PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Attorneys for two men behind bars for separate murder convictions are asking the Maine Supreme Court to grant them new trials. They say defense attorneys were not allowed to cross-examine Maine's chief medical examiner about his termination from the same job in another state.
Keith Coleman is serving a life sentence for the December 2014 strangulation death of Christina Sargent and her two young children. Abdirahman Huessin Haji-Hassan received a 39-year sentence for the shooting death of Richard Lobor in November 2014.
Dr. Mark Flomenbaum, who conducted autopsies on two of the victims, was fired as chief medical examiner in Massachusetts after his office misplaced a body of a man who was later found in another man's grave. Defense attorneys say they were barred from cross-examining him about the termination at both of the trials.
"His discharge from that position was not relevant in any way to the competencies he offered as a forensic pathologist," said Asst. Attorney General Lara Nomani.
NEWS CENTER reached out to Flomenbaum for a comment, but his office says he does not have a comment at this time.
"To have an office you are in charge of lose a body," said Maine Supreme Court Justice Donald Alexander, "that suggests a degree of carelessness that should be allowed inquiry by defense counsel."
Justices have no timeframe under which they will issue a decision in the case.