Even more disturbing, reported Grissom, "After Cook's lawyers requested additional DNA testing on evidence in the case, they discovered some evidence had been destroyed and the storage of other evidence had presented questions regarding its chain of custody." In an apparent act of gamesmanship:
in December 2001, Smith County prosecutors destroyed much of the key physical evidence in the murder case without notifying Cook’s lawyers. Among the items destroyed were Edwards’ bra, panties and jeans, a hair found on her buttocks and all the latent fingerprints found at the scene. The destruction came just months after lawmakers passed the 2001 law that allowed for post-conviction DNA testing and required prosecutors to notify defendants before destroying evidence that might contain biological material.These sorts of hide-the-ball tactics have characterized this case from the beginning, to the point that the Court of Criminal Appeals once opined that "Prosecutorial and police misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset," as Texas Monthly's Michael Hall reported last year. Read Brandi's full story for more examples of shameful misrepresentations by Smith County prosecutors, none of whom, it should be mentioned, have ever been held accountable for their actions by the state bar.
See prior, related Grits posts: