Monday, August 9, 2004

Expert to share O.J.

A top forensic scientist and Court TV
celebrity will speak tonight at
a Kaneshiro fund-raiser

Celebrated forensics scientist Henry Lee has tried unsuccessfully to retire three times.

But the 66-year-old Lee keeps receiving calls to assist in many high-profile cases including that of Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant and Scott Peterson, who is on trial for allegedly murdering his wife, Laci.

Lee's even hosting his own TV show, Court TV's new series "Trace Evidence."

Lee, who has been consulted in numerous homicide cases in Hawaii over the years, will be in Honolulu lecturing about some of the 6,000 homicides he has worked on.

The lecture will be at 7 p.m. today at Kaimuki High School. Admission is $25. It is a benefit for former Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, who is running to be prosecutor again. Lee is Kaneshiro's honorary campaign chairman.

Lee serves as Connecticut's chief emeritus of the police forensic science laboratory. He served as Connecticut police commissioner for two years and laboratory director for 25 years. He is also professor of forensic science at the University of New Haven.

Born in Shanghai, Lee grew up in Taiwan and became a police captain in the Taiwan police department. He came to the United States in 1965 to further his studies, received his doctorate and decided to stay.

Lee gained national attention during the O.J. Simpson trial as an expert witness for the defense, igniting public interest in forensic science.

Lee said that at the lecture he will give new, never-presented evidence on the O.J. Simpson case. In 1995, former football star Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.

"Some evidence shows he's guilty of something, but not murder," Lee said.

He serves as the prosecution's expert in the case of Bryant, who is charged with raping a woman in June 2003 at the Vail, Colo., hotel where she worked. Lee is also acting as defense expert for Peterson, who the prosecution alleges killed his pregnant wife in December 2002 and dumped her body into San Francisco Bay.

Hawaii prosecutors have sought Lee's expertise as far back as the 1980s.

In the 1990s, Lee said then-Prosecutor Kaneshiro brought him photographs in the 1994 double murder case of prominent Japanese fortune teller Toako Kototome Fujita and her son, Goro, at an Ala Moana condominium building.

Lee said he noticed potential evidence in some of the photos, and recommended seizing the elevator tape, which resulted in finding the killer. He saw a pushcart and noticed bloodstains in the basement.

"I did the reconstruction case analysis," which the Honolulu Police Department's crime lab confirmed, Lee said.

Raita Fukusaku, the first Japanese citizen to be extradited to stand trial for murder in the United States, was convicted in the case.

On the Big Island, Lee provided key evidence in the 1992 Yvonne Mathison murder case, which led to the reopening of the case and conviction of her husband, former Hilo police officer Kenneth Mathison.

Mathison claimed he accidentally ran over his wife. He was found in the back of the van cradling her bloodied body. Lee's analysis of the blood spatter on the van's instrument panel proved critical that her death was a murder.



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