Accusations of Evidence Tampering Could Weaken Prosecution in Wh - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Accusations of Evidence Tampering Could Weaken Prosecution in White Trial

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As the trial for Taybronne White, accused of murdering three people in 2011, continues, the actions of the Greene County Sheriff's Office have been called into question. But just how damaging could those actions be to the prosecution's case?

Those actions include accusations of evidence tampering and, most recently, missing DNA in the case - both things that may end up working in favor of the defense.

NBC29's legal analyst, Lloyd Snook, said, "It will allow the defense lawyers to say to the jury, ‘They messed this up. What else might they have messed up?'"

That's a question being asked a lot at White's trial. It stems from missing DNA and what the defense calls evidence tampering. Snook says these two pieces of the puzzle could damage the prosecution's case.

"Anytime you can damage the jury's confidence in the prosecution, in the police work and the Sheriff's Office work, it's good for the defense," Snook said.

Accusations of evidence tampering come after Greene County evidence technician James Shifflett admitted to stealing $19,000 from the evidence room and searching through several bags related to White's case.

Jurors also heard for the first time last week that two DNA swabs in the case have disappeared, another potential hard hit to the prosecution's case.

"In many cases there's what's called the CSI effect; everybody wants to know that there is a perfect answer that DNA and some scientific test will give us," Snook said.

And without that evidence, Snook says the defense can raise questions about whether the DNA is truly authoritative, and could have a better chance of winning.

The trial will move into its seventh day Wednesday.

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