SBI Lab Backups Delaying Cases
By Michael Abernethy
When 41-year-old Michael David Holland was killed Dec. 24 while crossing East Harden Street in Graham, investigators took a blood sample for toxicology testing from the driver accused of killing him.
The sample was sent to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab with an attached order to expedite testing. Results of that testing will determine whether Nelson Keith Stanford, 47, of Mebane, will face felony charges in Holland’s death. Stanford stands accused of driving while impaired and could face charges up to second-degree murder if alcohol or drugs are found in his system.
As of Thursday — despite the rush-order — the SBI lab hadn’t analyzed the blood sample.
Hundreds of local cases — and thousands of cases statewide — are delayed by staff shortages and a backlog of evidence at the SBI labs. It’s not just DWI cases. Murder cases, rape and sexual assault cases and drug cases are all dependent on testing done by analysts with the SBI.