Evidence in medical examiner's arrest may have Nashville connection

Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 4:27pm

The district attorney’s office has asked state investigators to determine whether evidence found during the arrest of the state’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Levy came from the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“We have information from Mississippi that indicated that perhaps evidence that belonged up here in the Medical Examiner’s Office was done in Mississippi,” said District Attorney Torry Johnson.

Levy was arrested on felony drug possession charges in Madison County, Miss., Tuesday night.

Based on information from Mississippi authorities, Johnson asked the TBI to determine whether Medical Examiner’s evidence was missing from the office and if that has happened at other times in the past.

“There was some indication that perhaps some evidence is not accounted for,” Johnson said.

He said it’s rare that the Medical Examiner’s Office obtains evidence from a case, but it does happen in certain death investigations that don’t involved a police criminal investigation.

TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm told The City Paper, “We actually received some information from the Bureau of Narcotics in Mississippi, who made Dr. Levy’s original arrest. ... It was a question basically of where the marijuana that he had in his possession came from.”

Helm said that once the TBI notified Johnson of this, he requested the investigation. The TBI will take inventory of the evidence at the Medical Examiner’s Office, and an audit, probably form the state Comptroller’s of the Treasury, is likely.

Johnson said there would be some disruption in the Medical Examiner’s Office as Dr. Amy McMaster assumes the lead role, at least temporarily, but he doesn’t believe Levy’s arrest will significantly affect the efficiency of autopsy investigations.

On Wednesday Mayor Karl Dean indefinitely suspended Levy from his role as the city's medical examiner, and state Department of Health Commissioner Susan Cooper terminated the state’s contract with Levy.

Asked if he thought some inmates might be looking to cast doubt on their convictions based on Levy’s autopsy results in their cases, Johnson said it's probable, but the chances of any of them being successful were “so remote it’s not even worth talking about.” 

3 Comments on this post:

By: littlemissmuffet on 3/19/10 at 7:56

Good riddance to bad rubbish. This clown should have been fired when he started cashing in on that (albeit quickly cancelled) reality show, in which he showcased the corpses of people's deceased loved ones without any type of authorization or permission.

On a very personal level, I began to really despise this man when my 83-year-old Granny expired, a la Elvis, alone at home in her bathroom. On her way to the floor, Granny's body flipped the switch on the wall heater, melting her synthetic wig. Dr. Levy "suspected foul play", and he refused to release Granny's body to the funeral home for 4 days until he could check out the wall heater. Now, I still don't understand how a wall heater can have murderous intent. The autopsy proved that Granny had, indeed had a massive heart attack, but it was far too late for Granny to have the open-casket viewing that she had always requested.

Too bad Dr. Levy's termination is over something as trifling as a little weed, but however we get rid of him works for me!

By: fishfry on 3/19/10 at 8:16

Is there NO end in sight for corruption in government? Each day we read about another government leader or employee doing immoral and illegal acts. I have now determined that the new definition for "government" is "we pay, they play."

By: Walter Sobchak on 3/19/10 at 9:03

What government leader? This guy was a private physician. The only ties he has to any form of government is that he had a state contract through his firm.