State News

Convict blames SBI, seeks new trial

Posted October 20, 2010

— A man convicted of murder requested a new trial on Wednesday, citing widespread problems with the state’s crime lab and an investigator accused of misrepresenting blood evidence in his case.

Attorney Diane Savage said in a court motion that a new trial is necessary for George Goode, adding to the legal morass caused by questionable practices at the State Bureau of Investigation.

“I think justice kind of demands that he gets a new trial,” Savage said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The trial was completely tainted.”

Goode was originally sentenced to death for the 1992 murders of a couple that owned a Johnston County mobile home park.

A federal judge threw out that sentence last year, citing ineffective attorneys, and earlier this year Goode was re-sentenced to two life terms.

Savage first raised concerns about her client’s case in 2004.

At the time, Goode’s original attorneys signed affidavits admitting they didn’t know enough about blood evidence. Once called the cross-examination of SBI agent Duane Deaver “wholly ineffective.”

The federal judge in the case reprimanded Deaver for misleading testimony at Goode’s 1993 trial because he led jurors to believe that he found blood, when he had only conducted a preliminary test that indicated the possibility it was present.

Deaver was also cited in an SBI report two months ago for mishandling blood evidence in several cases, and officials reviewing the crime lab found dozens of other cases with problems.

“The shocking nature and scope of these developments is such that (Goode) deserves a new trial,” Savage wrote in her motion, filed in federal court.

Leon and Margaret Batten Convict seeks new trial in 1992 murder

Attorney General Roy Cooper has ordered a further review of policies at the crime lab and for prosecutors to review cases mentioned in the inquest.

A spokeswoman for the SBI did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Goode was convicted in the beating and stabbing deaths of Leon and Margaret Batten. He has insisted that he was there when they were killed but did not participate. He was convicted along with his brother and another man.

Deaver’s testimony at an innocence hearing earlier this year triggered fresh scrutiny of the SBI lab’s policies and procedures.

He was also the agent who handled evidence in the case of Greg Taylor, who was exonerated earlier this year after spending years behind bars for murder.

North Carolina’s Innocence Inquiry Commission has accused Deaver of intentionally misleading the panel during testimony in Taylor’s case and wants a judge to decide whether he should be held in criminal contempt.


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  • didisaythat Oct 21, 2010

    You got to love a person admitts to being at the murder and will get three trials to try and show he is innocent. Thank you Defense Attorneys for making out judicial system work in your favor. No Justice For Victims.

  • sg0544 Oct 21, 2010

    I can't agree Duane Deaver is a scapegoat. He is responsible for the reports he wrote and the testimony he gave. I do agree he isn't the only one responsible. Someone reviewed and signed off on every single one of Mr. Deaver's cases before a final report was given to the investigators and attorneys. The people who created SBI policy and reviewed Mr. Deaver's work are also partially responsible for this mess.

  • MyKidRox Oct 21, 2010

    Amen Wake 1 and Retired 07.

  • Wake1 Oct 21, 2010

    Deaver is being made to look like the bad guy here, but the higher ups also have to take responsibility for all of this as well. No wait, that's not how it works, is it? Find a scapegoat & pin it all on them!

  • dave2345 Oct 21, 2010

    I agree with most of the blogs, give him a new trial if so warranted. But if he is found guilty this time give him a quick and painful death.

  • Go Figure Oct 21, 2010

    "I swear, Your Honor, it was my evil twin"

  • beachboater Oct 21, 2010

    Give him a new trial, and put the death penalty back on the table. He admitted he was there. His brother and another man were also convicted of murder.

    yeah, I would say there's a real good chance he didn't do anything wrong. He has an innocent face.

  • Retired07 Oct 21, 2010

    If Duane Deaver is so guilty of all this stuff, where was the sitting Attorney Generals and SBI Directors that were in place during those years in charge? Let me guess in some cushy political job out of sight and Duane takes the fall. Where were you Mr Cooper? What office you got your eye on next? Well forget it!

  • maydaymanny Oct 21, 2010

    All NC criminals are claiming this now. There still has been no evidence that the SBI did anything wrong in any of the recent cases that have been investigated for that report from last month. All prisoners are just using this as an excuse to try to get out of prison.

  • kebsmom Oct 21, 2010

    What has blood evidence to do with this at all? He admitted he was there---did nothing to stop them from being brutally murdered. He is as guilty as the ones who struck the blows. No new trial needed.