AG recommends additional testing in capital case

Tuesday, May 22nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson recommended additional testing Monday of blood from the scene of a 1988 double murder.

A judge sentenced John Michael Hooker, 34, to death for the fatal stabbings of girlfriend Sylvia Morgan and her mother, Drucilla Morgan. Oklahoma City police chemist Joyce Gilchrist conducted the blood typing on the blood spatter on the wall of the apartment where the deaths occurred and on a knife and a towel.

Gilchrist testified that blood found on Hooker's pants was consistent with the victims' blood types.

``We believe the conviction would stand absent Gilchrist's testimony on the blood type on Hooker's pants,'' said Gerald Adams, attorney general spokesman. ``But we feel that the typing was a significant enough factor in the case that having it checked by another chemist is the prudent thing to do.''

The FBI has accused Gilchrist of shoddy forensic work in five criminal cases, including her hair analysis in the prosecution of Jeffrey Pierce.

Pierce spent nearly 15 years in prison on a 1986 sexual assault conviction before being freed May 7. Last month, a DNA test of semen collected from the victim exonerated him.

The FBI recommended a review of all the cases in which Gilchrist's forensic work was significant to a conviction. Five other state, federal and local investigations are going on.

Gilchrist, a 21-year police employee who is on paid administrative leave, denies the allegations and says she will be exonerated.

The attorney general reviewed the convictions of death row inmates Ernest Marvin Carter, Victor Wayne Hooks and Cyril Wayne Ellis and decided not to pursue additional testing in their cases.

The Oklahoma Legal Defense System also is investigating death penalty cases, as well as other Oklahoma County convictions.

``So far, we haven't disagreed with their assessments,'' said Jamie Pybas, supervisor of the indigent systems DNA testing program.

Ellis was convicted of killing three people and injuring four others in a 1986 cross-town shooting rampage. Gilchrist testified glass was embedded in Ellis gun.

Hooks was convicted of the 1988 beating death of his common-law wife and her unborn child. Gilchrist testified that blood from the crime scene and from items in a nearby trash can was consistent with the victims blood type.

Carter was convicted of the 1990 shooting death of a security guard while trying to steal a wrecker from the Oklahoma Auto Auction. Gilchrist testified about primer scrapings from a recovered burned wrecker truck.

Appeals are pending in the death row cases.