Netflix’s library of true-crime genre added another show in its catalog. The Innocence Files explored two cases back in 1992 where the verdict of the jury based on the forensic reports and other testimony got overturned by The Innocence Project, an organization that does post-trial and verdict investigations. The show mostly explored the involvement of Dr. Michael West, his junk science of bite-mark investigation and conviction to two innocents Devon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer.
Delve into the article, to get acquainted with the premise and few details on the show.
Dr. Michael West Bio — Age, Wife, Kids
Reportedly, Dr. Michael West was born on 11 September 1952. He belonged to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Michael graduated from Louisiana State University earning his Doctorate in Dental Surgery in 1977. After his graduation, he worked as a Dentist claimed himself to be a forensic odontologist.
Info about Michael’s wife and kids remained a private affair.
Dr. Michael West Wiki — Who Is He?
Dr. Michael West first came into prominence during the trial of Ted Bundy. He shed light on the fact that many assault and murder cases have assailants inflicting bite-marks on their victims.
So, Michael used his expertise to analyze the crime by creating teeth impressions, modeling the impression and comparing it with the actual mark on the body of the victim.
However, his new methods, no matter the level of effectiveness, was discredited in 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. Even though doubts on his means to create a medical report was prevalent, he was still well-known.
Michael was accused of misleading the trial and even convicting the innocent several times based on his research. Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer were two cases where everyone believed he got it all wrong.
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Michael’s Role On Levon Brooks’ Conviction
Levon Brooks was incarcerated for rape and murder charges in 1992.
He inflicted heinous violence on a three-year-old daughter of his then-girlfriend in Mississippi in 1990. Later, the victim was abducted and killed.
As the investigators, found the bite mark on the victim along with sexual assault, Dr. Michael West took charge of that section of investigation.
He took samples from 12 alleged suspects but excluding Levon. Further investigation along with questioning of the victim’s 6-year-old sister, put Levon in the spot to be arrested.
After the arrest, Michael obtained dental impressions similar to all the 12 suspects before him.
During the trial, Michael concluded that two of Levon’s teeth matched with the impression he had taken before. Plus, the testimony of a 6-year-old child recognizing him as the one who abducted her sister became a nightmare of Levon.
Despite making a strong argument on the credibility of Michael’s findings and the contradictory testimony of the victim’s sister the jury reached the verdict and found him guilty.
Levon was sentenced to life in prison for murder.
Like Levon Brooks’s case, another similar case surfaced after four months of his conviction.
The premise of the case was the same — a murderer raped and killed a three-year-old child, Kennedy Brewer, boyfriend of the victim’s mother was the prime suspect, investigators again found bite-mark on the victim and like before they entrusted Dr. Michael West to apply his methods come up with a result.
However, this time, his membership from the American Board of Forensic Odontology was revoked. Regardless, Michael came with the conclusion and found Kennedy as the murderer.
The conviction led to Kennedy being sentenced to death. He spent 13 years in death row.
In 2001, The Innocence Project took the trail of Kennedy Brewer and did further investigations. During the investigation, they ran a DNA test, and they came up with a finding that the semen found on the 3-year-old victim didn’t tally with Kennedy.
Kennedy took the breath of relief when he was moved from death row to pre-trial detention.
And after 6 years in prison, he was ruled out as a perpetrator after convicting Justin Albert Johnson as the one who committed the crime. Further investigation,\ led to the conclusion that he also was the one involved in Levon Brooks’s case.
Later, Justin Albert Johnson admitted committing both crimes but denied biting his victims.
In 2008, both Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer were freed from the prison.
Where Is Dr. Michael West Now?
After the overturn of the two of the infamous cases, Dr. Michael West’s credibility degraded over time. His flawed findings were questioned and criticized several times and it was disapproved in over 6 other cases he was involved in.
The Innocence Project questioned about the unreliability of forensic report and denounced Dr. Michael’s methods.
However, he stood by his findings and trusted the produced results.
Not only bite-mark analysis, Michael claimed to be an expert in analyzing fingernail wounds, gunshot reconstruction, tool marks, wound patterns on the body of victims and several other stuff.
As of April 2020, criticism after criticism, Michael had given up as a forensic odontologist, and went back to private practice in his hometown.
Whereas, Levon Brooks died of Cancer in 2018 and Brewer was recovering from the stroke he had in March but still surviving.
Last modified: April 17, 2020