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.”