Memo calls for ouster of chemist
Joyce Gilchrist was an incompetent, poorly trained manager of
the Oklahoma City police forensics laboratory who lost,
destroyed and mishandled key physical evidence, a captain wrote
in an internal memo to Police Chief M.T. Berry.
The memo by Capt. Byron Boshell called for Gilchrist's ouster.
It also said Gilchrist spent thousands of dollars on equipment that
likely never would be used, and said she had an inability to get
along with other lab workers.
"To say the serology laboratory was mismanaged is an
understatement," Boshell wrote in the Jan. 16 memo obtained by KWTV
NEWS9. "It was grossly mismanaged!
"If we fail to take action, we very well may find civil action
being taken against the city, the laboratory and the civilian and
sworn personnel involved."
Berry refused to comment Monday when he was shown the document
by The Oklahoman.
"I can't be held to sit here and make comments on something that
you're not legally in possession of," Berry said. "That is an
official police department document.
"I didn't release it to you, my public information officer
didn't release it to you, my records bureau didn't release it to
you.... I'm not going to comment on it."
Boshell also refused Monday to comment when shown the memo.
Gilchrist is the subject of investigations by the FBI and
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation after being accused of
misidentifying evidence and giving improper testimony in several
A secret FBI report, disclosed Wednesday by The Oklahoman , said
Gilchrist gave testimony "that went beyond the acceptable limits of
forensic science" or misidentified hair and fibers in at least six
The FBI has recommended a review of all cases where Gilchrist
linked hair or fibers with a suspect or victim and the evidence
"was significant to the outcome of the trial."
Forensic work by Gilchrist, a 21-year department employee, has
been criticized by defense attorneys and appellate judges for
years. She is on paid administrative leave.
Gov. Frank Keating on Monday called for the OSBI to perform a
thorough examination of all cases handled by Gilchrist.
Melvin Hall, Gilchrist's attorney, could not be reached for
comment Monday. Hall has said Gilchrist stands behind her work and
believes she will be vindicated.
In the memo, Boshell told the chief one of his concerns about
the laboratory was blood, some of which was probably HIV-infected,
that was being washed down the drain into the city drainage system.
Boshell, who became laboratory supervisor in May 1999, said
evidence was being stacked all over the chemist's area because of
lack of storage space, posing a contamination issue. Rape evidence
was systematically being destroyed after two years, long before the
statute of limitations.
"This meant evidence was being destroyed ending the possibility
of prosecution in some unsolved rape cases," Boshell wrote.
Police department policy and procedure were violated because
proficiency testing had not been conducted, even though the city
was paying for the tests, the memo stated. The testing ensures
results with the lab's equipment are accurate.
"As bad as all of these problems were, the issue of proficiency
testing caused me the greatest alarm," Boshell told the chief. "The
failure to conduct these proficiencies placed the lab in a
defenseless position and was a waste of city funds. Proficiency
tests are the primary way of proving the work performed in a lab is
Gilchrist blamed the OSBI, her supervisors, commanding officers,
defense attorneys and judges for the problems with her and the
laboratory, the captain wrote.
"In the defense (attorney) community, she alleges a conspiracy
due to in part because she is black and should not know as much as
she does about forensics," Boshell wrote.
Gilchrist was accused of not properly attending to boxes of
evidence that became wet when an evidence room flooded, Boshell
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