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The Microbiologist Mystery gets weirder and weirder

Consider, if you will, the case of former Shelby County Tennessee medical examiner O.C. Smith. On June 2, 2002, in a case similar in style to the pizza bomb case, he was found wrapped in barbed wire, with a motion-sensitive bomb attached to his chest, and sprayed with a lye solution.

He had received death threats in the past, but federal agents say he did it himself. His trial began Tuesday:

...Psychiatrist Park Dietz, who has worked on the cases of Jeffrey Dahmer, the D.C.-area snipers and "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, is expected to testify that Smith's behavior characterized "factitious victimization disorder," a term Dietz coined for the case.

Sufferers of factitious disorder fake illness to gain attention and sympathy...

[...previous threats against Smith were sent and a previous bomb were found...]

Not only has Dietz never examined Smith, but the psychiatrist's false testimony caused the Texas Supreme Court to overturn the conviction of child killer Andrea Yates in January.

During Yates' 2002 trial, Dietz said that Yates drowned her five children after seeing a similar crime on the television show "Law and Order." However, no such episode existed...

Now, here's where it gets even weirder:

Dr. Smith had been working on two high-profile cases: the death of Harvard University microbiologist Don Wiley, who supposedly fell from a Memphis bridge in December, 2001, and helped identify the body of Katherine SMITH, a state driver's license examiner who was found burned beyond recognition in February 2002, a day before a hearing on federal charges of helping five Middle Eastern men obtain fake driver's licenses. Dr. Smith reportedly received a series of death threat letters early in 2001.

There's more on the series of events that would have had to have happened for Smith's explanation of Wiley's death to have taken place here, and there are references to news reports about these cases here. Previous coverage of the mysterious deaths of microbiologists and other scientists starts here.

Miscellania · Thu, 02/10/2005 - 11:16 · Importance: 1