BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SALEM — The state police lieutenant in charge of crime scene analysis for the state crime lab has been removed from his post after officials learned that he was moonlighting as a consultant for the defense in a Beverly case, The Salem News has learned.
State police Detective Lt. Kenneth Martin, a highly regarded forensics expert who until last Wednesday was the commander of the state police Crime Scene Services unit, examined and photographed the clothing of a defendant awaiting trial in a Beverly assault case, according to prosecutors.
But he did that work not in his role for the state but as a consultant for the defense in the case of Brendan Eppley.
State police spokesman David Procopio said Martin had previously been approved for outside employment only in a teaching capacity.
“It came to our attention last week that he was involved in a Beverly police case and that he had communicated with the defense bar,” Procopio said.
At this point, officials are not aware of any other cases in which Martin may have worked as a defense consultant, but Procopio said the investigation is ongoing.
“Obviously, we’ll look at exactly what he was doing and where,” Procopio said.
Procopio said Martin has been transferred to a job in field services.
Eppley, 22, of Darien, Conn., is scheduled to stand trial today in Salem District Court on charges of mayhem (intentional disfigurement) and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, after he allegedly struck another partygoer in the face with a bottle, cutting open his lower cheek, as police were trying to break up an off-campus party involving Endicott College students in December 2011. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer says police have charged the wrong person.
Prosecutors in District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office tried yesterday to delay the trial so they could further review Martin’s role in the defense’s case and, potentially, call Martin as a witness for the prosecution, according to a motion filed in court.
Prosecutor Michelle DeCourcey, who recently took over the case from a prosecutor who left the office, argued that her office made the connection between Martin and the state crime lab only after she turned to the state police for help in interpreting the defense report. A trooper reviewing the report recognized Martin’s name.
The consultant expected to be called to testify for the defense is a man named Michael Maloney, a partner in Bevel, Gardner and Associates, an Oklahoma firm.
Martin has also worked as an associate for Bevel, Gardner. According to a partner in the firm, Elizabeth Bevel, Martin has been associated with the firm for “a couple of years.”
Eppley’s lawyer, Hugh Curran, argued yesterday that Martin played a limited role in analyzing evidence in the case, as a favor to Maloney.
Martin’s name also appeared in the report, which had been turned over to prosecutors last fall as part of routine discovery. But no one among the relatively young staff in the District Court prosecutor’s office recognized the name.
Then, according to DeCourcey’s motion, a state police captain contacted her last Tuesday and told her that Martin was the commander of the crime scene unit.
“Our office has received information that Detective Lt. Martin has been removed from his command on March 27, 2013,” DeCourcey wrote.
“The district attorney’s office has further received information that Detective Lt. Martin’s dual role is under investigation by the Massachusetts State Police.”
Procopio yesterday confirmed the accuracy of those statements.
DeCourcey went on to argue in the motion that Martin, in working for the defense, may have provided “crucial information” for the report, and that she would like an opportunity to investigate further and potentially call him as a witness.
Martin, however, is not available to testify; DeCourcey told Judge Robert Brennan that Martin is currently in Aruba.
Curran said he had no plans to call Martin himself, instead relying on the testimony of another forensic analyst.
Beverly police and the district attorney did not request their own crime scene analysis at the time of the incident.
Brennan expressed surprise that none of the prosecutors at Salem District Court recognized the name of Martin, who has testified in many high-profile cases over the years, including that of Dr. Dirk Greineder, the Wellesley man convicted of killing his wife in 1999.
Brennan, a former assistant district attorney who had worked with Martin on cases, described him as “the best of the best at the time.”
Brennan denied the prosecution’s request for a delay, citing four prior continuances in the trial date, some at the request of the defense and some made jointly.
Efforts to contact Martin yesterday were unsuccessful.
Martin is believed to have earned more than $160,000 in salary and overtime in his state police job last year.
Curran, the attorney for Eppley, suggested that Martin initially believed he was being hired on a civil case.
Elizabeth Bevel said yesterday in a brief interview that Martin “has turned down many cases” because of his role as a state trooper.
“He’s been very careful to pick and choose. That’s why a partner has the case,” Bevel said.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.