at the autopsy of Terrell Boykin, one of two people killed in a Fayetteville home on May 8, 2011, and a Robeson County case to examine the way bullet fragments were retrieved and handled, Woodall said.
Nichols explained why he handled evidence the way he did and why he documented it the way he did in both cases, Woodall said, and investigators also interviewed others in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Woodall said he and Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West agreed there was no criminal wrongdoing in the case.