WRAL Investigates

Discredited SBI analyst: 'I haven't done anything wrong'

Posted March 7, 2011

— A blood-stain analyst who was fired from the state crime lab amid questions about the state crime lab’s policies and procedures says he feels that he has become the scapegoat for problems in the crime lab.

"I think I was treated unfairly, and I'm going to prevail," Duane Deaver told WRAL Investigates on Friday in an exclusive interview.

In his nearly 25-year career at the State Bureau of Investigation, Deaver went from being a rising star – he was the go-to guy for blood stain analysis – to being a lightning rod, the symbol of a system accused of withholding evidence.

An independent review of the crime lab concluded that SBI analysts had frequently misstated or falsely reported blood evidence in about 200 criminal cases during a 16-year period ending in 2003.

Some of the most egregious violations found during were linked to Deaver.

In two of the cases, for example, Deaver's final blood analysis reports said his tests "revealed the presence of blood" when his notes indicated negative results from follow-up tests.

"Never was it considered by me or anyone that we would withhold or hide anything," Deaver told WRAL News. "That's not the way we did business or wanted to do business."

Attorney General Roy Cooper fired him in January.

"I haven't done anything wrong, yet my career is over," he said.

Much of Deaver's troubles are tied to the case of Greg Taylor. An independent panel found Taylor innocent in February 2010 after he had spent 17 years in prison for murder.

During the hearing, Deaver testified about blood evidence linked to Taylor's truck.

"I can't say with scientific certainty that was blood," he testified.

Yet, his report was cited in Taylor's 1993 trial as showing a preliminary indication of blood. In his notes from the time, Deaver wrote that secondary tests were negative for blood, but those notes were never revealed in the trial.

WRAL Investigates Discredited SBI analyst: 'I haven't done anything wrong'

"I think it's mistaken to think that I, my report is the reason he was convicted," Deaver told WRAL News.

Cooper called for the independent review of the crime lab's blood evidence unit following Taylor's release from prison.

Deaver noted that he was never called to testify during Taylor's original trial, and he said he still stands by his report in the case from a scientific standpoint.

An initial blood test showed a possible indication of blood. By SBI policy at the time, that was included in his official report. Yet, limited secondary tests that didn't confirm blood stayed out of the report, which was the agency's policy at the time.

"I feel like the report was clear because of the language," he said. "An indication of blood would say that it's an indication. Our reports would say that it's blood if it were blood.

"The language of the reports was not made up by me," he added.

Defense attorneys and even some prosecutors now argue that such nuances weren't clear in many cases.

"As time goes on, we find better ways of doing things," Deaver said. "Now, that's not to say we were trying to hide anything or what our language was was not correct. Our language was scientifically correct."

He also said his test notes were always available for review, noting that there was a shredder outside his office if he had wanted to conceal any findings.

Deaver said it's not his job to judge whether Taylor is guilty or innocent, but he said he "would hate to think anyone who is innocent would go to prison, and I would hate to be a part of such."

In addition to fighting for his job, Deaver faces a contempt of court charge over whether he lied to the panel that cleared Taylor.

"It's very hurtful," he said of the criminal charge. "I don't think people know what it means for a person who cared so much about their career to have their name on a defendant sheet – State of North Carolina versus Duane Deaver. It's hard."

He said it's sometimes hard even going out in public.

"I've had people who don't know me say I should be in jail. I've had people say I should be fired," he said. "My most regret in all of is that anyone in North Carolina would think that I did anything wrong to anyone."

Whatever problems exist in the way the state crime lab operates, Deaver said, he feels unfairly singled out, and he vowed to win his job back and clear his name.

"All I can say is I was competent in my job and I knew my job," he said. "The other pieces of the puzzle, they have to be responsible for their part of the job."

125 Comments

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 10, 11:34 a.m.

    Deaver is like the accountant. When asked what 2 and 2 was, the accountant said what do you want it to be.

  • ebeamer7472 Mar 8, 5:52 p.m.

    I am amazed at how much misinformation circulates on this particular situation. First of all, there is no indication that Mr. Deavers falsified a report. His report was the accepted report at that time even if it was not in official writing. Furthermore, his wording states the indication of blood, not the conclusive finding of blood. His report and notes were always available to the DA and the defense attorney. It has always been customary for both the DA and defense attorneys to request phone interviews or in person interviews with the analyst and receive lab notes in order to clarify any questions that may arise if they are not familiar with a report. Apparently, his findings were not that important since he did not get called into court in the original trial. Sadly, he is being made a scapegoat on this matter.

    The N&O showed extreme bias in their reporting, and many of the comments here are based on misinformation. I regret seeing comments that reflect that bias and not t

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 8, 5:11 p.m.

    Just because Deaver is strong in his church and is a boy scout leader doesn't mean that he hasn't falsified evidence based on what DA's wanted.

    No wonder he was the go to guy for DA's.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 8, 5:09 p.m.

    Deaver needs to serve a year in prison for each year that someone was falsely locked up in prison because of Deaver's fabricated evidence.

  • gdballard Mar 8, 4:56 p.m.

    Why can't people understand that being a nice person at church or in the neighborhood has absolutely nothing to do with what goes on in the court room. I am sure that we all can agree that Deavers is a nice guy, I am sure that we all can agre that he is a great husband and father (if he has children) and that we can all agree that Deavers is an outstanding scout leader. I am sure he has very many great attributes and is a very good man. But again, being a nice person in the neighborhood or church does not mean he did not misrepresent facts in the court room. I am also not just talking about he Taylor case which is what a lot of people are trying to say - the fact are that Deavers has several cases and testimonials that have been brought into question. NOT just the Taylor case. Deavers is very believable on the witness stand when he talks about how smart he is and when he talks about all of the articles he has written and how great of a blood spatter expert he is. Still regardles

  • hjlemon2 Mar 8, 4:44 p.m.

    I have personally known Duane since he was a small child. He is an honest man to the core. I believe I can attest to his honesty. Thus, I believe what he said in the interview pertaining to his work. In the end, truth will prevail if honest "men" govern in this matter. It would be in the best interest of the governor and those who preside over the SBI to take an honest and introspective look at this matter, this man and a seemingly wrecked career.

  • pizno82 Mar 8, 4:33 p.m.

    Deaver needs to go to prison and pay restitution for his criminal acts.

  • anastasia Mar 8, 4:08 p.m.

    To 07 and anybody else....I sure hope your vehicle is never parked close to a crime scene...cuz I guess that would make YOU guilty, right?...tarheelzzzz
    March 8, 2011 2:15 p.m.

    ------------

    ROTF. You did look at the photos, right? He wasn't 'parked near a crime scene'. His car was literally stuck, up to the floorboards, way off any roadway, in a woods. I'd hardly call that 'parked near a crime scene.' If your car is stuck in a ravine, not near any road, and a body 'turns up' the same night your car gets stuck there, you'd better believe you'd be a prime suspect. Richard Allan Davis, the man who raped and murdered Polly Klass, also got his car stuck off the road, and low and behold, a woman found Polly's clothes in the woods where his car was stuck. Too bad the items weren't found until after Polly was raped and murdered.

  • Reason Mar 8, 3:32 p.m.

    tarheelzzzz i dont think "parked near a crime scene" is te right way to classify where taylor's car was. Its not liked he was parked in the walmart parking lot and the body was discovered in the restroom. come on! Mark Taylor didn't have anything stolen from him. He took a life. (yes i still think he's guilty) He should be grateful that he only had to serve 17 years.

  • claytontarheel Mar 8, 3:05 p.m.

    IMO, if the DA knowingly presented evidence that he knew to be misleading, then he should be put in jail. Everything I've seen points to the DA's guilt not Deaver's.

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