[Douglas] Plude, 42, was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in 2002. But the Wisconsin Supreme Court threw out the conviction last year after learning that an expert witness who conducted the first round of toilet tests exaggerated his credentials....Is it impossible to drown in a toilet? How would you prove it?
Prosecutors... say he poisoned her with a migraine drug and pushed her face into the toilet to drown her while she vomited.
Plude says his wife was depressed, committed suicide by taking the pills on her own and then drowned. He claims he found his wife slumped over the vomit-filled toilet and tried to perform CPR to keep her alive.
Prosecutors called on expert witness Saami Shaibani to shoot down Plude's story at the first trial.
Shaibani said that, based on his tests involving volunteers he positioned at a toilet, Plude had to be lying about the positions he claimed to have found his wife in. Genell Plude also could not have inhaled toilet water on her own and someone must have forced her head into the water, he testified.
Defense lawyers from across the country have derided the tests and call them an example of unfair expert testimony. One of them, North Carolina lawyer David Rudolf, who clashed with Shaibani in another case, laughed about the tests in an interview last year.
"He had women sticking their heads in toilets!" he said. "That's just not science. How do you peer review that? How do you test his conclusions?"
April 13, 2009
"If you are a female about 5 feet 8 inches tall, 140 pounds and willing to stick your head in a toilet..."
"... a northern Wisconsin prosecutor wants your help in proving a high-profile homicide case."