Trial over criminalist's suicide opens with competing pictures of SDPD detective

Case may hinge on what veteran homicide detective knew about possible lab contamination

John Wilkens 
February 3, 2020
San Diego Union-Tribune

What did the detective know, and when did he know it?

That question emerged Monday as a key issue in a wrongful death trial involving the San Diego Police Department and a retired criminalist who committed suicide in October 2014 while under investigation in the murder 30 years earlier of a teenage girl.

The criminalist, Kevin Brown, 62, was linked to the killing of 14-year-old Claire Hough by a DNA test in 2012 that found a small amount of his sperm on a vaginal swab collected during her autopsy in 1984. His widow’s lawsuit in federal court alleges that police triggered his suicide by recklessly ignoring a more “common sense” explanation for the DNA: inadvertent contamination in the crime lab, where Brown worked at the time the murder evidence was processed.
In his opening statement Monday, Eugene Iredale, who represents the widow, Rebecca Brown, said lead detective Michael Lambert disregarded comments he received from other lab employees and misled a judge while obtaining a warrant to search the Browns’ Chula Vista home in early 2014.

Read the complete article in the San Diego Union Tribune...