Friday, March 26, 2010

NE: Top CSI guilty for tampering with evidence

One hope that past cases involving this crook will be re-opened. "Planting" DNA undermines all DNA evidence that supports a prosecution. One hopes that his sentence will be severe

No one knows yet how or if the verdict against Dave Kofoed could affect other big cases he has investigated. Ivan Henk is serving a life sentence for killing his son, Brendan Gonzalez. Henk confessed. A jury convicted Chris Edwards for killing Jessica O'Grady. Edwards is also in prison. Judge Randall Rehmeier convicted Kofoed Tuesday on one count of tampering with evidence in another murder case he investigated, the double murder on Wayne and Sharmon Stock of murder on Easter Sunday 2006.

Before ruling, Judge Rehmeier told the court the evidence shows Kofoed intentionally planted the speck of blood that led to the arrest of two innocent men. Matt Livers and Nick Samson were charged with the murders and later released. Two teenagers have since confessed to the murders.

After the Judge read his verdict, Kofoed tried to describe his feelings. "It's not devastating, it's just something, got to move on," he said.

Not devastating for Kofoed, but it is for his lawyer. "You don't think I'm blaming myself for this, that I waived the jury that I didn't put him up on the stand. You don't think I've fallen on the sword thinking I'm the one that lost this case. The answer should be yes. That's what I'm thinking. I'm the one who lost this case, not Dave," said Kofoed's Attorney Steve Lefler.

Even Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning, who has supported Kofoed, never doubting his innocence, tells Action 3 News now it's time to move on, "I've been in this business for 39 years and I have to respect the decision of the judge".

The sheriff holds back almost all emotion related to the verdict. "It's not a good day," said Dunning.

Kofoed is still on paid administrative leave until next week. He'll go in front of top county officials for a disciplinary hearing who'll decide if he will be fired.

Since Kofoed's arrest, Sheriff Dunning ordered changes in the CSI lab, including how evidence is handled, stored, and how crime scene reports are written. The sheriff is even talking about putting a security camera in the evidence room to record the staff at work. Dave Kofoed will be sentenced in May.

He tells Action 3 News he has no doubt Kofoed committed the crime. He says this case is a lesson to dishonest law enforcement officials saying they might not be caught the first time, but eventually their actions will be punished. "I take no great pleasure in this verdict nor should anyone else for that matter," said Mock

Original report here

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