In The News

News - 2015

Oct. 2015

Boston Globe Quotes Jeffrey Catalano and Melinda Thompson About DA Role in Autopsy Notes

The Boston Globe quoted Jeffrey Catalano and Mindy Thompson about the role of the Middlesex District Attorney's office in a medical examiner's report on the death of a 6-month infant, as well as a report in separate case involving the death of a 1-year-old child.

The medical examiner reversed a homicide finding in the death of the 6-month-old Malden infant. In his case notes, the examiner indicated that Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and her office “bullied” him to stick with the original homicide ruling, according to the Globe.

Forensic pathologist Peter Cummings initially determined that the 2010 death of the baby, Nathan Wilson, was a homicide, the result of abusive head trauma, or shaken baby syndrome. Ryan's office charged the boy's father, Geoffrey Wilson, with the baby’s murder.

But medical experts hired by Geoffrey Wilson's defense attorneys found a rare genetic defect that made members of the Wilson family prone to ruptures of veins and arteries, providing an alternative explanation of the baby’s death.

The medical examiner's notes raise “very significant concerns about the extent to which an independent medical examiner could feel bullied,” Mr. Catalano told the Globe. “We are looking deeply into this in order to determine what the Wilsons’ rights are, and the best means of seeking justice in this case.”

In a separate case, Ms. Thompson successfully persuaded the medical examiner's office to reverse a finding of homicide against Aisling McCarthy Brady, who had been charged with the murder of a 1-year-old girl from shaken baby syndrome. This promptly led the DA's office to drop the homicide charge and dismiss the case.

During the case, Ms. Thompson obtained a court order restricting access of the DA's office to the medical examiner's investigation out of a concern for maintaining the examiner's independence.

“I felt the interactions [so far] were inappropriate,” Thompson told the Globe, citing e-mails showing heavy involvement by the entire prosecution team with the medical examiner. “We believed the review, on behalf of Aisling, the child’s family, and the Commonwealth, should be independent, without interference from the Middlesex district attorney’s office.”