Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Inmate Denied Retrial despite FBI Lab Failings

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Inmate Denied Retrial despite FBI Lab Failings

Article excerpt

BARTOW -- A chemist on Death Row for poisoning a neighbor has been denied a new trial, but the judge criticized the FBI's laboratory for misconduct and said he's uncomfortable with his ruling.

Senior Circuit Judge E. Randolph Bentley said the law requires the conclusion that a new trial is not warranted in the case of George Trepal. The judge urged the Florida Supreme Court to review the law.

At issue is whether Trepal should get a new trial because an FBI agent who testified against him has been reprimanded for shoddy lab work.

Trepal's case is one of more than 3,000 nationwide that are being reviewed because of misconduct in the FBI's labs.

Trepal, 51, was convicted in 1991 in the death of his neighbor, Peggy Carr, who drank a Coca-Cola laced with the chemical thallium. Carr's two sons became ill from similarly poisoned soda, but survived.

Trepal, who masterminded murder mysteries for the genius group Mensa, spiked his neighbors' drinks with the rare metal after a dispute over their loud music, prosecutors contend. …

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