INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 21, 2013)– Nearly two years after an IMPD Property Room snafu nearly derailed the David Bisard case, the people who handle the evidence in tens of thousands of cases inadvertently destroyed a kilo of cocaine before an accused drug dealer’s trial.
Marlon Long faced a charge of conspiracy to commit trafficking. Key to the case was 2.2 pounds of cocaine. Last October, while property room clerks were shuffling evidence by hand as the department transitioned between two computer systems, Long’s cocaine and evidence from dozens more cases were mistakenly marked for destruction.
“We’ve identified 149 pieces of which 89 pieces were salvaged so that means there were about 20 cases that were impacted by that,” said IMPD Chief Rick Hite.
While the primary evidence in Long’s case was lost, photographs and lab test results convinced jurors to convict him last week. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said his staff is currently reviewing the remaining cases to determine if the destruction of evidence will impact the trials.
In April of 2012 it was revealed that a property room mistake left a vial of Officer David Bisard’s blood on a warm shelf in a property room annex potentially rendering it unusable in the trial. At the time Mayor Greg Ballard and then-Public Safety Director Frank Straub expressed outrage over the mix-up.
Bisard was later convicted in a fatal drunk driving crash as experts determined that a lack of refrigeration did not degrade the evidence. Hite said 99% of the items in the property room are properly maintained. “I just have a concern going forward that we build out a better system relative to computers and software to marry up to the current sytem.” Following Fox 59’s story, Hite released a statement to the department explaining the evidence destruction.