Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Lying Pathologist Imprisoned

For more than ten years, Ralph Erdmann was a busy West Texas forensic pathologist. He worked in over 40 counties, billing Lubbock County alone $140,000 for over 400 autopsies in one year. Many of Erdmann's autopsy reports were presented as evidence in criminal trials, some of them death penalty cases. The only problem was that Erdmann never performed many of the autopsies. He simply wrote and submitted fake autopsy reports, and collected his fee.

When Texas authorities finally caught on to him in 1992, he pleaded no contest to seven felony charges and was sentenced to ten years probation.

A short time later Erdmann moved to Redmond, a suburb of Seattle, WA. In August of 1995 he was convicted for felony possession of a machine gun and sentenced to one year in Seattle's King County Jail. Had he been prosecuted under federal charges for possession of the machine gun, he would have received a considerably longer sentence. As it was, with credit for time served and good time, he was released in November.

After his release, he returned to Texas for a probation revocation hearing. Texas State District Court judge, Andy Kupper, revoked Erdmann's probation and sentenced him to serve eight years in the state prison.

PLN readers, and other "consumers" of the criminal just-us system have known for years what most Americans first heard at the O.J. trial: because something is presented in court as evidence that doesn't necessarily mean it's true! Erdmann's falsified autopsy reports are only one example of this type of evidence.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login