An Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation DNA analyst was fired last month after an internal review of her case work revealed multiple instances of sample contamination, sample handling errors and documentation mistakes, has confirmed.
An Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation DNA analyst was fired last month after a review of her case work revealed instances of sample contamination, handling errors and documentation mistakes, an investigation by The Oklahoman has revealed.
Analyst Shelly Schultz, 32, of Oklahoma City, was given an opportunity to improve her performance, but was fired after additional problems were noted — including accidentally switching samples during a proficiency test overseen by quality control officials.
One Oklahoma County murder trial already has been delayed three months because of Schultz’s termination.
It is unclear what affect her firing may have on other cases, said Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.
“We’ve not been notified as to the specific agency complaints that led to her termination, but that is obviously something we’ll need to research,” he said.
OSBI attorney Jimmy Bunn Jr. said agency officials are confident Schultz’s mistakes were identified during peer and technical review processes at the forensic lab and during subsequent case reviews of all her work.
“The OSBI believes that ultimately no erroneous results involving Ms. Schultz’s work were left uncorrected by amended reports issued in actual prosecutions or investigations or further testing or retesting of evidence,” Bunn stated. “Consequently, no erroneous results were ever relied upon or used in an actual prosecution or investigation.”
Schultz, a five-year OSBI employee, was notified in a June 18 letter that she was being terminated effective June 30.
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