The Timothy McEnany Case – More Holes in the “Evidence”

police2There are more holes in the “evidence” in the Timothy McEnany case (who was arrested and wrongfully convicted of the Katherine Bishop murder) than anything imaginable. And in this week’s post, we’ll review some more of these implausible details, which I believe should have had any half-baked jury scratching their heads, and shouting, “REASONABLE DOUBT!”

 

Fiber Analysis

Let’s start with the fiber analysis.

According to Lee Ann Grayson, an employee of the State Police Crime Lam, one fiber was found on each of two tape lifters from the neck/face and shirt/pants of the victim, which was alleged to be similar to the polyester fibers of McEnany’s t-shirt.

These fibers were not, however, examined under a florescent microscope, nor were them subjected to a melting point test.

Grayson found and examined one fiber under each nail that was black in colour, but did not match McEnany’s shirt. And no fibers matching any of McEnany’s clothing were found anywhere else at the crime scene.

Even if the fibers found to be similar to McEnany’s shirt were found to match conclusively (which again, we point out was not the case) this would be innocuous, insofar as these fibers could have easily been transfered/shed while Tim was working in the house prior to the crime.

Blood Spatter and Boot Print

Trooper Shannon found three blood spots on the kitchen floor, three feet inside the kitchen door that had broken glass. Shannon conducted a presumptive test only, and consumed the samples in the test, which demonstrated only that it was not Mrs. Bishop’s blood. Therefore, the reasonable assumption would be made that the perpetrator was cut upon breaking and entering.

Bishop’s daughter, Janet Seitz, testified that she had scrubbed her mother’s kitchen floors the morning (before) the murder, therefore there was no reason to believe these spots came from anything other than the crime.

McEnany was not found to have any lacerations on his body.

A blood transfer pattern, consistent with a shoe or boot impression, was observed at the autopsy. This boot imprint did not match McEnany’s (nor his alleged co-conspirator). No attempt was made to find a match with anyone else.

Evidence Handling

There were some significant issues, according to eyewitnesses, in the handling of so-called evidence in this case as well.

Tammy Weist, a neighbour of MeEnany’s reported that three or four officers carried big brown envelopes and/or bags from Tim’s home. These officers were observed placing the bags into the trunks of 3 or 4 unmarked (presumably) police cars and “messing with the bags/envelopes for some time” before transferring them to the trunk of the last vehicle. What was going on in that time?

Trooper Lotwick later became the Dauphin County Sheriff, and was (unbelievably) charged with the responsibility for sequestering the jury during McEnenay’s trial. Lotwick was observed personally transporting jury members back to their hotel, after each day’s court session. Why was someone with personal knowledge and involvement in the investigation permitted access to the jury? Why wasn’t this irregularity raised as an objection and brought to the court’s attention during the trial?

Similarly, Corporal Mull was observed by several witnesses on the same floor as the jury during deliberations, while having no legitimate reason for being on that floor. Again, why was this not brought up in court?

Eyewitness Testimony

And the final issue we’ll bring up during this segment involves the eyewitness testimony surrounding the crime, which the reader will immediate note is very troubling.

  • Dawn Schaffer, who lived across the street from the victim, was out walking her dog between 10 PM and 10:30 PM on the night of the murder (March 3). She reported hearing the sound of breaking glass coming from the direction of Bishop’s house, and approximately 1.5 to 2 minutes later, heard someone running down the road.
  • Ms. Shaffer described this person as running very fast with their longer hair “flowing behind them”, wearing a knee or thigh length coat.
  • Although Bishop’s grandson had long hair, and may have possessed such a coat, the police never questioned or considered him, nor did they investigate whether the boot print, DNA or clothing matched the crime scene or eyewitness reports, even though this appeared to be a crime of passion, and standard police procedure should have been to question and consider those closest to the victim as possible suspects first.
  • It should be noted that McEnany never had long hair at the time, and as you read, the police claimed he was wearing a short company/logo emblazoned jacket (remember, the one they planted paint chips in the pockets of?).

Something is Foul!

In the era of such police brutality and corruption as we’ve seen in Ferguson, Missouri; New York City, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, California, it likely doesn’t strike many of our readers as surprising that the Pennsylvania State Police could be so inept, and likely corrupt, as to frame an innocent man, in order to protect the “respected family interests” of the more obvious killer. But this was twenty years ago, and so we have to remember that many of the curiosities we’ll discuss next week, had not yet occurred.

But anyone who’s even paying half-attention right now cannot help but be disgusted and appalled by the obvious miscarriage of justice that Mr. McEnany encountered, as Mrs. Bishop’s real killer has remained free for more than two decades.

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About Fr. Francis-Maria Salvato, OFM

Fr. Francis-Maria Salvato is a Franciscan priest and retired archbishop of the North American Old Catholic Communion. A former canon lawyer, he has dedicated his spare time to the research and furtherance of the efforts to free those unjustly convicted for crimes they did not commit.
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