People & Places

Best Alibi 

Bob McCulloch

During his fifteen years as St. Louis County's chief prosecuting attorney, Robert P. McCulloch has reduced an untold number of alibi defenses to the doodly-squat they deserve. So it's particularly delicious when the region's top law officer is forced to offer up a "wasn't me" of his own. That's just what McCulloch did this past July when his office released Johnny Briscoe after he'd served 23 years for a rape he didn't commit. Sure, McCulloch wasn't the one who originally prosecuted Briscoe. But court records show that Briscoe's attorney twice asked for DNA testing, in 2001 and 2002. Why, then, did it take so long for investigators to finally test the DNA on the cigarette butts that eventually freed Briscoe? McCulloch said his office was told the evidence had been destroyed. Then he took a cue from the defense attorneys he squares off against in court and deflected the blame to another party — the crime lab — which found the cigarette butts when inventorying its freezers. Quoth McCulloch: "It is just inexcusable!"

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