WRAL Investigates

Discredited SBI analyst fighting for job

Posted May 17, 2011 9:26 a.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2011 4:22 p.m. EDT

Duane Deaver speaks publicly for the first time since he was fired by the State Bureau of Investigation during a March 4, 2011, interview with WRAL Investigates. An independent review of the way the SBI has handled blood evidence discredited some of Deaver's work and led to his termination.

— A blood-stain analyst who was fired from the state crime lab amid questions about the state crime lab’s policies and procedures is seeking to win his job back.

Duane Deaver filed a petition Monday with the state Office of Administrative Hearings to contest his Jan. 7 dismissal by the State Bureau of Investigation. In the petition, he also contends that he was suspended without just cause last fall and that the SBI and the state Department of Justice "abused their discretion" in handling his case.

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 last summer 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.

Deaver maintained in an exclusive interview with WRAL Investigates in March that he only followed SBI protocol and had done nothing wrong.

"I think I was treated unfairly, and I'm going to prevail," he said.

In his termination letter, the SBI cited his conduct in some cases and that he was accused of misleading the state's Innocence Inquiry Commission. A judicial panel appointed by the commission determined last year that Greg Taylor was wrongly convicted of murder in 1993.

In his petition, Deaver argues that the SBI's internal investigation found no evidence of perjury, and a five-person SBI panel unanimously recommended that he be reinstated.

The state Attorney General's Office, which oversees the SBI and the crime lab, declined to comment on Deaver's appeal, calling it a personnel matter.