The current findings support previous studies that bitemark evidence is unreliable and should not be used in trials.Bitemark evidence in court is fatally flawed and has led to wrongful convictions and even death sentences in the US, according to new research.
The commonly-used analysis in trials is not backed up by scientific data according to new research of current literature and 12 new studies.
Since serial killer Ted Bundy’s trial in 1979 where bitemark evidence was used extensively, it has become normalized in some criminal cases.
Scientists found that bitemarks on the skin do not transfer accurately and with just a slight distortion could fit lots of people.
“The scientific community does not uphold the underlying premise that human teeth are unique and their unique features transfer to human skin.
“We find bitemark transfer to skin is not reliable and found that within a population of 1,100 people, with just 25 percent distortion, a significant number of the population could have created the bite.
“Our findings are a cautionary tale of how dangerous the consequences can be when
They were also able to examine distortion on actual indentations of the teeth left on the skin.
The main evidence used to convict Harward was a bitemark on the victim’s skin after a forensic dental expert explained how Harward’s teeth made the bite in such great detail that even his own family doubted his innocence.
“Harward was subsequently released from prison.”
Eddie Lee Howard, a Black man, was sentenced to death in 1994 for murdering a white woman.
He was convicted on bitemark evidence and spent 26 years on death row before being exonerated.
He was released from Mississippi’s death row in December 2020.
The current findings support previous studies that bitemark evidence is unreliable and should not be used in trials.
It is hoped the latest review will raise awareness of the unreliability of bitemark evidence and the potential issues with the evidence, and the possible liabilities of testifying at trials.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Asad Ali and Saba Fatima