April 2, 2008. El Dorado Co. Superior Court, People vs. Mario Lozano.
Case # P06CRF0427
8:00 I arrived at the courthouse early today. I forgot to ask what time and didn’t get any answer at Pat’s. I’m wearing a tee shirt I designed for the Second Annual Kacie’s Ride for Hope. I went through security and upstairs to the clerk’s office and knocked on the door to ask what time the Lozano trial would start. They didn’t have it posted yet. I found out I was an hour early so I left the building and walked to Starbucks for coffee and then stood outside the courthouse enjoying the sun and my coffee.
8:55 Mario is already in the courtroom. I talked to Ken, the Mountain Democrat reporter, and his editor insists on the subscription fee. Ken was willing to email the articles to me but the editor prohibited this too. No more free news! Oh well… I thanked Ken for asking and I’ll keep trying to record the events.
Pat, his mom Annie Walker, step dad Doug Walker and dad Lee Barron came in. Kacie’s step brother John was there too. I forget his last name.
9:05 Judge Keller enters and court is in session less jury.
Atwater is aware that the pathologist will give testimony and states he wants to review the material. He wants autopsy photos excluded stating the pathologist’s testimony verbally will suffice. Gomes explains that the photos indicate circumstantial evidence pertaining to the angles and distances of the gunshots. Also the shot in the shoulder indicates she did not have her shotgun shouldered at the time of the first shot as Mario said in his statement when arrested. Both photos show that shot #2 was at a significantly longer distance than shot #1. And the discussion continues for awhile…
9:24 Jury enters, trial continues.
Gomes calls Dr. Elizabeth Albers to the stand and she is sworn in.
She has been a Forensic Pathologist for the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office for 4 years. Forensic Pathology is a sub-specialty of pathology. Forensic deals with Medical and the degree of medical aspects of evidence. She has a medical degree, 4 years residency in ontology, has performed approximately 1400 autopsies, has been called on to testify and has been qualified as an expert.
Gomes asks her to describe the 7/28 autopsy of Kacie. She states that Kacie was 5’ 5” tall, cause of death was from wounds to head and chest. She identified Kacie’s death certificate and it was entered into evidence. When asked to describe the wounds she said the first injury was to the right chest. It was 2” X 1 ¼” wide with no soot or stippling. Soot and stippling are things that exit a firearm at the time it is fired. Stippling is gun powder fragments that might stick to and or burn to the object shot at. Soot is soot and can look like a dark shadow around the object fired at. This residue indicates close to intermediate distance from the muzzle of the firearm. Close to intermediate means inches to a couple feet in distance. Looking at Kacie’s wounds and path of pellets indicates straight front to back direction. She is asked to identify photos of the chest injury and they are admitted to evidence generally subject to Atwell’s previous complaint. Permission granted to publish. This injury was close enough that the pellets were still together in one mass. The head injury was to the right side of forehead and right scalp. It was 3 ¼” wide X 2 ¾”, a little bigger than chest wound with scalloped edges and some individual pellet marks with lack of soot and stippling. This indicates a longer distance from the muzzle of the gun. The wound was front to back and right to left. More photos are identified and entered under the same condition as the last two. Permission granted to publish and both photos show red dots around the wound indicating peripheral pellet marks. The head wound indicated she would not have died instantaneously but very soon thereafter. 3 photos of autopsy entered and published showing the shot cup and projectiles recovered from inside the chest.
9:45 Atwell asks if it was part of her occupation to determine cause of death, and examine wounds. She answered yes to both questions. The head wound would cause death but not instantaneous. There were extensive skull fractures at top of head and right eye with perforations to the brain. She also examined the chest wound. It was most likely the first causing damage to the pulmonary artery and the aorta in perforations. Not separated but resulted in gaping holes. It would be possible to survive this with immediate medical help but the heart was close to torn in two damaging all the valves. This would be impossible to sustain life. There were also injuries to both lungs and the ribs.
Atwell asks if in examining the body were there any other conditions contributing to her death. Dr. Albers stated she did a complete autopsy. Methamphetamine and Hydrocodone were detected in her blood but there was no damage to internal organs indicating chronic use.
Atwater begins questioning the ruler in the photo of chest wound. Was it in centimeters or inches? Did she use the ruler in the photo to determine the size of the wound? No, she answered, a separate ruler is used during autopsy directly on the wound. The ruler in the photo is an accepted national standard.
Atwater asks the same question about the head wound and receives the same answers.
He asks if she was wearing a shirt. No autopsy didn’t receive her with a shirt oh, she was wearing her bra. There was no soot or stippling on the bra Soot is deposited at close range, less than 1 foot. Stippling is deposited at intermediate range, 1 to 2 feet. He asks are the edges of this standard rigid? No, different shotguns and shells varies this so we deal with ranges. He began to ask her questions about testing blood and determining what part of the body it came from and for a few moments everyone including the judge was unclear of just what he was asking. She answered, no, it would not be possible to determine what part of the body a blood sample came from once blood samples taken from a body or crime scene.
Atwater asks in Kacie was examined to determine in she had any other scars. Dr. Albers couldn’t be sure without reviewing an autopsy report.
Gomes objects as not relevant. Council approaches bench to discuss relevancy and it’s allowed.
Yes, 2 scars were found. One a 2” scar at midline of lower back. She could not determine the specific procedure but it was consistent with spinal fusion.
Atwell has no further questions and Dr. Albers is excused.
10:07 Gomes recalls officer Jordan for cross examination.
I'm sorry, but Atwaters next questioning was so scattered and I'm so tired I need to get some sleep. I still have 27 5X8 pages of notes to transfer and I'm exhausted. Although 17 pages were on the back sides since I filled this tablet and they are only about 2/3 of the pages. Tomorrow is expected to be a short day so hopefully I can post the rest of todays and tomorrows tomorow.
Going to no zone now, Gene.