FBI agent's tainted testimony denied fair trial to man convicted of rape, judge rules
December 14, 2001                                                                             PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)

A man convicted of raping a woman at knifepoint in 1988 was denied a fair trial
because an FBI scientist misrepresented forensic evidence, a Superior Court judge ruled. Ruling Thursday, Judge
Stephen J. Fortunato Jr. called the FBI agent a "rogue" and granted the release of Carlton Bleau, 63. Bleau was
sentenced to 55 years in prison and has spent 91/2 years behind bars. A state Supreme Court justice agreed to
keep Bleau in prison overnight, The Providence Journal reported. Prosecutors, who believe Bleau is a flight risk,
planned to go back to Fortunato Friday to ask him to stay his release order while they appeal to the state
Supreme Court, said Jim Martin, spokesman for Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse. Bleau was convicted in the
1988 rape of a woman who had left a Central Falls bar with a man she had offered a ride. She was found later by
police in nearby Lincoln, wandering on a below-freezing night with her jeans and underwear torn, her face swollen
and her lip cut. Police found her car in a nearby industrial park with its tires slashed. In court Thursday,
Fortunato said an FBI scientist was "some sort of renegade or a rogue and did not follow appropriate forensic
procedures," in examining evidence used to convict Bleau. The agent, Michael Malone, testified in 1993 that hair
found in the victim's car had the same microscopic characteristics of hair samples taken from Bleau. He also
testified that fibers found on Bleau's knife appeared to come from the victim's clothing. In 1997, the FBI
investigated its laboratories and found that 13 of its scientists, including Malone, engaged in sloppy work. The
investigation found Malone lied in a 1985 case and that he misrepresented evidence in Bleau's trial. An
independent scientist hired by the FBI said he could not document Malone's hair studies in Bleau's case. Malone
no longer works at the FBI, The Journal reported. Prosecutor Stephen Regine argued that Bleau's conviction
should stand because the agent's testimony was not crucial to a case that included testimony from the victim
and eyewitnesses who saw Bleau enter her car. Fortunato said if jurors had known that Malone was
misrepresenting evidence, they may have found Bleau innocent.

Back                                                          Home