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Medical Examiner’s Office chief toxicologist faces criminal probe with potential legal ramifications in years of cases

Gary Kunsman investigated for alleged theft of a controlled substance, evidence tampering

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Gary Kunsman, the chief toxicologist for the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office, is under investigation for the alleged theft of a controlled substance and evidence tampering.

Paula McMahon, a spokeswoman for the Broward State Attorney’s Office, said the Broward Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency in the probe. BSO confirmed there is an “ongoing investigation.”

According to McMahon, Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor directed prosecutors and staff to notify all defense attorneys in cases where Kunsman was listed as a witness.

“Our office is reviewing every case and will follow up appropriately,” McMahon wrote in an email.

The state attorney’s office says it’s still unclear how many of these notices have gone out or still need to, but according to the public defender’s office, they know of 94 open cases listing Kunsman as a witness and 74 resolved cases since 2019.

Kunsman has been working for Broward County since 2013. Broward Public Defender Gordon Weekes said the case opens the door for scrutiny in “any number of cases” because it calls into question his integrity.

“His ability to be believed ... as a witness in any case that he is going to testify in,” Weekes said Thursday. “It calls into question the evidence that he collected.”

Defense attorneys could use it to cast reasonable doubt. Weekes said the parties in the cases affected will have to wait longer for closure.

One of the notices filed Wednesday applies to the case of Gerard Baldie, who faces a DUI manslaughter charge in the 2016 hit-and-run crash. The victims were Danielle Baldwin and her fiancé Steven Olivert.

Baldwin’s aunt Linda Dudley said it would be disturbing if Kunsman’s behavior at the crime lab would further delay justice. Kunsman testified on alcohol levels in toxicology results.

“It’s very upsetting,” Dudley said. “Somebody with so many lives at stake and justice to be served not only for my family and Steven and Danielle and their family but for families all over that depend on the honesty and integrity of Broward County’s officials.”

Kunsman was also a witness in the case of Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy Peter Peraza, who was charged with manslaughter in the killing of 33-year-old Jermaine McBean.

Records show Kunsman testified McBean had not been taking his prescribed psychotropic and anti-psychotic medicines, and he had used marijuana two to four hours before the shooting.

Kunsman was also a toxicologist in Oakland County, Michigan. He told the Daily Tribune in 2012 that about 3% to 5% of the cases there were heroin-related deaths. In some cases, he said, the deaths happened so quickly the victims still had the syringe in their arms.

Kunsman claimed to have earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Virginia Tech and earned a doctorate from Louisiana State University. He was also an American Board of Forensic Toxicology fellow.

The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office sent a statement to Local 10 News on Friday morning, saying: “The county does not comment on active criminal investigations of employees. Dr. Kunsman is on administrative leave pending the investigation. The county has and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in this matter.”


About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.