State Lab Scandal Could Free 500 Defendants in MA

Oct 7, 2012

A prosecutor says about 300 to 500 defendants may be released into Boston streets because of the alleged mishandling of evidence at a Massachusetts drug lab.

Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley says those numbers include some "pretty dangerous people."

Chemist Annie Dookhan is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly skirting protocols and faking test results at the now-closed state drug lab. At least two dozen defendants whose cases Dookhan handled have been released.

Conley says city officials are "concerned that there may be violence" and have discussed intervening in the lives of those released so they don't re-offend.

Mayor Thomas Menino has called for support from federal officials to ensure those released are monitored so "they're not back out on the streets doing the same thing they did in the past."


Earlier this week, convicted rapist and career criminal Marcus Pixley was released due to the scandal but was back in court Friday after being re-arrested when he didn't show up for a court appearance Wednesday. A judge doubled his bail to $2,000 and set his next court date for Oct. 15.

Pixley is awaiting trial on 2011 drug charges. He has a criminal record dating to 1977, including eight drug convictions and a rape conviction.

His attorney says Pixley is being used as a "poster boy" to frighten the public when the issue is potential injustice.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press