Hundreds of criminal convictions in Ohio could be in jeopardy because a longtime forensic scientist at the state crime lab stands accused of slanting evidence to help cops and prosecutors build their cases, the Columbus Dispatch reports. The credibility of G. Michele Yezzo, who worked at the Ohio attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation for more than three decades, has been challenged in two cases in which men were convicted of aggravated murder. One has been freed from prison because of her suspect work. A review of personnel records by the Dispatch shows that colleagues and supervisors raised questions about Yezzo time and again while she tested evidence and testified in murder, rape and other criminal cases.
Their concerns included that she presented evidence in the best light for prosecutors instead of objectively, used suspect methods while examining trace evidence from some crime scenes, and made mistakes that, as one former attorney general put it, “could lead to a substantial miscarriage of justice.” Yezzo, 63, said the accusations of bias in her work are wrong and that she approached her work objectively. “I have never done anything to overstate analysis of evidence, nor have I done anything, for lack of better a word, to taint the evidence,” Yezzo said. “No, I didn’t appease prosecutors and law enforcement. I bent over backwards to try and find out whatever evidence was there, and that’s the best I can tell you.” Two former attorneys general, defense attorneys, a judge, a former BCI superintendent and a nationally renowned forensic expert from the FBI all say that Yezzo has credibility issues that may have poisoned cases she touched.