Bite Mark Cases

11 Cases

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AZ - Maricopa - Ray Krone 1991

CA - San Bernardino - Wm. Richards 1993

HI - Hawaii - Pauline & Schweitzers 1991

IL - Cook - Young, Hill, & Williams 1990

LA - Jefferson - Willie Jackson 1986

MI - Macomb - Cristini & Moldowan 1990

MS - Noxubee - Levon Brooks 1990

MS - Noxubee - Kennedy Brewer 1992

OK - Osage - Gregory Wilhoit 1985

PA - Fayette - Crystal Weimer 2001

WI - Milwaukee - Robert Lee Stinson 1984




Date of Alleged Crime


Maricopa County, AZ Ray Krone Dec 29, 1991

Ray Krone was sentenced to death for the murder of Kim Ancona, 36, a bar manager who was killed at the CBS Lounge restaurant where she worked.  Krone was a regular customer at the restaurant/bar and knew Ancona. Krone had an alibi and his 10-1/2 shoe size did not match the 9-1/2 size shoe print left at murder scene. Hairs and partial fingerprints found did not match Krone either. However, police felt Krone's teeth matched a bite mark on the victim.  Krone was dubbed the “Snaggletooth Killer” because one of his top front teeth stuck out.  At trial, Dr. Raymond Rawson, a nationally known forensic odontologist, testified that he was 100% certain that bite mark on the victim matched Krone.  After Krone's conviction was overturned, a retrial jury convicted him again in 1996 despite defense testimony from three forensic dentists that the bite mark did not match.  This time the judge sentenced him to life in prison, citing doubts about whether Krone was the killer.  In 2001, DNA testing of blood found on victim was matched to the actual killer, Kenneth Phillips, and Krone was released after serving 10 1/3 years.

It was later learned that prior to the second trial the prosecuting attorney was personally told by two of the country's most respected dental forensic experts that there was “no way” the teeth marks on Ancona's body were made by Krone.  The experts asserted the prosecution's dental expert was absolutely wrong to identify Krone as the source of the bite marks. Not only did the prosecutor not inform the defense of this exculpatory information, but he proceeded with seeking the death penalty.

In 2004, Krone came to the attention of the TV show Extreme Makeover, and agreed to a makeover that included the replacement of five of his front teeth.  The program documenting his transformation was broadcast in Feb 2005.  In April 2005, Krone was awarded $1.4 million by Maricopa County and in September he was awarded $3 million by the city of Phoenix.  In Feb 2006, the Arizona legislature publicly apologized to him.  Krone's case is profiled in the first half of the book The Death Penalty on Trial by Bill Kurtis.  (Forensic Files) (JD32 p16) (IP) (CCADP)  [12/06]


San Bernardino County, CA William Richards Aug 10, 1993 (Hesperia)
“William Richards was wrongly convicted in July 1997 of murdering his wife on August 10, 1993.  He was sentenced to 25 yrs. to life in prison.  Richards' conviction was after he had two trials end in hung juries.  The prosecution's case was largely circumstantial, based on the fact that Richards was the person who found her body after he got off work.  An expert also testified that a ‘bite mark’ on her [hand] was consistent with Richards' bite.  In 2001 the California Innocence Project became involved in his case and in the fall of 2007 DNA testing of skin scrapings of the killer recovered from underneath his wife's fingernails excluded Richards.  Richards filed a state habeas petition for a new trial based on among other things, the DNA evidence and the prosecution's bite mark expert repudiated his trial testimony as mistaken -- since the mark on her hand may not have been a bite.  An evidentiary hearing was held on January 26, 2009.  On August 10, 2009 San Bernardino County Judge Brian McCarville overturned Richards conviction, saying that the new evidence pointed ‘unerringly to innocence.’  Richards was exonerated after 16 years of incarceration, 4 prior to his conviction and 12 afterwards.” – FJDB


Hawaii County, HI Pauline & Schweitzers Dec 24, 1991

While riding her bicycle, 23-year-old Dana Ireland was hit by a car.  Then she was taken to a remote area 5 miles north of the collision site where she was raped and murdered.  Two-and-a half years later an Oahu inmate, Frank Pauline, Jr., came forward with information.  He said that in exchange for the information he wanted the authorities to look kindly on his half-brother who was facing drug charges.

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Cook County, IL Young, Hill, & Williams Oct 14, 1990 (South Side)
Dan Young, Jr. and Harold Hill were convicted of killing Kathy Morgan, 39, whose body was found by firefighters sent to extinguish a blaze.  Peter Williams was also charged but charges were dropped after police learned Williams was in jail at the time of the murder.  Hill who was 16 was first arrested on unrelated charges.  Chicago detectives Kenneth Boudreau and John Halloran obtained a confession from him saying that he, Young, and Williams all took part in the crime.  Young, who has a 56 IQ, was arrested and confessed after he says police beat him.  Williams was the last to be arrested.  He gave the most detailed confession, but he later said he was handcuffed to a radiator for hours and urinated on himself because he was not allowed to use a bathroom.  The conviction and charges against Young and Hill were dropped in 2005 after bite mark trial testimony was discredited and DNA tests failed to implicate the two.  [9/05]


Jefferson Parish, LA Willie Jackson Dec 12, 1986 (Marrero)
Willie Jackson was convicted of rape and robbery after being identified by the victim.  In addition, a forensic odontologist testified at trial that the bite marks on the victim matched Willie.  Just days after Willie's conviction, his brother Milton confessed to the crime.  At least three pieces of evidence implicated Milton, but the victim still identified Willie.  In 2006, Willie was freed after DNA tests showed that Milton was the rapist.  Milton is serving a life sentence for an unrelated 1998 rape.  (IP)  [12/06]


Macomb County, MI Cristini & Moldowan Aug 1990 (Warren)
Michael Cristini and Jeffrey Moldowan were convicted of the kidnapping and rape of Moldowan's ex-girlfriend, Maureen Fournier.  Two other men identified by Fournier were not prosecuted.  Dr. Allan Warnick, a forensic odontologist, testified that bite marks on Fournier's body had come from both defendants.  Both defendants had alibis and Fournier's medical exam indicated neither that she was raped nor did it detect the presence of sperm.  Cristini was sentenced to 44 to 60 years of imprisonment while Moldowan was sentenced to four terms of 60 to 90 years.  Warnick's bite mark testimony was later discredited, leading to retrials in 2003 and 2004, at which both defendants were acquitted. (JD27 p9) (Jim Fisher)  [9/05]


Noxubee County, MS Levon Brooks Sept 15, 1990 (Brooksville)

Levon Brooks was convicted of the rape and murder of his ex-girlfriend's daughter, three-year-old Courtney Smith.  Courtney was abducted at night from her Brooksville home and her body was found in a nearby pond two days later.  Brooks' conviction was based on the the forensic testimony of the medical examiner, Dr. Steven Hayne, and forensic bite-mark testimony given by Dr. Michael West.  West testified that Brooks' two top teeth matched alleged bite marks on Courtney's wrist.  Forensic evidence indicated the alleged marks were made post-mortem, as they were not accompanied by internal bleeding.  Since Courtney's cause of death was drowning, it was unlikely the marks were human bite marks, as the perpetrator would have had to bite Courtney after she drowned.  Dr. Hayne, however, disputed that the marks were post-mortem.

In 2008, Justin Albert Johnson, a local man who was an initial suspect in the murder, confessed to the crime after DNA tests implicated him in the murder of another three-year-old girl.  Another man from the same town named Kennedy Brewer had been convicted of that murder using almost identical testimony that alleged bite marks on the victim matched Brewer's two top teeth.  In his confession, Johnson adamantly denied that he bit either girl.  Along with Brewer, Brooks was subsequently exonerated.  (MIP) (IP)  [9/08]


Noxubee County, MS Kennedy Brewer May 3, 1992 (Brooksville)

Kennedy Brewer was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of three-year-old Christine Jackson, the daughter of his live-in girlfriend.  Christine had been taken from her home in the early morning hours and found dumped in a creek.  An intruder could have entered the home through a broken window.  Brewer was the boyfriend of Gloria Jackson, the victim's mother.  Christine had been sleeping on a makeshift pallet of sofa cushions at the foot of the couple's bed.  In the morning, the couple discovered that Christine was gone.  Two other children were present in the home.

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Osage County, OK Gregory Wilhoit May 31, 1985 (Tulsa)
Gregory Ralph Wilhoit was convicted of murdering his estranged wife, Kathryn, and sentenced to death.  The prosecution presented evidence that the bite mark found on his dead wife came from Wilhoit's teeth and that there was a rare type of bacteria found around the bite mark that traced back to Wilhoit.  The conviction was overturned for attorney incompetency because Wilhoit's counsel had suffered brain damage in an accident a year before trial and was abusing alcohol and prescription drugs.  Wilhoit was released in 1991.  At retrial in 1993, his defense had 11 forensic ondontologists refute the bite mark findings.  They also stated that the “rare” bacteria were quite common.  Wilhoit was acquitted.  (PC)  [7/05]


Fayette County, PA Crystal Weimer Jan 27, 2001 (Connellsville)

Crystal Dawn Weimer was convicted in 2006 of conspiring to murder Curtis Haith.  Haith, 21, was beaten and shot to death outside his Connellsville apartment following a late night party.  Hours before the murder, Weimer and about a dozen or so friends including Haith drank beer at her house in Uniontown.  At 11:30 p.m., one of the partiers drove Haith to Connellsville, 12 miles away.  Weimer tagged along but returned to Uniontown within an hour.  Haith partied at a Connellsville bar until 2:00 a.m., then invited some of the patrons to his nearby apartment. The last patrons left Haith's apartment about 4:30 a.m. Twenty minutes later, a neighbor called police reporting frantic screams from the area of Haith's apartment. Police found Haith beaten to death with a gunshot wound to the face in a lot next to his apartment.

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Milwaukee County, WI Robert Lee Stinson Nov 3, 1984

Robert Lee Stinson was convicted of the murder of a neighbor, 62-year-old Ione Cychosz.  The victim was found beaten and stabbed with eight bite marks on her.  A forensic odontologist, Dr. L. Thomas Johnson, determined that the perpetrator likely had a missing upper front tooth.  Police visited Stinson as part of a neighborhood canvass and he lived in a home adjacent to the yard where Cychosz's body was found.  A detective on the case, James Gauger, recalled, “My partner told him a couple of jokes, and Stinson laughed.”  When they saw a missing tooth, “we knew we had our man.”

At trial, Johnson and another forensic odontologist, Dr. Raymond Rawson, testified that Stinson's teeth matched bite marks found on the victim's body even though Stinson was missing a tooth in a place where the bite marks indicated a tooth.  Johnson testified that the bite marks “had to have been made by teeth identical” to Stinson's and that there was “no margin for error in this.”  Rawson called the bite mark evidence “overwhelming” and said “there was no question there was a match.”  Rawson would later give provably erroneous bite mark testimony against an Arizona murder defendant named Ray Krone.

On appeal in 1986, Stinson argued he was convicted solely on inadmissible bite mark evidence, but the appeals court upheld bite mark evidence in their legal decision, Wisconsin v. Stinson.  According to one expert, the decision was the “crown jewel” of legal opinions that forensic odontologists pointed to as validation of bite mark analysis as an approved science.

In 2005, the Wisconsin Innocence Project accepted Stinson's case and developed two kinds of new evidence.  First, DNA testing of saliva found on the victim's sweater revealed a male profile that excluded Stinson.  Second, the WIP arranged for the bite marks to be re-examined by a panel of four nationally-recognized experts, Dr. Gregory Golden, Dr. David Senn, Dr. Norman Sperber, and Dr. Denise Murmann. Using modern methods, the panel unanimously concluded that Stinson's teeth could not have inflicted the bites.  Due to the new evidence, Stinson's conviction was overturned in 2009 and charges against him were dropped.  Stinson was released after serving more than 23 years in prison.  (Chicago Tribune) (Law Review) (AP News)  [3/10]