The medical examiner who suddenly reversed his opinion Tuesday about key evidence in the murder trial of a 36-year-old Windham man has overseen thousands of death investigations in a two-decade-long career that included work in New York City and Boston.

But Dr. Mark Flomenbaum also has been dogged by questions about his management skills from before he arrived in Maine nearly seven years ago.

Dr. Mark Flomenbaum was first hired in Maine in 2013.

This week, Flomenbaum was expected to testify in the murder trial of Noah Gaston, who shot and killed his wife, Alicia Gaston, in their Windham home three years ago. But shortly before Flomenbaum was expected to get called to the stand, he told prosecutors that he had changed his opinion about the angle of the fatal gunshot wound, ultimately leading the judge to declare a mistrial Thursday.

Flomenbaum was first hired in Maine in 2013 as deputy medical examiner, and a year later, succeeded Dr. Margaret Greenwald to the office’s top post.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office investigates sudden, unexpected and violent deaths in Maine and, when necessary, performs autopsies to determine the cause and manner of those deaths. The office has about a dozen staff members and investigates more than 3,000 deaths each year.

In 2017, the last year for which budget information was available, Flomenbaum’s salary and benefits totaled $259,437.23.


Under Flomenbaum’s leadership, Maine’s office was cited last year as “one of the best medical examiner offices in the country” by the National Association of Medical Examiners.

In a report granting the Maine office full accreditation, the association said it has “a staff that is enthusiastic and committed to high professional standards and completing high-quality reports furnished with exemplary speed and accuracy.”


However, before he came to Maine, Flomenbaum had a short, troubled run as the chief medical examiner in Massachusetts before he was fired by that state’s governor.

Flomenbaum came to New England in 2005, when he was selected for the Massachusetts job by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, who hired him away from New York City. In New York, he was the No. 2 forensic pathologist and was part of the team that worked after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack to identify the remains of the thousands of people who died.

Romney hired Flomenbaum to help clean up the Massachusetts medical examiner’s office, which had been in disarray and under investigative scrutiny for years, according to a 2005 Boston Globe story announcing Flomenbaum’s hiring.


Flomenbaum worked to speed turnaround times for autopsies and clean up the office, but was overwhelmed in Boston by what he saw as a chronic lack of funding and resources. Then, in May 2007, a scandal derailed Flomenbaum’s career. He was placed on leave soon after his office misplaced the body of a Cape Cod man whose remains were sent in for an autopsy, the Boston Globe reported.

A report by an outside consultant published in July 2007 while Flomenbaum was still on paid leave found that the office had no policies or procedures for most of its employees and lacked sufficient oversight in almost every area of its core duties.

The report did not assess Flomenbaum’s ability as a forensic pathologist, but was critical of his ability to oversee an agency with a multimillion-dollar budget. His role in Massachusetts was purely administrative; he did not do autopsies while he ran the office, the consultant’s report said.

Flomenbaum was ultimately fired by Gov. Deval Patrick in the summer of 2007.


In 2016, while working as Maine’s chief medical examiner, Flomenbaum took the stand as an expert witness for the defense in a Connecticut murder case. Flomenbaum testified that he believed a child died of natural causes, not blunt-force trauma caused by the defendant.


But the judge in that case was not persuaded, and ruled that Flomenbaum’s testimony was not credible. The defendant was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Criminal defense lawyers in Maine have tried to cite Flomenbaum’s history in Massachusetts to cast doubt on the office’s work.

However, judges in Maine have not allowed defense attorneys to pursue questions of Flomenbaum’s past in current cases, sometimes at the request of prosecutors.

In the trial of Matthew Davis, who was convicted of a 2013 double murder in Oakfield, the Attorney General’s Office’s request to limit questions about the medical examiner’s past was granted by a judge who found that Flomenbaum’s past would prove to be a distraction from the facts at hand and could confuse the jury.

Similarly, last March, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court rejected two appeals by convicted murderers – Keith Coleman and Abdirahman H. Haji-Hassan – whose arguments both rested in part on a lower court’s decision to prevent defense attorneys from questioning Flomenbaum’s past.

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