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Forensic Scientist Who Helped O.J. Walk Free By Questioning the Handling of Blood Evidence Fabricated Evidence in Another Murder Trial, Court Finds

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Jul. 23 2023, Published 4:30 p.m. ET

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In a landmark ruling on Friday, a federal judge found renowned forensic scientist Henry Lee, one of the witnesses who testified to get O.J. Simpson free, liable for fabricating evidence in a murder case that resulted in the wrongful conviction of Ralph "Ricky" Birch and Shawn Henning, RadarOnline.com has learned.

The two men were sentenced for the December 1, 1985, killing of Everett Carr. The convictions were based, in part, on Lee's testimony regarding alleged bloodstains found on a towel at the crime scene in New Milford, Connecticut.

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Birch and Henning's felony murder convictions were vacated in 2020, prompting them to file a federal wrongful conviction lawsuit against Lee, eight police investigators, and the town of New Milford.

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Lee, an 84-year-old former head of the state's forensic laboratory and currently a professor emeritus at the University of New Haven's Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, did not respond to immediate requests for comment.

The famed forensic scientist gained international recognition for his work in high-profile cases, including the O.J. murder trial in 1995, the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation in 1996 and the Phil Spector murder trial in 2007.

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During Birch and Henning's trial in 1989, Lee testified about a crime scene drenched in blood.

The victim had been brutally stabbed 27 times, had his throat slit, and suffered seven head blows. However, there was no forensic evidence that linked the defendants to the crime. Their clothes and car showed no signs of blood, and the fingerprints found at the scene did not match theirs.

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Lee also claimed that a towel discovered near the crime scene bore stains consistent with blood, possibly touched by the killers during a cleanup. However, post-trial tests revealed that the substance on the towel was not blood.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Victor Bolden stated that Lee failed to provide any supporting evidence for his claims.

The judge also noted that Lee's own experts admitted to a lack of documentation or photographs demonstrating that Lee had performed the blood test. Furthermore, tests conducted did not indicate the presence of blood.

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The judge ruled that Lee had failed to properly utilize an immunity defense that could have shielded him from damages. It was determined that Lee was no longer eligible to present this argument.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong's office, which represented Lee and the police detectives involved in the case, is currently reviewing the decision and considering the next steps.

Birch, who served over 30 years of a 55-year sentence, was released in 2019 after a judge ordered a new trial. Henning, who was 17 at the time of the crime, was granted probation in 2018.

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Lee maintained his innocence in the investigation after Birch and Henning's convictions were vacated in 2020. However, according to the Associated Press, his conduct in other high-profile cases, such as the murder trial of Phil Spector, has also been called into question.

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