Ohio state crime lab
foul-up prompts review
[Austintown, OH]

PoliceOne Staff Report
(AUSTINTOWN, OHIO) -- An apparent foul-up in testing gunpowder residue by the state's crime lab in the investigation of a judge's shooting death has led the Ohio Attorney General's office to order a review of the lab's operations.

The mistake came in the case involving the death of Mahoning County Juvenile Judge James N. McNally, according to the Tribune Chronicle.

The Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation at first found that a man who lived in the duplex that McNally owned, where he was found shot, had fired a gun the night the judge died, the newspaper reported. The finding led police to obtain a search warrant for the man's home.

But on Tuesday the lab told investigators that the tests had been transposed. It was McNally's hands that tested positive for gunpowder residue, the Tribune Chronicle stated.

The judge was found at his home on Jan. 4 with a gunshot wound to the head.

Joe Case, a spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General, told the newspaper that it was a case of human error.

"Right now we are looking at our quality control process as it is to try to prevent anything happening in the future," Case said. "People make mistakes. I wouldn't read anything into it."

Last year, the BCI drew criticism when evidence technicians failed to find a knife hidden under the front seat of a murder victim's car.


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