[Session of August 11 ends, and session of August 12, 2009 begins at
DR. RICHARD SOUVIRON
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MICHAEL BURT
I am a dentist who has specialized in the field of forensic dentistry as a
forensic odontologist. I do all of the work for the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s
office. (BMHR 2001). I assist in the identification of deceaseds in plane crash and
other disaster situations. I also review pattern injuries. I am a practicing dentist as
well. (BMHR 2002).
In addition, I consult with law enforcement officers throughout the State of
Florida, in cases around the country, as well as in Canada and the Bahamas. I have
also consulted with criminal defense lawyers. I would say that most of my work is
done for law enforcement - about 70 to 75 percent.
I attended dental school at Emory University in Atlanta, and received my
dental degree from there. Since, I am have taken in forensic dentistry at the
University of Texas, at Bellevue in New York, in Connecticut, and the Medical
Examiner’s in Miami-Dade. My primary means of training is hands on work.
I have often worked on cases involving drownings. I have worked on
thousands of cases since I started doing forensic odontology in 1967.
For many years I was the forensic odontologist at the Miami-Dade Medical
Examiner’s office. In the 1980s, I started training other people. There is now a
deputy chief odontologist. Both of us are board certified. (BMHR 2007). We have
at least 30 other individuals who have trained with them. (BMHR 2007).
To get certified as a forensic odontologist one has to take a three-day
examination in addition to four to five years work with a medical examination.
The organization that certifies forensic odontologists is the American Board of
Odontology. I have been the President of the American Board of Forensic
Odontology, and served on the Ethics Committee as well. I have taught forensic
dentistry at the University of Miami Medical School. (BMHR 2010). I regularly
lecture to law enforcement groups. I have also published in the field of forensic
dentistry, including a 2009 book called Dental Autopsy.
One of the book chapters I have is on animal bite marks, and another is on
how bite marks and pattern injuries can mimic one another. (BMHR 2012). I have
also authored a section in Dr. Spitz’s book.
In 1993 there were persons in the field who were writing on forensic
odontology. My CV lists the jurisdictions that I have qualified in, though I don’t
think that it lists Arkansas, and I have qualified here before. I did some work for
the FBI in Arkansas, and worked on another case. I have qualified in a number of
other jurisdictions as well. (BMHR 2014).
I had dealt with animal bite marks on a number of occasions before I was
contacted about this case. I was first contacted in this case in 2006. He was
eventually contacted by attorney Horgan from San Francisco. He sent me a
letter–Exhibit 60. I was sent approximately 1500 photographs (BMHR 2017), the
autopsy reports, from other law enforcement reports. Today, there is a protocol for
documenting bite marks. In 1993, I did it by taking my own photographs. I would
make notes. I would assess the pattern, whether it is a human bite mark or not.
In this case, I was confused about Dr. Peretti’s explanation, given in 1999,
of what he did at the time. At the time of the autopsy, he called in a dentist
because he thought there were bite marks. He then said that none were found, so
that he did nothing. But where you see a pattern injury, you should work it up.
(BMHR 2022). The fact that didn’t happen, that there was no documentation of
what had apparently been thought to be possible bite marks, meant that Dr.
Dougan, the dental consultant was not following protocol.
There are a number of injuries that can be made by animals, and I have
brought a number of exemplars along. This included exemplars of dog; shark; dog
activity that looks like something else; knife wounds that are erroneously identified
because the actual mechanism of injury was a dog (BMHR 2028).
I brought along an exemplar from my collection which I believe resembles
the injuries to Chris Byers–you can see these pattern injuries from the paw marks.
(BMHR 2030-2032). It had been suspected that a serrated knife had inflicted the
injuries, but the odontologist who had reviewed the findings in the case was of the
view that in fact it was a dog, which is what was demonstrated. It is common to see
injuries caused by dogs in the genital area. (BMHR 2032).
I can also show you this Mississippi case in which it had been suspected that
there were human bite marks, but it turned out that the marks had been inflicted by
big red ants. (BMHR 2033). I also testified in another Mississippi case about bites
that were identified as human, but I said they weren’t. We were able to show that
the body, which was found in a swampy area, had been eaten at by crayfish.
I have looked at the record of this case, and have reviewed the testimony of
officers at the scene in this case who described their walking through the water.
Based on my review of the testimony, and of the map of the area, I would not have
expected to see actual wildlife in the ditch where the bodies were found after
Detective Ridge had walked in the ditch. (BMHR 2042-2043).
The area seems to be to be where you might expect to find some degree of
wild life there. (BMHR 2043). I don’t know where the bodies were when they
were set on by animals. In my opinion, there was a combination of animals
involved. I would say turtles would have been likely, as would have a coon or a
dog. (BMHR 2048-49).
Looking at the injury to the right shoulder of this young man, in autopsy
329, you see parallel lines consistent with claw marks. There was a question about
whether this was done by the Rambo knife. I prepared an acetate tracing of the
knife using a one to one measurement, and did the same with respect to the injury.
When you place the acetate of the knife over the injury, you can see that it doesn’t
fit. This is a common technique that we use in odontology to compare a known to
an unknown. (BMHR 2051). This is Exhibit 62.
In answer to the Judge’s question, it may be possible that one of the cuts on
the body in the area of the scrapes I was talking about could have been made by a
knife, but the scratch marks were not, because you can’t get them to match up with
the knife. (BMHR 2056-7). I can’t tell you what kind of an animal exactly. I have
read a book on the Amphibians and Reptiles of Arkansas. I also consulted a book
called Arkansas Mammals. There are a lot of possible candidates for inflicting
these injuries. My first choice would be a turtle or maybe a turtle and a crayfish.
There are a number of animals in the books I reviewed that eat dead animals, and
that might have been involved. I am aware of two affidavits covering the presence
of wild dogs in the area.
Looking again at photos of Mr. Moore, autopsy number 329, I am of the
opinion that those are animals. I see some blunt force trauma, but other areas of
animal activity. (BMHR 2061).
Mr. Branch had injuries to his face that look like dogs licked the area. I have
seen injuries like that. I also see some injuries that were triangular, like they were
made by a turtle. This is post-mortem mutilation. There is no way that a knife
could have caused those injuries. (BMHR 2064).
You are showing me what was identified as a human bite mark by Dr.
David, and I agree with other doctors who have testified that this is not a human
bite mark. But I don’t understand Dr. Perretti’s identification of indications of bite
marks on the cheek, and his lack of consideration of these as animal bite marks.
The areas of what Dr. Perretti describes as gouge marks are animal activity.
(BMHR 2068). You can see irregular borders of the wounds. There are little half
mooned shapes. These are classic bite marks.
The wounds to the genital area are also post mortem animal bite marks. The
de-gloving of the penis is characteristic of an animal bite mark. (BMHR 2070).
That would have been recognized in 1993. Today, you would have swabbed the
area for DNA, and human saliva.
The other thing to consider if you assume that these are knife wounds is that
there would likely have been some injury to the bones. I don’t think that they
looked at the bones. (BMHR 2072-73). I used an acetate of the knife on these
marks near the genital injury, and they could not have been made by this knife.
I strongly disagree with Dr. Perretti’s testimony in the Misskelley case that
‘a knife’ or in Baldwin/Echols ‘a particular knife’ caused the injuries I am
reviewing. I think that someone with the kind of training I have would have
testified in 1993/4 as I am testifying now. These days, there is a recommendation
that experts in our area be certified every five years.
We attempted to share our findings with Dr. Perretti. We met with him. Dr.
Di Maeo was there, I think Dr. Baden was there. Dr. Perretti was congenial. He
said he was going to go back in his records to review cases over the last ten years
that involved animal mutilation. I don’t know that he ever did. (BMHR 2078). I
reviewed Dr. Perretti’s letter from after this meeting. It is Exhibit 48. I agree with
him that there are no human bite marks. But then he says that there are no bite
marks, including animal bite marks, which contradicts what he wrote.
There are several books that were available in 1993 that cover animal bite
marks, including Dr. Helpern’s book (
Exhibit 64); Dr. Spitz’s book and Dr. Adelson’s book, all of which were available
back at the time of trial. (BMHR 2082).
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY JOHN PHILIPSBORN
There were protocols used by Medical Examiners offices in 1993 where
pattern injuries were concerned. There was also pertinent literature that could have
been reviewed at that time. There was actually an inquiry in Canada about deaths
said to have been caused by sharp objects like scissors that turned out to be animal
bites. One of the persons present at the meeting with Dr. Perretti was an
odontologist from Canada who was a part of that inquiry. He gave Dr. Perretti a
copy of his book on forensic odontology.
I am now looking at a series of photos which have been marked Exhibit 48.
Looking at photo 48 T, Mr. Branch, I see nothing but animal mutilation on his left
cheek. Photo 48 CC shows some claw marks. 48 MM is the genital area where I
see the de-gloving injury, there is animal predation. I don’t see anything that
indicates that the victim’s heart was beating or that there was blood pressure.
Looking at the photo that was said to show a line around one of the victims’
penises, which was exhibit 64B at trial, I don’t see anything that looks like human
teeth marks there. (BMHR. 2094).
CROSS EXAMINATION BY KENT HOLT
I have seen testimony from other experts who addressed the human bite
mark issue in another proceeding. I did not get the testimony of Dr. David. He is a
friend of mine, but in this case, he was flat wrong.
I have opined that the injuries on Mr. Branch’s face, the injuries to Mr.
Byers’ genital area, and the area of Mr. Moore’s right shoulder all have animal
injuries on them (BMHR 2097-8).
I do want to know all I can about a case, particularly about where the bodies
were found. I am interested in what the officers on the scene saw. I would want to
have gone through all of the information. I think that I only have some of the
information about the scene. I addressed the issue of the Rambo knife, the
grapefruit and those matters.
I agree with Dr. Haddix who discussed animal mutilation sur-imposed on
pre-existing injuries. There were drag marks. Blood attracted the animals. There
was also urine.
I see evidence of turtle bites, areas that are likely to have been licked by a
dog, which would have attracted turtles. I don’t have a degree in zoology, by I do
dentistry on zoo animals, and I have much more expertise on animal teeth than the
average dentist. (BMHR 2105).
The testimony that someone bit off the scrotum and penis as part of a satanic
ritual was outrageous. (BMHR 2109).
Animals could have been attracted to an area that had been wounded by a
REDIRECT EXAMINATION BY JOHN PHILIPSBORN
I see nothing in the photos of Mr. Byers that indicate that his scrotum and
testes were bitten off by a human.
The proceedings on August 12, 2009 were concluded. BMHR 2124. The
testimony resumed the next day, August 13. 2009