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According to the toxicology report, which we got a copy of in September of 2003, Marion died from multiple drugs in her system. First, there was a "morphine derivative drug". It was phrased this way because the test used is not able to discriminate between morphine, heroin, or even codeine . Any opiate drug will produce a positive response in this test. Secondly, there was a very high level of dextromethorphan (DXM), a common cough suppressant used since codeine was taken out of OTC cough syrups. To get the claimed blood level would require drinking five or six bottles of cough syrup, or more. No empty cough syrup bottles were found in my studio or Marion's apartment. The police never at any time attempted to find the source of this DXM or account in any way for its presence. Third, there was a moderately high level of cocaine, which was explained by the young man who admitted to being Marion's drug supplier. He said they added it to the pot he got for her when they were rolling blunts. He called this combination "woo". Last was a very high level of diazepam (Valium). The police claimed that I had given Marion my Valium to account for this . But my prescription, which I had picked up that day, was for 30 tablets, 5 mg each, for a total of 150 mg of Valium. Toxicologists testified that even if Marion had taken my entire prescription it would not have created the blood level shown in the tests, and the high levels of diazepam metabolites in her blood indicated that she had been taking high doses daily for some time. Those could not, and did not, come from me. So far as I can determine the police did not make any effort to find the source of all this Valium. They simply arrested me without doi ng any real detective work at all to account for the DXM and Valium in Marion's blood.

As soon as I saw the toxicology report I knew something was wrong. I immediately began pressing for independent lab tests. My lawyer asked the Commonwealth Attorney both verbally and in writing to arrange to send samples to an independent lab that I would retain for further testing.

Although the Medical Examiner took a full array of fluid and tissue samples during the autopsy, only the heart blood and vitreous humor were tested. Toxicologists testified that this gave only a partial picture of what was in Marion's system at the time of death. For example, testing of liver and urine would enable us to know how long the drugs were in her system, testing of stomach contents would allow us to determine if she took the drugs orally, etc. On top of that, there is the simple fact that labs, even the best of them, do make mistakes. For examplee, the case of Cynthia Sommer in California, who was convicted of murder and given a life sentence for poisoning her husband with arsenic. In her case, the lab tests that convicted her were done by the respected NCIS . Luckily for her, samples were frozen and saved so that National Medical Services (the same lab I had hired to do my independent testing after Judge Giesler ruled that I had the absolute right to have the samples retested) could do proper additional testing. The first tests from NCIS had shown high levels of arsenic in her dead husband's body, and she was convicted of murder based on those tests. When National Medical Services tested samples they found no arsenic at all. If such a respected group as NCIS could completely botch relatively simple tests, it is foolish to insist that tests done in Roanoke, VA, by a regional lab could not be wrong. Cynthia Sommer was released after having two years of her life stolen, and I hope she sues and collects a large settlement from the people in California who wrongly prosecuted her. I only hope that I can prevail.

Dr. Massello said in his testimony that it was standard practice in his lab for human biological evidence to be destroyed in about a year. However, when asked exactly when the samples from Marion's body were destroyed, he was unable to answer because he said no records were kept. I find that astonishing. There is a Virginia statute specifically on the preservation of human biological evidence, and it guarantees me the right to have all samples preserved for up to fifteen years if I make a motion to do so after conviction. Obviously the writers of that statute expected the samples to be preserved until that time with no action on my part. What do they do if I file such a motion now? Where is my right to have evidence preserved? How can they convict someone orr evidence that no longer exists? Since Marion was cremated, there is no route to obtain another set of samples for testing. That door is permanently closed.

When the police searched Marion's apartment on the night she died they found and photographed six prescription bottles in the kitchen where she normally kept them on a small shelf with the spices, and two which they apparently knocked on the floor (they were not on the floor when I went by the apartment in mid afternoon to pick some things up for her). Eight bottles in total. Yet, when they logged them into the police property room nine days later there were only six bottles. These six bottles were destroyed without any testing of the contents, in spite of the fact that one bottle had three different kinds of pills in it. State law requires notification of the court, prosecutor, and my attorney prior to such destruction, but no one was notified. There is a signed record attesting to this destruction, which makes the lack of any record for the destruction of the autopsy samples even more suspicious.

When asked what had happened to the two missing bottles, the detective said he probably didn't take them because they were duplicates. What kind of sense does that make? If this had been a gunshot death and they found eight guns in the apartment, would they have only taken six because two appeared to be duplicates? Would they then have destroyed those six guns without testing to see if any had been fired, or if there was a ballistic match? Like so much in this case, this just doesn't make any sense. And now we will never know with certainty what was in those bottles. The police photos are of such poor quality (taken with a low resolution digital camera at a high ISO setting), that even with the best photo enhancement software (which I have), none of the labels could be read. I know because she showed it to me that Marion had a prescription for diazepam that she went to North Carolina periodically to refill. But I didn't note which pharmacy in which town it came from, so tracking it down would be a sort of a needle in a haystack.

We know from his testimony that Marion's drug supplier was a young man named Rob. He admitted to supplying her with marijuana, cocaine, and pills of various sorts. He testified that she told him she was using heroin as well. We know that Rob's source was a person he identified to the police. But the police never charged Rob with anything, nor did they make any effort at all to track down the man he said was his supplier. Instead of focusing on the admitted drug supplier and his source they went after me. That simply does not make any sense.