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Experts rebut claim Drake bit girl after he shot her to death

Two defense experts took aim Wednesday at a prosecution witness' claim that Robie J. Drake bit a teenage girl's breast after he shot her to death Dec. 5, 1981.

Drake, 45, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of fellow North Tonawanda High School students Amy Smith, 16, and Steven Rosenthal, 18. He was convicted once, but a new trial was ordered last year because a federal appeals court detected prosecutorial misconduct.

The defense admits Drake, then 17, shot the two while they sat in a parked car but denies he knew the car was occupied.

Monday, Dr. Lowell Levine, a forensic dentist called by the prosecution, had testified that he thought a bite mark on Smith was inflicted after she died. Wednesday, Dr. James A. Terzian, a Binghamton forensic pathologist, said the mark was very faint and it was just as likely to have occurred before Smith died; in other words, she might have been bitten by someone other than Drake.

Dr. Raymond G. Miller of Lancaster, a professor at the University at Buffalo Dental School, testified that there are no scientific protocols for determining the age of a bite mark and no standards for determining whether one occurred before or after death.

"You're looking at the color, basically, and there are different ways of looking at it from person to person," said Miller.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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