Chemist in Mass. lab scandal refuses to testify
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Annie Dookhan, the chemist accused of tampering with drug samples at a state lab, remained silent when she took the stand.
Dookhan’s alleged actions put thousands of criminal cases in jeopardy. One of those cases was in court Wednesday.
Dookhan refused to testify in the drug trial of well-known defendant Shawn Drumgold, who was convicted of killing a 12-year-old girl. He served 14 years behind bars, but won a $14 million settlement because he was convicted, but the case was overturned.
“I can’t tell where the Commonwealth is coming from, whether the Commonwealth is trying to go forward or trying not to go forward,” said Judge David Weingarten in Roxbury District Court Wednesday.
There was confusion in the Roxbury courtroom as Drumgold’s lawyer complained Drumgold couldn’t get a fair trial because the district attorney’s office had ignored her request for records relating to drug tests -- documents she asked for Oct. 1.
State police arrested Dookhan last month at her Franklin home. She is accused of mishandling drug samples at a state lab in Jamaica Plain. There is conflicting evidence about whether Dookhan examined heroin and cocaine in Drumgold’s case.
Drumgold’s attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio, also noted the DA’s office didn’t have any witnesses from the drug lab ready to testify as required by law for these types of cases.
“They don’t want to dismiss it, it involves Shawn Drumgold. They have their marching orders, we all understand that. They want to put this on the court. We did everything we could, it was the court that dismissed it. That’s what’s going on here. They clearly can’t go forward,” said Scapicchio.
The judge refused to throw out the case and it proceeded with a non-jury trial because the jury had been sent home by mistake.
The first witness seemed unsure of himself.
“I believe there was a syringe under -- I’m not so sure,” said Det. Moses Acloque of the Boston Police Department.
Boston police raided a Roxbury triple decker in January 2011 and arrested Drumgold, though police admit a 70-year-old man in a wheel chair had been the target of their undercover investigation.
“He was the target. He was the person who engaged in the three control buys. He was the person they were watching for eight weeks in that apartment. He certainly was the person they intended to arrest, and then they found Mr. Drumgold and their plans changed,” said Scapicchio.
Scapicchio said it is an act of retribution by the Boston police.