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MS to hire 1st medical examiner in 15 years

JACKSON – Mississippi is expected to hire its first medical examiner in 15 years by Nov. 1, and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson said he’s hopeful at least two other associate pathologists will soon be on board to help handle the state’s autopsy cases.

“We have one doctor who has an engagement letter to come here Nov. 1. I’m interviewing another doctor this week in Houston (Texas), and a third has expressed an interest in coming here,” Simpson said Tuesday.

Mississippi’s contract with a Tennessee-based company that had been performing autopsies for the state ends Friday. Simpson said Global Forensics exercised an option to get out of the contract.

“We’ve not had any problems with the quality of their work at all. The doctors commute from Tennessee to Mississippi. It has given the coroners some difficulty in having the line of communication they’re used to,” Simpson said.

It’s been nearly two years since the state terminated its contract with Dr. Steven Hayne, a pathologist who came under fire for his work in several criminal cases, including ones that resulted in the exoneration of two men who had been convicted of capital murder.

Mississippi last had a medical examiner in 1995. The void had been filled by Hayne, who handled the majority of autopsies for the state’s criminal investigations.

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