Criminal cases unprocessed by WSP crime lab quadruple

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by WHITNEY WARD & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 13, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 14 at 11:10 AM

CHENEY, Wash. -- An investigation at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Cheney has revealed that many more cases were mishandled by the former manager.

The investigation shows that evidence in 19 cases were not processed, including 4 in Spokane.  Now, every department has to go back and look at each of those cases to decide if they need to be reopened.

Authorities said former WSP Crime Lab Manager Kevin Fortney fudged his reports and left critical evidence, like DNA and trace residue, untested.

At least a quarter of the cases involve the Spokane Fire Department and date back as far as 1999. The Crime Lab says it’s confident there are no wrongful convictions.

The Fire Department still has to dig deep into its archives. Old Case reports will be turned into the city’s legal team for further analysis. The charges in the Spokane cases range from theft to first degree arson.

Fortney resigned from his job earlier this year. KREM 2 has been told he will most likely not face charges for wrongdoing.

Officials said all of the evidence in question has been accounted for but some may have degraded over time to the point that it could not be tested again.

 

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