Fallout Continues in the Case of Dr. Gill


March 13, 2011

Repercussions in the controversial career of Dr. Thomas Gill continue to surface. The story of the 67-year-old forensic pathologist, until recently employed by a private autopsy firm in Northern California, was featured in the Feb. 1 FRONTLINE broadcast Post Mortem.

The joint investigation, with NPR, ProPublica, California Watch, and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, revealed that Gill had botched scores of autopsies (in some years performing hundreds more than national guidelines recommend); misdiagnosed the cause of death in a high-profile murder case and been coached by prosecutors to cover his tracks; and fired several times under a cloud of incompetency. Yet over two decades, Gill was hired again across several states, despite growing reports about his mistakes.

Gill’s trail of errors and the failures of the system to bring him to account are outlined in disturbing detail in Ryan Gabrielson’s original report.

The fallout continues in Northern California, where the pathologist was last hired by the Forensic Medical Group, a private autopsy firm serving multiple counties across the region. Since 2007, police and prosecutors in Solano and nearby Yolo counties have been reviewing dozens of homicide cases involving Gill’s work. The Solano District Attorney’s Office keeps these records, and is supposed to turn over information to defense attorneys in any case where Gill performed the autopsy.

But as Gabrielson reports, information is not always being shared and could lead to a fresh trial in at least one recent murder conviction, “based in large part on the prosecutor’s failure to disclose information about Gill,” Gabrielson writes.

Read the full story on California Watch.

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