Dr. Blanchard did not perform the autopsy on Anatsasia; the autopsy was done by Dr. Thomas Young, who was unavailable the week of the trial. Dr. Blanchard, who was Jackson County Deputy Medical Examiner at the time of the trial, examined Dr. Young's autopsy report and other relevant reports1 before taking the stand.
During direct testimony, she described Anastasia's clothing and possessions;2 she described the wound Anastasia recieved and the bullet fragment that was found with her body;3 she notes the complete lack of defensive injuries, and explains their significance;4 she notes that evidence indicated that Anastasia was killed by a high-powered weapon.
During cross-examination, Dr. Chase was first asked whether or not it could be determined from the autopsy if Anastasia had been killed by an acquaintance or a stranger,5 and she answered that it could not. She was further asked about the possibility of the fatal bullet having come from a handgun, and she acknowledged that such a thing was possible.6 She was also asked to elaborate on the contact wound and its meaning7 and on the trajectory of the bullet that killed Anastasia8.
On redirect, Dr. Chase clarified the "possibility" of the bullet having been a .22 handgun, by stating that the possibility was less than one in ten, that a .22 rifle was a slightly greater possibility, and that a high-powered rifle or shotgun with a slug were 70 or 80% possibilities.9
Defense questions regarding the contact wound were an effort to impeach Kelly Moffett's testimony that Byron Case was a few feet away from Anastasia when he fired; however, the Prosecution had established Kelly's statement of distance as a "guesstimate", so the issues gave little aid to the defense.
Page 762       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)
DIRECT EXAMINANON BY MS. CRAYON:
Page 763       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)
The State calls Dr. Chase Blanchard.
CHASE BLANCHARD, having been duly sworn by the Court testified:
Doctor, if you would, raise your right hand, if you would.
DIRECT EXAMINANON BY MS. CRAYON:
Q.Page 764       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)A.Could you please introduce yourself to the jury.Q.I'm Dr. Chase Blanchard.A.Where do you work, Doctor?Q.At the Jackson County Medical Examiners office.A.And how long have you actually worked at that office?Q.Since June of last year.A.Now, I just want to ask you some preliminary questions about your background. Can you tell the jury what your education has been to lead you to hold this position?Q.Certainly. I completed four years of college and got a B.A. After that I completed four years of medical school in Philadelphia to receive an M.D. degree. After that I did five years of postgraduate training in residency for pathology. And after that I did another year of specialty training in forensic pathology.A.And are you board certified at all?Q.Yes. I'm board certified in anatomic, clinical and forensic pathology.A.And have you testified as an expert in these matters in court before?Yes.
Q.Page 765       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)A.Can you just for the jury give them an idea of what forensic pathology is very briefly?Q.Certainly. Pathology in general is the study of diseases or trauma in the human body, and forensic is a more specific subcategory where it's pathology relating to the law.A.And as part of your duties at the medical examiner's office, what is your position there?Q.Deputy Medical Examiner.A.And is there another doctor that works there with you?Q.Yes. Dr. Young. He's the Chief Medical Examiner.A.And do you happen to know how long Dr. Young has been there?Q.Approximately five years, I believe.A.And Dr. Young is actually the one who performed the autopsy in this case; is that correct?Q.Correct.A.And he's not in town and available this week; is that right?Q.Correct.So we've had that instance before, and we have asked you to review -- well, tell us what is it that you have reviewed in order to be prepared to come in and testify in his place today?
A.Page 766       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)Q.I have reviewed the autopsy report that he prepared, as well as the investigator's report from our office, toxicology report, and photographs of the body taken at the time of the autopsy.A.And after reviewing all of those things, do you believe that you're familiar enough to assist the jury in understanding the injuries that Anastasia WitbolsFeugen suffered and the cause and manner of death?Q.Yes.A.With that would you -- since I have just mentioned cause and manner of death, can you please tell the jury what actually in your line of work is a cause of death?Q.Cause is, basically, the reason why the person died.A.And what is considered a manner of death?Q.Manner is more the circumstances behind that in terms of natural, accident suicide, homicide or sometimes undetermined.A.So you have listed then the five manners of death that usually are referred to in your work?Correct.
Q.Page 767       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)A.So you have already testified you were not working in this Medical Examiner's office in October of 1997, but you believe that Dr. Young was because he authored this report; is that correct?Q.Yes.A.Now, you've mentioned the reports that you have taken a look at, an investigative report. Can you tell the jury specifically what that is?Q.That is a report that one of the investigators from our office completes. We have investigators that will go out to the scene and do an independent investigation of any type of sudden or suspicious death to help us, the pathologist, determine the cause and manner of death. So it's a report that the investigator fills out for us.A.And was one done in this case?Q.Yes.Now, I see you referring to a report and what I need to do -- I'm going to go ahead, since you may be referring to that throughout the course of your testimony, to have it marked as an exhibit. I will not be asking to enter it into evidence, but to refresh your recollection in looking at State's Exhibit Number 22, can you just tell for the record what that is a copy of?
A.Page 768       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)Q.This is a copy of the autopsy report done by Dr. Young and attached to it is a toxicology report and the investigator's report, the case that we're referring to.A.Now, prior to actually conducting the autopsy on body, do you examine anything about it?Q.Yes. Prior to the autopsy, we examine the outside of the body, the clothes the person is wearing, and if there is any identifying features, scars or tattoos or any evidence of injury, and we take photographs also.A.And I should say, in State's Exhibit Number 22 before we go further, who is that an autopsy of?Q.Anastasia WitbolsFeugen.A.And is there an age, race and sex determined on the front of that report?Q.Yes. It's 18 years old, white female.A.And does it tell you the time and date that the autopsy was performed?Q.It says October 23rd 1997, at 9:30 a.m.Thank you. With that -- and you have just started to tell us that you take a look at the clothing and any identifying marks. What was the identifying features and the clothing noted on this particular victim?
A.Page 769       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)Q.The height was measured at 62 inches and the weight 120 pounds.A.Sixty-two inches is -- ?Q.Five feet, two inches.A.All right.Q.The clothes noted were black Doc Marten brand shoes. Dark gray socks. Black denim pants with Dungaree label. A size small light brown corduroy jacket with a Brandon Thomas label. A dark gray pullover shirt, size medium, with an Energy label. A black bra and a pair of black panties with a sanitary napkin.A.And so that's actually what was observed on her when she was brought in for Dr. Young's examination; is that correct?Q.Correct.A.And had there been any tearing or anything specific like that about the clothing would that have been noted in there?Q.Yes.A.And is there any notes of any kind of damage to her clothes?Q.No.Now, the specific trauma in this case is a gunshot wound; is that true?
A.Page 770       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)Q.Correct.A.And there is a section in the autopsy report that describes the actual gunshot wound, and I would like for you to, after reviewing your report, to kind of give the jury an idea of what kind of injury was suffered.Okay. The description of the gunshot wound, according to Dr. Young, is a contact gunshot wound involving the tip of the nose, and I will explain why he says it's contact. Contact basically means the muzzle of the gun is right up against the skin of the person. He says the entry wound lies about four and a half inches below the top of the head in the anterior midline involving the tip of the nose, around this position.
He says he sees radially oriented lacerations, which basically means skin tears coming out from the sides of the wound, and these lacerations also are along both sides of the nose here. Then he says, upon approximating these radial lacerations, all that means is he takes the pieces of skin basically and puts them back together again.
Page 771       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)And when he puts them back together, kind of like a jigsaw puzzle, he could see that there was a circular defect in the middle. And he says it's a marginally abraded gunshot entry defect that measures about three-eighths of an inch in diameter.
Marginally abraded, that just means around the margin, around the outside, that there is an abrasion or a scraping of the skin which is one of the ways -- important ways to identify an entrance gunshot wound as opposed to an exit wound.
Because when a bullet is entering into the person's body and going into the slde, it goes in this way. And as it pushes the skin inwards, it leaves a scrape in a circle on the outside. And for instance, an exit wound, the bullet is coming the other way. It's going out of your body, so the skin goes outward. It doesn't leave an abrasion. Only when it's going in.
Then, let's see. He saw multiple dark particles which he looked at under a dissecting microscope, which all that is is like a big magnifying glass where you can see things closer, that appear to be gunpowder particles adhering to the skin and the face, lips and chin.
Page 772       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)Q.He also saw a dark sooty deposit around the face. And the presence of the soot and the gunpowder particles also means a close range shot, because there is soot. To me that means less than six inches. The muzzle must have been less than six inches from the person to the person's skin.
And because of the fact that the wound made those lacerations like a star shape, like this, that to me means not only because it's less than six inches, but it was probably right up against the skin. And that's what I believe Dr. Young's opinion is, because he calls it a contact.
And the reason that it does that is, if the gun is pressed pretty much right up against the skin, when the projectile comes out, there is also gases, hot gases, that come out at the same time. And if it's tight on the skin, the gases actually go underneath the skin and then kind of burst out. And you wouldn't see that if the gun was farther away, even like this far.Is there anything else significant for the jury regarding the actual entry wound that you have talked about as a contact entering point?
A.Page 773       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)Q.The one thing Dr. Young says, there is no stippling, those dark particles, which are just gunpowder particles. So there was no stippling, but there is soot.A.What is stippling? What's the significance of that?Q.Okay. Stippling is when you get a piece of partially burned gunpowder that actually tattoos itself into the skin. It makes a red dot. You can see stippling anywhere up to maybe three feet or so away distance, and that's very dependent on the type of gun and the type of ammunition. And usually you don't see stippling closer than six inches either.A.And he doesn't see stippling; is that correct?Q.Correct. He only sees gunpowder particles.A.So based on the absence of stippling, the presence of soot and the star laceration, that leads you, as well as it obviously Dr. Young in describing it, as this was a contact wound where the actual -- whatever was used whatever -- gun was used was actually up against her skin; is that correct?Correct. And then he followed the wound track.
Page 774       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)Q.It followed from front to back, and it caused many fractures of the facial bones and then also it caused a large laceration in the scalp in the back of the head where it exited back here. And he put those -- fit those lacerations back together. And when he fit them back together, the midpoint of those was about four inches below the top of the head.
And there were fracture lines in the skull associated with that. A distorted lead bullet fragment was recovered from the hair in the back of the head from the scalp. Just a fragment of a bullet.A.So in layman's terms, for the wound track, we're talking about the path that the bullet took?Q.Correct.A.And can you just explain to the jury very briefly what track that took?Q.Well, the track that he describes is front to back.A.Okay. And --Q.Front to back.I'm going to direct you to the last part of -- well, let me ask you this: Were there any other internal findings other than the ones that centered around the gunshot wound to the face that you have just described?
A.Page 775       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)Q.He did find what he described as a slight hemorrhage kind of in the upper spine area and around the inside around the larynx or inside of the throat. And my opinion is that's secondary to the facial fractures. Because when you get fractures in your facial bones, that kind, the blood can drip down inside.A.And the hemorrhage means bleeding; is that right?Q.Correct. Correct.A.Is it uncommon in a gunshot wound like this to see blood seeping down into the neck area?Q.No. It's very common, especially if the facial bones are traumatized.A.So other than the face and the slight hemorrhage that's showing in the neck, is there any other portion of the examination of this victim's body that showed any kind of trauma?Q.The only other trauma he mentions are three fine punctate abrasions on the forehead.A.What are punctate abrasions?Q.Punctate abrasions are very superficial almost like circular, just means small or superficial scrapes on the forehead.Is it possible that those are associated with this gunshot wound?
A.Page 776       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)Q.That's possible, yes.A.Other than that, are there any other injuries that are viewed or noted on her body?Q.No.A.Dr. Young -- I'm sorry -- Dr. Blanchard, can you describe for the jury what the term defensive wound means and tell them whether or not you saw any signs of any kind of defensive wound?Q.Certainly. Defensive wounds means, if you see any scrapes or bruises on the person's forearms,generally in this area or on their hands or sometimes even on their feet or legs, and those are caused when the person is attempting to defend themselves.
For instance, if they see somebody coming at them, about to hit them or coming at them with a gun, a lot of times they'll put their hands up to shield themselves, and you might see gunpowder stippling or something on the hands or the arms.
Or, if someone is hitting them, you might see bruises there, attempting to hit them, they're tying to shield their body. We did not see any of that on this report.All right.
Page 777       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)A.Towards the end of the autopsy report, I believe it's on page 6, there is a summary of the autopsy findings; is that right?Q.Correct.A.Would you please share with us Dr. Young's summary of his autopsy findings back on October 23rd 1997.Correct. Summary of autopsy findings are: Contact gunshot wound to nose, and underneath that he says:
A, comminuted calvarial basilar skull and facial fractures. That just means fractures in this part of your skull, the upper part, and basilar fractures in the base of the skull down at the bottom and facial fractures.
B, lacerations of brain and dura mater. The dura is a fibrous covering over the top of the brain, and when the bullet went through, it perforated that and caused a laceration in the brain where it passed through.
C, gaping lacerated defect of posterior scalp, and that's what we talked about in the back of the scalp. Another lacerated defect. That was the exit wound.
D, lead bullet fragment recovered from scalp hair along posterior aspect. Posterior, once again, is just the back of the head.
Q.Page 778       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)A.I'm going to show you what's been marked as State's Exhibit Numbers 15 and 16, and I'm going to ask you if you recognize what those are photographs of.Q.Yes. These are photographs that I reviewed for the autopsy on this case.A.And do they fairly and accurately represent the information that you have reviewed regarding your testimony today?Q.Yes.A.And the autopsy of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen?MS. CRAYON:Yes.MR. LANCE:Your Honor, at this time I move to admit State's Exhibits Numbers 15 and 16.THE COURT:No objection.BY MS. CRAYON:Fifteen and 16 shall be admitted into evidence.
(State's Exhibit Numbers 15 and 16 were received into evidence.)
Q.A.Now, State's Exhibit Number 15, there are only two photographs; is that right? State's Exhibit Number 15 is of the injury to the face, front of the face?Correct.
Q.Page 779       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)A.Which is the contact wound that you have described?Q.Correct.A.And the State's Exhibit Number 16 is the exit wound that you have described; is that correct?Q.Yes.A.Doctor, in your opinion, after conducting a review of the autopsy and considering the information that Dr. Young had received from the investigator at the scene as part of that report, as well as looking at the photographs, do you have an opinion, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, as to the cause of death of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen?Q.Yes.A.What is that?Q.Gunshot wound to the nose.A.And do you have an opinion, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, based on those reports and those photographs, as to the manner of death?Q.Yes.A.What is that?Q.Homicide.You have mentioned also that there is a toxicology report.
Page 780       (Dr. Chase Blanchard direct testimony)A.Is it standard, during all autopsies, to take samples of either blood or brain tissue or anything like that to submit to a lab for review?Q.Yes. That's routine during all autopsies to take fluid or tissue to test for drugs and/or medications or alcohol.A.Was that done in this case?Q.Yes.A.And was what was the findings on the toxicology report?Q.The findings were negative for alcohol and negative for drugs of abuse.A.Finally, all of that information that we have talked about, and in addition, I want to refer you in your State's Exhibit Number 22 to the investigator's report, there was something besides Anastasia's body that was recovered at the scene by your investigator and viewed; is that right?Q.Yes.A.And what was that?Q.The investigator notes that a small piece of skull is recovered from the grass near the body.Does he note how far away it was?
A.A.Q.He says about 18 inches to 2 feet from the head.A.That, along with the other findings that we have already discussed, does that have any significance to you regarding the weapon that was used?Q.The significance that it has is that the weapon would have been a high-powered weapon such as a rifle or a shotgun.A.With that, however, are you able to tell this jury what kind of weapon specifically was used to kill her?No, not specifically.And are you able to offer an opinion as to if it was a shotgun, whether it was a pellet shotgun?
MS. CRAYON:If it was a shotgun, it would have been a shotgun slug, because shotguns with pellets, you would have seen multiple small little round pellets inside, and you might have found a plastic wad, and none of those were found. There was a fragment found in the back and that's consistent with a shotgun slug.
THE COURT:I don't have any further questions at this time.
MR. LANCE:Mr. Lance.
Page 781       (Dr. Chase Blanchard cross-examination)Yes.
CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR. LANCE:Page 782       (Dr. Chase Blanchard cross-examination)
Q.A.Dr. Blanchard, in your expert opinion, is there any way for you to determine if this homicide was committed by a stranger or an acquaintance of the victim?Q.No.A.Did Dr. Young reach any such opinion?Q.Not that I could determine from reviewing the records.A.Are the autopsy findings in this homicide consistent with a gunshot from a rifle?Q.It could be. A rifle or a shotgun slug. I can't tell.A.Are the autopsy findings in this homicide consistent with a gunshot from a handgun?Q.Not consistent with a handgun.A.you recall being asked that question at a proceeding called a deposition?Q.Yes.A.And do you recall whether or not you said at the date of the deposition that it could have been a handgun or pistol?I might have said that, if it were a really high-powered handgun.
Q.Page 783       (Dr. Chase Blanchard cross-examination)A.Do you think there is any possibility this fatal wound would have come from a pistol such as a .22-caliber pistol?Q.I don't think so.A.Do you recall being asked that question on the date of the proceeding called the deposition?Q.I don't recall specifically, no.A.Would it help refresh your memory to look at a transcript of what was said the day of the deposition?Q.Sure.A.This is a document, Dr. Blanchard. I would ask you to read quietly to yourself. It's not something for you to read out loud.Q.Okay.A.I'm referring to Page 11, Line 16.Q.Yes.Q.Dr. Blanchard, have you had a chance to review that document quietly to yourself?A.First of all, do you remember the date of the do you remember meeting me at a date proceeding called a deposition?Q.Yes.And I asked you several questions that day, right?
A.Page 784       (Dr. Chase Blanchard cross-examination)Q.Yes.A.Do you reall now that I asked you that day if this fatal wound could be consistent with a handgun?Q.It said, "This fatal wound could have been from a .22-caliber pistol."A.And your answer was?Q."It's possible."A.So when I interviewed you, obviously preparing for trial, you indicated that this fatal wound could be from a pistol?Q.It's possible. I say later it's within the realm of possibility.A.And so going back to I think the question I asked today, are these autopsy findings consistent with a gunshot wound from a handgun?Q.Not consistent.A.All right.Q.To me that's different than saying is it possible.A.All right. Let me ask you to flip over on the very next page. I'm sorry. If you look at Page 12, near the top of Page 12, very next page, Lines 7 and 8.Yes.
Q.Page 785       (Dr. Chase Blanchard cross-examination)A.Okay. Do you see I asked a follow-up question. "Today do you have an opinion whether or not a pistol was used or a rifle?" What was your answer?Q."No. I don't have an opinion."A.All right. If you don't have an opinion if it was a pistol or a rifle, that could be said that the wound could be from a pistol or a rifle.Q.You could look at it that way if you wanted to.A.All right. Well, I asked you the direct question. Do you have an opinion if this was a pistol or a rifle. Didn't I ask that question?Q.Yes.A.And your answer was: No, that you don't have such an opinion, right?Q.Right.A.I think, if I could have a second, I think we revisited that topic. I'm sorry to skip around so much.Q.That's okay.A.I'm now looking at Page 13, Line 19.Q.Uh-huh.Is it true that at one point I even tried to ask you the question from today, "Are the autopsy findings in this homicide consistent with a gunshot wound from a handgun?"
Page 786       (Dr. Chase Blanchard cross-examination)A.And what was your answer under oath?Q."It could be."A.All right. Can you state definitively with any certainty that this homicide was committed with a shotgun?Q.It's very difficult to tell, once again, rifle, shotgun slug, or possibly even a high-powered handgun. That's the way I was trying to answer those questions.A.So all three are within the realm of possibilities?Q.Yes, you could say that.A.Now, you testified today that the fatal wound was what you call a contact wound?Q.Yes.A.And, if I understand you correctly, the tip of the barrel of the gun would have actually been touching the victim's face?Q.Yes.A.When the shot was fired?Q.Yes.A.So this can't be a sniper from 50 yards away, for example?No.
Q.Page 787       (Dr. Chase Blanchard cross-examination)A.This can't even be a gun fired from a foot away, right?Q.No.A.This is a contact with the barrel of the gun right on her nose when she was killed?Q.Yes.A.Now, do you have a copy of State's 22 in front of you?Q.(There was no response.)A.I had a quick question about State's 22 --Q.Certainly.A.-- where it mentions the clothing and personal effects.Q.Yes.A.I think it's on -- are you on Page 3?Q.Yes.A.This is where they talked about the personal effects of the victim in this case, Anastasia WitbolsFeugen.Q.Yes.A.It mentions that she was wearing a black denim pants?Q.Yes.A.Light brown corduroy jacket?Yes.
Q.Page 788       (Dr. Chase Blanchard cross-examination)A.Dark gray pullover shirt?Q.Yes.A.It even talks about her underwear, right?Q.Yes.A.Apparently there was a black bra?Q.Uh-huh, yes.A.Pair of blank panties?Q.Yes.A.And it's specific enough it even says inside the black panties, there is a sanitary napkin?Q.Containing a sanitary napkin.A.All right. Inside the black panties?Q.Correct.A.It mentions she had some small bills and change in her pocket?Q.Yes.A.Is there any mention of a purse or billfold?Q.No.A.Switching topics. I think this will be my last question about the trajectory of the bullet wound. From your review of the autopsy, when the bullet passed through the victim's head, was the bullet traveling slightly upwards?Q.It could have been.Okay. And I think you established today the bullet path was front to back?
A.Page 789       (Dr. Chase Blanchard cross-examination)Q.Correct.A.And when I asked about traveling slightly upward -- well, let's go back to the measurements. I think the entrance wound was four and a half inches anterior from the top?Q.Let's see. Right. Four and a half inches below the top of the head.A.And the exit wound was four inches below the top of the head?Q.Well, it says -- correct, four inches inferior to the top of the head.A.All right.Q.Correct.A.And I think the question I was leading up to was, would you agree the bullet path was traveling slightly upward?If the person is in the anatomical position, which means standing straight like this with their head like this, then if it entered here, four inches below the top of the head, and you measured the exit, or this is four and a half and this is four, then it would appear that it's going slightly upward. But you have to remember that the person's head in real life isn't going to be just like this, like in a diagram.
Page 790       (Dr. Chase Blanchard redirect testimony)Q.It might be slightly tilted forward or backward or even side to side.A.So Dr. Blanchard, if I understand your expert opinion correctly, you cannot commit to the statement that the bullet would have been traveling slightly upward?Q.Well, you would say with the body in the anatomical position the bullet went slightly upward, but that does not say how the body was at the scene.A.All right. And even an expert such as you, you can't speculate what position she was in at the moment she was victimized and shot?Q.No.A.There is no way you can speculate about that, is there?MR. LANCE:Not specifically, no.THE WITNESS:Thank you, Doctor.THE COURT:Thank you.MS. CRAYON:Ms. Crayon.REDIRECT EXAMNATION BY MS. CRAYON:Yeah, just briefly, Judge.
Q.Dr. Blanchard, I want to ask you some questions.
Page 791       (Dr. Chase Blanchard redirect testimony)A.Is it a rifle, is it a shotgun, is it a .22? I understand that you said it's -- all of these are in the realm of possibility?Q.Correct.A.Let's say, from a scale of 1 to 100, "100" being for certain that it's a .22, and "1" being "we don't believe it's a .22" or it's not, with the reports that you have in front of you, the photographs that you have had, all the information that you have, where does the realm of possibility that this is a .22 fit?Q.A .22 rifle? Handgun?A.No, no. A .22 handgun.Q.I would say less than 10.A.All right. A .22 rifle, does it move it closer to 100?Q.A little closer. There is more velocity there.A.Okay. And a slug shotgun, where does that fit in that realm of possibility?Q.That's a good possibility. To me that would be 70, 80, but that would be about the same as a high-powered rifle. I couldn't tell. Either of those two.That's my question, is that all of these are in the realm of possibility, because you don't have anything specific that you can say this is what it is; is that right?
A.Page 792       (Dr. Chase Blanchard redirect testimony)Q.Correct. Correct.A.All right. The last thing that Mr. Lance asked you about is the traveling, how the bullet traveled, the wound track?Q.Right.A.That it went front to back, no question about that, right?Q.Right.A.And that it went slightly upward, correct?Q.Right. With the body in the anatomic position.MR. LANCE:Exactly. Let me give you a scenario and you tell me if it's consistent with these findings. That a gunshot I mean a --THE COURT:Judge, I object. I think -- may counsel approach?MR. LANCE:Sure.
(Counsel approached the bench and the following proceedings were had:)Judge, I think we established she couldn't speculate as to what happened at the moment of the gun being fired. I think that's what she is asking her to do now, is speculate.
MS. CRAYON:Page 793       (Dr. Chase Blanchard redirect testimony)THE COURT:I disagree. I think what I'm doing is asking her, based on the information she has, if my scenario is possible; and I think that we're certainly allowed to do that. I mean, it's a hypothetical situation, to see if it fits the information that she has, rather than asking her to speculate.MR. LANCE:The purpose of a hypothetical question is basically if, as you state facts that are in evidence, and then you ask them if they can render an opinion. And I think there are certain facts that she can -- if she wants to suggest facts that are in evidence, she can do that.MS. CRAYON:Judge, one problem I have is we've already done direct and now -- I mean, I just don't feel this is proper. Now we're up here starting to speculate about hypotheticals.Well, it's in response to the upward track emphasis that Mr. Lance put on her testimony, and the position that we believe the victim was in, which we already have testimony on that from Kelly Moffett.
THE COURT:Page 794       (Dr. Chase Blanchard redirect testimony)MS. CRAYON:Tell me what you're going to say, because I'll tell you right now, if there is some dispute as to what the testimony is, I'm not going to let you do it.THE COURT:Some dispute on what?MS. CRAYON:Some dispute about the facts in the hypothetical. I think that's a reason, especially on redirect examination, to stay away from it.THE COURT:It's in an effort to explain the upward track given the testimony that's in. Kelly Moffett's testimony has been she was facing the defendant when it happened front to back and that she is shot in the face, and it's a contact wound. Would that be consistent with her leaning her head back like this? That's what I was going to ask her. I mean, the position of the victim's body has been placed into evidence by Kelly Moffett, the position she lands in.Well, I think Kelly Moffett -- as I recall what she said was -- first of all, I don't think she said she saw -- I think she saw -- well --
MS. CRAYON:Page 795       (Dr. Chase Blanchard redirect testimony)MR. LANCE:I think she said she saw her put the gun up to her face and pull the trigger.THE COURT:See, I dispute that.MS. CRAYON:If you want to ask her -- I think there is a lot of things you can ask her, but I'm not going to let you ask hypotheticals. ; I'm not sure what the facts are. I think there is a dispute. So, if you want to ask it another way, you can. For example, you can ask if, during the course of the shooting, if the victim's head went back, what effect would that have. You can ask questions like that. But a hypothetical endorses the facts that are being utilized in order to render an opinion, and I think the facts are in dispute. In terms of the hypothetical, the objection is sustained.BY MS. CRAYON:All right.
(The proceedings returned to open court.)
Q.Dr. Blanchard, if at the time of the shooting, the victim's head was back, would that account for the findings of the upward trajectory, leaning back?
A.MS. CRAYON:It could.MR. LANCE:I don't have anything further.THE COURT:No further.All nght. Thank you, Doctor. Appreciate your testimony.
(The witness was excused.)