Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Fingerprint Gaffe Puts Murder Conviction In Question

A murder trial where the convict is now on death row is one of the cases involved in an ongoing investigation into the competence of a Seminole County fingerprint examiner, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Clemente Aguirre, 26, was convicted last year of killing two women with a knife in their mobile home in 2004. Aguirre was a chef and brought the murder weapon from his restaurant.

Now the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports that fingerprints done on that knife came back inconclusive. Aguirre's lawyer wants that information forwarded to the judge and is asking for a new trial.

The FDLE challenged expert Donna Birks' findings about a fingerprint last week, which forced prosecutors to drop a burglary case.

The sheriff's office asked FDLE to review 81 of her cases.Birks, who has been suspended with pay, is one of three full-time fingerprint experts with the sheriff's department.

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