Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Most Innocent Man on Death Row: Stomach Contents


Stomach Contents
Dr. Harrell Gill-King is a board certified forensic anthropologist with over thirty year's experience providing estimates of the postmortem interval for human remains at various stages of decomposition. He submitted an affidavit placing the various types of scientific evidence in perspective. I quote from his affidavit.
Histology is indisputably the most accurate scientific tool for determining post mortem interval in the short term, whereas entomology consistently yields far less reliable results. Indeed, it is accepted in the scientific community that entomological estimates of post mortem interval should be used only when direct decompositional rate methods, such as histology, are not possible. ... 
Autolysis is merely a subset of decomposition. Further, decomposition is inherently less reliable than histology in estimating post mortem interval. Accordingly, when histological estimates of post mortem interval seemingly conflict with the extent to which physical remains have decomposed, accepted science requires the decomposition to be explained by something other than autolysis, if plausible. ... 
Where ... proper histological estimates of post mortem interval have been conducted, histology is the lens through which all other evidence of post mortem interval should be viewed and the method with which other approaches must be reconciled, not vice versa.
Unlike all the others, Dr. Gill-King took note of the stomach contents as an indicator of a recent death.
Even in the absence of the histological evidence, science tells us that any remaining food in the stomach of a deceased individual indicates a relatively short post mortem interval. And from a scientific perspective, stomach contents could never alter an estimate of post mortem interval grounded in histology. ...

No comments:

Post a Comment