Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Kevin Neal, Convicted of Murder by Forensic Entomology

The Secondary Screwworm in Court

Defense attorney Greg Meyers immediately homed in on Haskell's assumption that the absence of the secondary screwworm was significant.

"Is it your testimony that the secondary screwworm was not in this area of Ohio until on or after July 14 of that summer?" he asked.

"No, that is not my testimony," Haskell replied. "My testimony is that I did not find that in the combination of puparia with Phormia regina...There could have been one fly flying around here. I definitely did not say that it could not be present somewhere in this area."

"You are trying to prove the positive by the negative," Meyers countered. "You are trying to prove the positive of July 14 by the negative — meaning the absence of the screwworm. Is that fair to your testimony?"

Haskell stuck by his assumptions.

"We have a positive with Phormia regina here by itself. And in the seasonal distribution study that I've done, we find that if we have Phormia regina by itself in the puparial stage that we would be sometime prior to mid-July."

 

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