The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist
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 chronicles how the courts and Mississippi's death investigation system--a relic of the Jim Crow era--failed to deliver justice for its citizens and recounts the horrifying story of the two men who built successful careers on the back of this system. For nearly two decades, medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne performed the vast majority of Mississippi's autopsies, while his friend Dr. Michael 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. Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, and raise sobering questions about our criminal justice system's ability to address them.

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist Details

TitleThe Cadaver King and the Country Dentist
Author
ReleaseFeb 27th, 2018
PublisherPublicAffairs
ISBN-139781610396912
Rating
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction, History, Mystery

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist Review

  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. - James Baldwin, No name in the StreetThis is a very sobering book about how racism, bad forensics, institutionalization and a faulty criminal justice system in Mississippi put hundreds of innocent people behind bars. Two three-year-old girls were taken from their homes, sexually assaulted and murdered in rural Mississippi. Of course, this was an outrage, but what is also a crime is that It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. - James Baldwin, No name in the StreetThis is a very sobering book about how racism, bad forensics, institutionalization and a faulty criminal justice system in Mississippi put hundreds of innocent people behind bars. Two three-year-old girls were taken from their homes, sexually assaulted and murdered in rural Mississippi. Of course, this was an outrage, but what is also a crime is that law enforcement officials at the time pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together these two men served a combined thirty years in prison. Thirty years that they will not get back. Thirty years that they were robbed of while the real killer went free. Also, two children died horrifically. Where is the justice when the wrong people are convicted and placed in jail? The Jim Crow south was alive and well in Mississippi. This book chronicles how two men made a living off this corrupt system. Dr. Steven Hayne performed autopsy after autopsy - more than any other coroner. He often bragged that he never took a vacation let alone a day off...but how can one take a day off when you are so busy with "coroner obstruction." How his friend, local dentist, Dr. Michael West became a forensic expert especially when it came to human bite analysis. Their works was rushed, often unprofessional and not keeping with forensic standards. Using evidence form embalmed bodies, citing wrong causes of death, etc. It was appalling to see how unprofessional they were and, yet they were used the most by prosecutors. It is evident that a tremendous amount of research went into the writing of this book. I was shocked to see the dates of many occurrences of such breeches of not only common decency but professionalism in the criminal justice system. How state senator Robert Crook, one of Mississippi's most powerful lawmakers once said "We just cut her tits off. She wont be coming here trying to tell us what to do anymore." in regards to Faye Spruill, a female medical examiner. Dr. Spruill was the first woman in the country to be named an official state medical examiner. The good ole boys in Mississippi did not like a fiery woman telling them how to do the job. Racism, ignorance, bad forensics, crooked officials, and inept doctors and lawyers are at fault. How are these issues addressed? How do you fix a system that is so badly broken? How do you give back time that has been stolen from someone's life? How do you explain to a family who lost their child that the real killer got to walk free for so many years without facing justice?Thank you to Perseus Books, Public Affairs and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher - 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 chronicles how the courts and Mi I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher - 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 chronicles how the courts and Mississippi's death investigation system--a relic of the Jim Crow era--failed to deliver justice for its citizens and recounts the horrifying story of the two men who built successful careers on the back of this system. For nearly two decades, medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne performed the vast majority of Mississippi's autopsies, while his friend Dr. Michael 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. Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, and raise sobering questions about our criminal justice system's ability to address them.This book made me so freaking angry --- my blood just boiled at times. These men sent down my total incompetent "experts" will never get their lives back, or make up for lost time ... yet this happened time and time again. I am sure false convictions have sent thousands to jail/death row/execution and that more will happen. This is a tragedy and a travesty ... and I so enjoyed this book that I have already decided to buy a hard copy for my law-junkie husband. Five amazing stars.
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    Review coming soon....
  • Kyle
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The stories in this book would be rejected for a procedural crime show for being too absurd and over the top. Yet, these stories happened, and lives were ruined by incompetence, ignorance, and hatred. It is heart wrenching to know how long these two individuals were allowed to practice their shoddy methods, making a mockery of the criminal justice system in Mississippi. The authors do an excellent job researching the I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The stories in this book would be rejected for a procedural crime show for being too absurd and over the top. Yet, these stories happened, and lives were ruined by incompetence, ignorance, and hatred. It is heart wrenching to know how long these two individuals were allowed to practice their shoddy methods, making a mockery of the criminal justice system in Mississippi. The authors do an excellent job researching the topic, and certainly do justice to the numerous victims of these men. Of course, it is not just these two men at fault here. There is blatant racism, poor oversight, a flawed judicial system, greed, apathy, intentional ignorance, and corruption adding to the mistreatment of suspects in Mississippi. This book is more compelling because it is the reality faced by individuals in Mississippi for decades. How this occurred for this long, unchecked and unrepentant is baffling.
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  • Janday
    January 1, 1970
    Balko and Carrington's comprehensive expose of the racist system that allows for the tragic exploitation and incarceration of black people in Mississippi. They reveal that the root of police misconduct lies in corrupt political maneuvering and the justice system's reliance on "expert" testimony--the intersection of "junk" science and our legal system. This is a wake-up call to anyone who thinks police militarization and brutality isn't a "political" issue.
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