Hundreds Of Cases Possibly Tainted In Braintree Police Evidence Scandal

BRAINTREE (CBS) – Hundreds of drug and weapons cases in Braintree could be compromised as a result of mishandled evidence.

Thousands of cases are now being reviewed after police found two missing guns at the home of a police officer who died earlier this year.

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey says he was awaiting a final audit of the evidence room at the Braintree Police Department to learn how widespread the missing evidence scandal is. He says they have begun looking through about 3,000 cases dating back to 2013.

The audit, which was released late Wednesday, was triggered by the discovery of two missing weapons at the home of Officer Susan Zopatti, who’d been in charge of the evidence room. She committed suicide in May.

“This audit makes clear, that there were significant administrative errors in the handling and the storage of evidence by the department,” Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan said. “New protocols and procedures on the handling and storage of evidence have already been established.”

Morrissey said it’s possible some defendants who’ve already been sentenced could have their convictions overturned. Others could see charges dismissed.

His office has already dropped drug charges against five defendants this week.

One of the cases impacted was that of Stephen O’Brien, the Braintree man who allegedly tried to kidnap an infant from a store in August. On Wednesday, a judge dismissed his unrelated drug case.

Mayor Sullivan said all but 12 firearms identified as missing in the audit have been accounted for. Sullivan also says the department has located “a substantial amount of seized money and narcotics evidence.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

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