The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South

Author and journalist Radley Balko joins forces with Tucker Carrington, director of the University of Mississippi School of Law Innocence Project, to tell a heartbreaking story of two innocent men wrongly convicted of rape and murder. Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks were both condemned by the Mississippi court system, both victims of institutional racism and both found guilty largely on the testimonies of Drs. Steven Hayne and Michael West.

Dr. Steven Hayne is a forensic pathologist who for nearly 20 years performed the majority of Mississippi's autopsies. During the peak year of his tenure, he examined 1,857 bodies. His friend, dentist Michael West, claimed to be a bite mark specialist. Both men profited by providing desired results--regardless of how inaccurate--to those who employed them. A former county coroner explained that West "would always say what he said according to who paid him the most to say it." Their love of money resulted in the wrongful convictions of people like Brewer and Brooks.

Balko and Carrington's meticulous research intensifies the horror of The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist. The historical background they map out illustrates the breadth and depth of racism's death grip on Mississippi's criminal justice system, emphasizing how greed works to strengthen that stranglehold. Additionally, their explanation for how loopholes allow junk science, like bite mark identification, to gain informal acceptance is startling. The Cadaver King and Country Dentist is compelling, disturbing--what horror stories are made of--and it's long overdue. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Powered by: Xtenit