SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Region

October 19, 2013

Stiff sentence sought for Mass. chemist

BOSTON — Prosecutors urged a judge yesterday to sentence a Massachusetts chemist to up to seven years in prison if she pleads guilty in a drug-testing lab scandal that jeopardized thousands of criminal convictions and cost the state millions.

Annie Dookhan, 35, of Franklin, faces a long list of criminal charges, including tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and perjury for allegedly faking test results at a now-closed state lab.

Dookhan’s lawyer, Nicolas Gordon, pleaded for leniency, saying Dookhan’s only motivation was to be “the hardest-working and most prolific and most productive chemist.” Gordon said “this whole mess” began when Dookhan, failed to follow certain lab procedures in trying to test more samples.

When she got caught, she panicked and tried to cover her tracks, Gordon said.

He said she never thought her actions would send the state’s criminal justice system into a “tailspin,” with more than 1,100 criminal drug cases dismissed or not prosecuted because of evidence tainted by Dookhan’s alleged actions and other fallout from the closure of the lab.

“This is not a woman who ever set out to hurt anyone,” Gordon said.

Dookhan, who has shown no visible emotion during previous court hearings, cried when her lawyer described her love for her 7-year-old son while asking for leniency.

Gordon said Dookhan is terrified of going to jail and leaving her son, who has some health issues.

“Her son is her life,” Gordon said.

Gordon said Dookhan has already been punished personally and professionally. He said her husband left her a month ago and is now living with another woman. Her career is over, he said.

“This woman’s life is destroyed,” he said.

But Assistant Attorney General Anne Kaczmarek called Dookhan’s motives “selfish” and said her actions have “weakened the criminal justice system.” She urged the judge to sentence Dookhan to five to seven years in state prison.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

Local News
  • City gets four bids for McKay School BEVERLY -- In the latest round of bids for the McKay School property, the city will consider four new proposals it received last week. The most recent proposals mark the fourth time the city has reviewed bids on the property and the second effort for

    August 20, 2014

  • Police to put down their pens, write electronic tickets BOSTON -- State troopers will soon toss handwritten tickets in favor of electronic citations to save money and time, and local police across the state could eventually follow suit. State police using the system will swipe or scan a driver's license t

    August 20, 2014

  • 140819_SN_DLE_VAPOR2 No 'butts' about it: Vapor stores pop up despite e-cig concerns Michael Greene sells e-cigarettes because they saved his life. And if they were available in the United States 17 years ago, they might have also spared his father, who smoked four packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years. "If you put too many regulati

    August 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • 140819_SN_DLE_MURPHY4 109 days, 2 new lungs later, Essex Deputy Sheriff Murphy comes home

    Dozens of friends and family members lined up on Balcomb Street Tuesday evening to greet Newton Murphy as he arrived home from his double lung transplant. Murphy, the Essex County deputy sheriff, had been in the hospital for 109 days after his surge

    August 20, 2014 8 Photos

  • Sex offender Matthew Delima, who fled with teen, gets 2-10 years

    SALEM -- A judge Tuesday returned a homeless Level 3 sex offender to state prison for two to 10 years, but he said that after reading police reports and other records in the case, he would have imposed even more time. The reason Judge Timothy Feeley

    August 20, 2014 3 Stories