The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist
A True Story of Injustice in the American South
Narrated by Robert Fass / 14 hours 45 minutes
“What does a small-town dentist, an unqualified medical examiner and the Mississippi criminal justice system have in common? They’re a part of a good ole boy network obsessed with mass incarceration and the death penalty, rampant racism and corrupt court judges consumed with closing cases at any cost. Not to mention the wrongly convicted men paying the price for other perpetrators crimes, many of them still sitting on death row today. “The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist,” by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington is a horrifying haunt through a legal system run by unqualified, unconscionable men intent to impart their will on an unwitting society too overwhelmed by titles, accreditations and pseudo-scientific facts to question their motives. Thank goodness Balko and Carrington had the courage to expose these corrupt individuals and hopefully, this book will open a door to investigations in other criminal justice courts across the country.”Kristin, McLean & Eakin Booksellers
A shocking and deeply reported account of the persistent plague of institutional racism and junk forensic science in our criminal justice system, and its devastating effect on innocent lives
After two three-year-old girls were raped and murdered in rural Mississippi, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together they spent a combined thirty years in prison before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free.
The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist recounts the story of how the criminal justice system allowed this to happen, and of how two men, Dr. Steven Hayne and Dr. Michael West, built successful careers on the back of that structure. For nearly two decades, Hayne, a medical examiner, performed the vast majority of Mississippi's autopsies, while his friend Dr. West, a local dentist, pitched himself as a forensic jack-of-all-trades. Together they became the go-to experts for prosecutors and helped put countless Mississippians in prison. But then some of those convictions began to fall apart.
Here, Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington tell the haunting story of how the courts and Mississippi's death investigation system--a relic of the Jim Crow era--failed to deliver justice for its citizens. The authors argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, raising sobering questions about our ability and willingness to address these crucial issues.