Davidian Lawyer: Death of Infrared Expert a Major Setback in Waco Trial

CNN News, May 14, 2000

WACO, Texas (AP) -- A lawyer representing surviving Branch Davidians in a wrongful-death lawsuit says the death of an infrared expert who contended that shots were fired by the government during the Waco siege is a major setback in the case.

"We're not giving up, but I don't know how we'll replace Carlos Ghigliotti," said attorney Mike Caddell.

Ghigliotti was hired last fall by the House Government Reform Committee to review an FBI infrared videotape taken on the final day of the Branch Davidian siege in 1993.

He told The Washington Post that he had determined that repeated flashes on the video came from government gunfire.

Police found Ghigliotti's decomposed body at his office at Infrared Technologies Corp. in Laurel, Md., on April 28 after a building manager became concerned that the analyst had not been seen for several weeks. A preliminary autopsy report showed the 42-year-old died of a heart attack. The plaintiffs had already notified the federal court that they planned to use Ghigliotti as an expert witness in the trial, set to begin June 19 in Waco.

Caddell said he will take the depositions of British infrared experts at Vector Data Systems, who were among those who conducted a March 19 field test at Fort Hood.

By comparing the simulation to videotapes from the last day of the siege, Vector found that the 1993 flashes were caused by reflections off metal and glass.

"We were unable to identify any gunfire, either from government forces or from Davidians, from either the (infrared tapes) or other collateral imagery available to us," their report stated.

Government officials have said no one on their side fired any shots on April 19, 1993, the day that a federal tear-gas assault ended in a fire that destroyed the compound. More than 80 sect members, including leader David Koresh, were killed.

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