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April 3, 2013

State crime analyst over defense role

SALEM — The state police lieutenant in charge of crime scene analysis for the state crime lab has been removed from his post after officials learned that he was moonlighting as a consultant for the defense in a Beverly case.

State police Detective Lt. Kenneth Martin, a highly regarded forensics expert who until last Wednesday was the commander of the state police Crime Scene Services unit, examined and photographed the clothing of a defendant awaiting trial in a Beverly assault case, according to prosecutors.

But he did that work not in his role for the state but as a consultant for the defense in the case of Brendan Eppley.

State police spokesman David Procopio said Martin had previously been approved for outside employment only in a teaching capacity.

“It came to our attention last week that he was involved in a Beverly police case and that he had communicated with the defense bar,” Procopio said.

At this point, officials are not aware of any other cases in which Martin may have worked as a defense consultant, but Procopio said the investigation is ongoing.

“Obviously, we’ll look at exactly what he was doing and where,” Procopio said.

Procopio said Martin has been transferred to a job in field services.

Eppley, 22, of Darien, Conn., is scheduled to stand trial today in Salem District Court on charges of mayhem (intentional disfigurement) and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, after he allegedly struck another partygoer in the face with a bottle, cutting open his lower cheek, as police were trying to break up an off-campus party involving Endicott College students in December 2011. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer says police have charged the wrong person.

Prosecutors in District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office tried Monday to delay the trial so they could further review Martin’s role in the defense’s case and, potentially, call Martin as a witness for the prosecution, according to a motion filed in court.

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