Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Interview of Gregg McCrary

Evidence Standard Lower

Gregg McCrary
Gregg McCrary
During the defense, McCrary took the stand.  First, he addressed the ideas of a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Emmanuel Tanay.

In my initial testimony, he writes, I rebutted Dr. Tanays assertion that Marilyn Sheppards murder was a sexually sadistic homicide.  She had not been tortured or held for days, the offender did not use restraints, instruments or devices, and there was no evidence of sexual experimentation.  As a matter of fact, there was no evidence that Marilyn Sheppard had been sexually assaulted in any manner.  This was not a sexually sadistic homicide.  The evidence was overwhelmingly consistent with staging.

Then he presented his analysis of the crime scene, with the clear implication that Sheppard was the mostly likely suspect.

At times, McCrary thought the trial seemed like something produced for television.  The judge allowed several different people to testify who had no scientific basis for what they were presenting.  A dentist, for example, testified about a fingernail abrasion on the skin, which was beyond his realm of expertise.  He made no measurements and had not even looked at photographs of Marilyns hand.

Worse was the fact that the evidence used for DNA extraction had serious issues with both contamination and chain-of-custody.  It was a civil trial, true enough, but the bar for evidence admissibility had been considerably lowered.

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