Drew Peterson trial – day eighteen. Defense calls forensic pathologists

Artist’s rendition of the “Slip and Fall Dynamics” demonstrative aid presented by the Defense today.

UPDATE 05:31:

Witness DiMaio off the stand and judge tells state to call its next witness.
The judge is back on the bench. He sends for the jury.
Defense calls ISP special agent Robin Queen. She’s been on the force for 11 years & special agent for 7 yrs.
At one point, she interviewed earlier witness Kristin Anderson. “She had lived for a short time with Kathleen Savio.” “Did she ever indicate to you anything about Kathleen Savio having a knife?” “No.”
Queen steps down; defense calls Bridget Bertrand, captain with ISP
Bertrand says she spoke by phone with Kristin Anderson re: a call Anderson made to ISP HQ in 2004.
Bertrand: no officers at ISP HQ recalled speaking to Anderson.
Trial in recess until morning.

UPDATE 04:45:

SA Glasgow’s cross-examination begins.
“There’s a board certification for neuropathology?” “That’s correct.” “And you don’t currently hold that certification?” “That’s correct.”
DiMaio says Dr. Mitchell made one mistake in report: took photo of bruise on breast but didn’t comment on it in report. Otherwise report OK.
DiMaio: No way Savio’s head injury could have been post-mortem. Damage requires blood pressure.
“But once you start the drowning process, a person’s heart could continue to beat for quite some time?” “That’s possible, yes.”
Glasgow: Di Maio co-authored book that says, “basically healthy adults don’t drown in the bathtub.”
DiMaio: 15% of those who slip/fall in tub are ppl not under the influence. 20% of those who slip/fall are. “Alcohol helps,” he says.
Jury sent out of room after Glasgow asks hypothetical question about Savio being hit on head during/after intentional drowning
Glasgow can’t ask about the scenario in which a person is pulled under water by their feet/ankles.
“In your book, you suggest that smooth surfaces tend to produce irregular, Y-shaped injuries?” “Yes, that’s right, they tend to.” The witness is then shown a photo from one of his books, showing a laceration caused by a blow from a baseball bat. “That type of laceration is very similar to the one on Kathy Savio’s head?” “That’s right . . . but it just depends; there’s variations.”
DiMaio says he also charges $400/hr. He’s made $7200 on this case plus additional $4k for work today, yesterday. “I have the bill right here.”
No further questions for DiMaio from Glasgow. Awaiting re-direct…

UPDATE 03:46:

DiMaio says he’s reviewed materials pertinent to Savio case: photos, autopsy reports, docs’ records, interviews, letters, testimony…
DiMaio “I concluded that the death was an accident, due to slipping in the bathtub, and striking the back of the head…”
DiMaio testifies that Savio’s injuries are due to her falling on the left side of her body.
DiMaio on Savio body position: “you have a slick surface, covered with water, you have somebody who is longer than the tub…so when you fall into the tub…the sides of the tub, tend to guide the body down..”
DiMaio believes Savio fell as she was getting out of the tub.
Di Maio: when a person gets up out of hot bath water they could feel dizzy, which could contribute to a fall
Witness says that shampoos and soaps could make the tub surface more slippery
DiMaio: with hard strike to head, you “either lose consciousness for a short time or you’re sort of stunned.”
DiMaio reiterating what Jentzen previously said: Savio died too quickly for microscopic brain damage to later be evident.
DiMaio says he has no doubt that Savio drowned by accident after reviewing reports.
State asks for a moment before starting cross, jury sent out, brief recess.
DiMaio echoes what Jentzen said earlier. Jurors paid attention, took notes.

UPDATE 03:00:

In pretrial hearings, Jentzen testified that Savio hit her head first; not her hip, which he testified today.
No further questions for Jentzen. Defense about to call next witness.
As Jentzen leaves courtroom, Judge Burmila asks him to leave copy of a scholarly paper he wrote on frustrations from dealing with lawyers.
Dr. Vincent DiMaio called to the stand.
He is questioned by Ralph Meczyk. Begins to give background and qualifications.
DiMaio is a textbook author and the author of several scientific papers & letters.
DiMaio says he’s performed approximately 9,000 autopsies and supervised approximately 25,000 more.
DiMaio says drowning by bathtub isn’t very common, but he estimates he’s done about 2-3 autopsies per year in such cases.
The State waives cross-examination, and so DiMaio is qualified as an expert witness.

UPDATE 02:13:

Connor: “I just want to be clear. The witness has testified that he has reviewed a transcript of Dr. Mitchell.” Judge: “If you lay a foundation that he reviewed Dr. Mitchell’s testimony, then he can go into that.”
Jury is called back in
Jentzen says he relied on Dr. Mitchell’s “objective findings,” not Mitchell’s opinion, in forming his own.
Jentzen concedes on cross that there was no pathological evidence of head trauma, but said there would not need to be
Dr. Jentzen maintains accidental fall in tub could have knocked Savio unconscious by causing a concussion.
“It’s possible” injury on Savio’s arm was a defensive injury.
“You have previously testified that the head injury, the head impact would have occurred first?” “I don’t recall.”
Jentzen says he believes Savio hit her hip first, then her head and the head blow caused her to lose consciousness.
Jentzen said fall landing on hip would absorb “some” of the impact. Previous testimony he said first impact area would absorb “most.”
“You indicated basically a total of three bruises . . . in fact, there were eight in Dr. Mitchell’s report. Would that be a fair statement?” “I don’t recall the statement.”
Jentzen says he’s paid about $400/hr for his testimony/research. Says he’s made about $8,000 from this case.

UPDATE 01:30:

Court is back in session, jury being brought in
Ralph Meczyk informs the Court that he has a few more questions he’d like to ask Dr. Jentzen, so the direct examination will continue.
Jentzen is being questioned about the small wound on Savio’s buttocks. He doesn’t consider it an abrasion.
Jentzen believes abrasion to Savio’s left buttocks was a “drying artifact” caused from pruning, being in the water filled tub
ASA Connor begins cross-examination. Witness Jentzen acknowledges that “it’s possible” Savio was killed. “Anything is possible,” he says.
The witness is asked about a demonstrative. “In this demonstrative, this individual’s legs are not enclosed in any sort of conical bathtub?” “Correct.” “So this bears absolutely no relation to the bathroom Kathleen Savio was found in?” “No, it’s just a person falling.” “So it has absolutely no relation to this case?” “I think it shows an individual who’s falling.” “On a flat surface, with nothing around them?” “Yes.”
Sidebar and discussion about the use of the word “testify” in regards to Bryan Mitchell’s testimony at Grand Jury.

UPDATE 12:52:

Court on lunch break until 1:15 CST

For updates from this morning but please check the comment thread.

Thank you to HarleyJoey, CherylJones, Oxymoran, Lostacres and everyone else who pitched in yesterday with updates. You are the best!

We’re following:
Jon Seidel
Stacy St. Clair
In Session
Glenn Marshall
Diane Pathieu
Kara Oko
Dan Rozek
Diane Pathieu

~By commenting you agree to be bound by the rules of this blog. You can contact admins directly by sending an email to petersonstory@gmail.com.~


206 thoughts on “Drew Peterson trial – day eighteen. Defense calls forensic pathologists

  1. Good Morning!

    Judgin – Thanks for that article about Tom on the previous thread. How in the world can Tom say Stacy was lying? He doesn’t know that…. 🙄 I still think they should just leave him out of it!

    Should be an interesting few days!

    I thought the judge said they were starting at 8:30 today, but IS says 9:00 AM. I guess that means by 10 they should be starting. 🙂

  2. In Session‏@InSession

    #drewpeterson attorneys for both sides still milling around in the hallway outside the courtroom.

  3. 🙂 VH!

    Judge Burmila takes the bench. Prosecutor Connor says that before the jury comes in, there are a couple of issues that need to be handled. The first issue is some demonstrative aids that the defense hopes to use, but to which the State objects. One of these demonstratives is entitled “Slip and Fall Dynamics”; according to Connor, it has no relevance to this case. Meczyk responds: “With all due respect, this is a meritless objection . . . this is only a demonstrative assistant; that’s all this is.”

  4. In Session Judge Burmila rules that one of the defense demonstrative exhibits will be banned. He allows the other one, however. A third exhibit will be allowed, after all the test and other additive material has been removed. Glasgow addresses the bench: “This demonstrates a woman whose hands are in front of her as she falls backward . . . there’s nothing around this woman that she’s going to strike; she’s falling in free space. She couldn’t create the velocity to create this injury. This is so out of context . . . this is so far out from anything involved in the State that it would be so prejudicial . . . I would just ask the Court to reconsider its ruling, based on that.” Judge: “It seems to me that you’re aptly able to cross-examine the expert . . . no one will be allowed to argue that this is a depiction of what happened to Ms. Savio; it’s a demonstration about falling, not about Ms. Savio . . . if that opens the door to something you want to try to avail the jury of during rebuttal, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it . . . this is only the dynamic of a fall. If the cross-examination reveals it didn’t happen in this particular fall, then the expert will be damaged by that.”

  5. Stacy St. Clair ‏@StacyStClair
    #drewpeterson judge allows most exhibits, despite strenuous argument from Glasgow, who said the exhibits were extremely prejudicial.

    HOLY COW! Burmilla is going to allow a slip-and-fall video which shows someone falling on a sidewalk and WON’T allow Prosecution to bring in testimony from a pathologist who actually got into the tub to see how the tub could have possibly caused her to go unconscious?

    This judge needs to be tossed off the bench!

  6. In Session Glasgow requests to be allowed to take a photograph of the exhibit in question, to be sent to prosecution expert Dr. Mary Case. “We didn’t get this until yesterday afternoon. If I can get a chance to FAX this to her, we can get an answer, and we’ll be ready to go right away.” Judge: “You don’t want the witness to start until you’ve spoken to Dr. Case?” Glasgow compromises, says that he can wait until after the direct examination to contact Dr. Case. With that, the judge sends for the jury.

  7. In Session The jurors have entered the courtroom. Attorney Ralph Meczyk calls the first defense witness of the day: Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen. He is a forensic pathologist. “Have you reached an opinion as to the cause and manner of the death of Kathleen Savio?” “I have reached an opinion.” Without stating his opinion, the witness goes over his medical and professional background that qualifies him to form such an opinion.

  8. In Session Dr. Jentzen continues to go over his educational and professional background. He is licensed to practice medicine in the states of Michigan and Wisconsin. He is board-certified in the fields of anatomic, clinical, and forensic pathology.

  9. In Session “I’m the Director of Autopsy and Forensic Services at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.” He claims this is rated as one of the top ten medical schools in this country. Until 2008, he was the chief medical examiner in Milwaukee.

  10. In Session The defense shows an exhibit to the prosecution. It is then shown to the witness. “This is a copy of my . . .” Objection/Sustained. “Is that a copy of your resume, or a summary of your accomplishments?” “Yes.” “It’s approximately 29 pages long?” “That’s correct.” But before the C.V. can be projected, the State asks for a sidebar.

    In Session The sidebar ends. “Besides being a board certified pathologist, do you hold any other degrees?’ “Yes, I have a PhD in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin.” His dissertation for that degree was on the history of death investigation in the United States during the 20th Century.

  11. In Session He has previously been the president and the chairman of the board of NAME (the National Association of Medical Examiners). He has also authored one textbook in the field of forensic pathology.

    In Session In addition to his textbook, he has written several articles in his field. He names a few that might have special connection with the Peterson case.

  12. In Session The witness has regularly given lectures to law enforcement agencies.

    In Session One of Dr. Jentzen’s articles, from 2007, specifically dealt with drowning deaths. He has also co-authored an article with prosecution witness Dr. Mary Case (regarding infant head injuries). “Would that be relevant to the testimony you expect to give today?” “Yes.” He and Case also co-authored a “position paper” that dealt with aspects of head injuries. And a third article he co-authored with Dr. Case had to do with Shaken Baby Syndrome.

  13. In Session The witness is tendered as an expert witness in the field of forensic pathology. The State has no objection, and so Dr. Jentzen is qualified as an expert in his field.

    In Session Dr. Jentzen lists the documents that he has reviewed in the matter of the death of Kathleen Savio (scene reports, Savio’s medical reports, the autopsy reports, the expert testimony of Drs. Blum and Case, and written reports by Drs. DiMaio, Leetsma, and Spitz). “Have you been able to arrive at a conclusion as to the manner of death?” “I have . . . it’s my opinion that Kathleen Savio died from drowning, and that the manner of death is accidental . . . because of the circumstances of the death, the position of the body, the injury patterns, the disease processes, and the toxicology examination.”

  14. Jentzen noted a necklace Savio was wearing was still intact, which meant to him there likely was no struggle. #DrewPeterson

    Unless you were put in a hold that rendered you unconscious and then held under water

  15. In Session “Did you notice a pattern of injuries to Ms. Savio?” “I did . . . Ms. Savio was lying in the bathtub on a left lateral position . . . she was lying on her left side, with a one-inch laceration on the left back section of her scalp.” “Most of her injuries were to the left side of her body?” “Correct . . . the injury patterns I saw on Katherine [sic] Savio were on the left side, over bony prominences . . . these injuries are classic for an individual who falls. When people fall, they fall on the corners of their body, their elbows, their chins . . . this injury pattern is classic for a fall . . . it’s in the areas that you’d expect an individual to sustain an injury in a fall or a slip and fall.” He claims he’s seen injuries like this “almost weekly” in his work as a medical examiner. “Did you see anything that would indicate to you a fall or a struggle?” “I did not . . . there was a very delicate gold necklace around the neck that was intact . . . there was no breaking of the fingernails or any defensive injuries.”

  16. In Session “Did you notice any injury to her face?” “No.” “Would that be a classic injury to struggle?” “Yes, you would expect that.” Over a prosecution objection, Dr. Jentzen stands up and demonstrates that parts of the body where one would expect to find defensive injuries. “Did you notice injuries of that nature on Ms. Savio’s body?” “No, I did not.”

    In Session In order to better explain his testimony, the witness steps down from the stand to the well of the courtroom. He is then directed to a demonstrative aid. “This would be indicative of a typical slip and fall. Your feet go off the ground; they lose contact with the surface.” “They literally fly up into the air?” “Correct; their feet lose contact with the surface.” The witness then returns to the witness stand.

  17. In Session Dr. Jentzen says he has reviewed the trial testimony of prosecution expert Dr. Larry Blum. “Based on your experience and training, is there anything unusual about the position of Ms. Savio’s body in that bathtub?” “None to explain anything else but a fall.” “Do you find the position of Ms. Savio’s body to be unusual, indicating a homicide?” “No. It’s lying on the left side; that’s where all the injuries are. She’s in a kind of fetal position, basically because she is longer than the tub is. There has been some settling; her body has settled somewhat lower into the tub, and there is some compression of the toes. And you can see the lividity pattern, which is the settling of blood after a person dies.”

  18. In Session “I’m going to talk to you about the laceration . . . is there anything unusual about the appearance, the configuration, the orientation of the laceration in this case?” “No, there’s nothing unexpected about this laceration . . . it’s in a typical place where an individual would sustain that injury with a fall.” “A laceration is a tear?” “Correct.” “Do tears make any typical type of sign?” “They could be satellite (?), or triangularly shaped, or horizontal, or vertical . . . depending on where the force is, and how they strike.” “Do you find it unusual in this case?” “Absolutely not. This is a class injury, caused by a fall where there were numerable surfaces where a head could strike.”

  19. Wish they could set all these professionals across from each other, and explain while they, as experts, came up with different conclusions

  20. In Session “Are there any contours on that tub that would cause that type of injury to the back of Ms. Savio’s head?” “Yes, there are . . any of the edges, those are the types of areas where when a scalp forcibly strikes them you would get a laceration . . . it would be certainly consistent with an impact onto the edge of the tub, correct.”

  21. In Session The witness is directed to an exhibit that has been projected on a screen. “Is that the scalp wound that Ms. Savio received?” “Yes, it is.” “Did Ms. Savio have a full head of hair?” “Yes, a thick head of hair.” “If someone struck one of the contours of that tub and received that type of a gash, would there be any evidence, any proof of hair or tissue transfers on that tub?” “There certainly be hair, but we wouldn’t expect any blood or other type of transference . . . when there’s impact, there’s a crushing impact on the blood vessels. And individuals with thick hair cover up the laceration, and prevent blood from immediately spattering onto the impact site . . . the wound basically tears, and then it comes together.” “Is there an interval between the time of impact and when you have hemorrhage or bleeding?” “Yes, and the amount of hair would also impede the blood flowing from outside the wound.”

    In Session “Now I’d like to talk to you about the examination on the lower right quadrant . . . is this an injury of sufficient magnitude?” “Yes, there was an impact to that area.” “When Ms. Savio struck her head, could that injury have caused loss of consciousness?” “Yes, very definitely.”

  22. In Session “The pelvic crest . . . is that the hip bone?” “Yes, the hip bone, on the front portion . . . it’s the bony prominence where there’s an attachment of a number of muscles . . . it’s generally visible on individuals.” “How many bruises did you see on the pelvic crest?” “There was one bruise.” “How do you know it was one bruise?” “It was a bruise accentuated in coloration in areas . . . but when looked at in totality, it was one bruise; it looked like one bruise with a small area of folding in the middle of it.” “Were there three bruises, or only one?” “Only one.” “Can you age this bruise, or other bruises?” “This bruise appeared to be an acute bruise . . . I could call it recent . . . I can’t age it with certainty, but I can say it was anywhere between two minutes to two hours to two days, or possibly even longer. It had a purple appearance, as a recent bruise.” “Can you date it?” “It’s difficult.” “Can you say this bruise is nice and fresh, as Dr. Blum opined?’ “It’s a recent bruise. It could be a couple hours old. Or it could be a couple days.”

    In Session Dr. Jentzen is now asked about the bruise on Kathleen Savio’s left breast. But before he can get into the subject, the parties approach the bench for a sidebar.

  23. HarleyJoey – you are my hero! I too can’t believe that Jentzen was allowed to demonstrate a slip and fall when the state couldn’t even talk about getting into the bathtub.

    (I’m still waiting for Comcast)

  24. This was just before the recess:

    In Session The jurors and the witness are now gone. Prosecutor Connor addresses the Court, claiming that “the colors don’t look right” in an exhibit the defense is hoping to use. Judge: “You’re not suggesting that they altered it?” Prosecutor Patton: “No, absolutely not . . . I think it’s a matter of consistency . . . I just don’t want to confuse the jury.” Judge: “They can use their photograph, if they want to do that.”

  25. Hi Facs! Glad to help out!

    I think the prosecution will do ok on cross. As VH posted above…. There was a time when Jentzen said he would change his opinion if he knew that the investigation was flawed. I don’t think he is doing any damage! 😉

  26. Wow if thick hair impeeded the bloodflow, would that thick hair also have buffered the fall and not necessarily knocked her out?

  27. Judge Burmila is back on the bench. The jurors and the witness return to the courtroom. “When she struck the back of the tub with her head, did her head bounce off?” “Yes, I believe it did.” The witness is asked about the bruise to Savio’s left breast. “In my opinion, it’s a recent bruise . . . it could be a matter of
    hours to a matter of days old.” “Can you date it with any more specificity?” “No.” “Can you rely on Dr. Mitchell’s autopsy?” “Yes, it’s a common practice.” “Do you believe that Dr. Mitchell performed a sound, competent autopsy on the body of Ms. Savio?” “Yes . . . sufficient so that I could render an opinion.”

  28. she was lying on her left side, with a one-inch laceration on the left back section of her scalp.” “Most of her injuries were to the left side of her body?” “Correct . . .
    Maybe a mistake….wasn’t the laceration on the RIGHT SIDE OF SCALP????

  29. Stacy St. Clair ‏@StacyStClair

    #DrewPeterson expert witness Jentzen says Savio’s clavical bruises are too evenly distributed to have been the result of an attack, assault

    Not is they were gotten by being pressed down into a very evenly distributed toilet bowl ring

  30. In Session “Did you notice bruising in the area of Ms. Savio’s clavicle?” “Yes.” “Did you notice hemorrhage there?” “I did.” ‘Was there anything unusual?” “No.” “There were two bruises there?” “Yes . . .they appeared to be generally symmetrical.” The witness stands up, and demonstrates for the jury where he saw these injuries to Savio’s body. “Based on your training and experience, can you tell us whether or not those symmetrical bruises are indicative of a sign of an assault or a struggle?’ “In my opinion, their location is atypical for an assaultive injury. The fact they’re symmetrical indicates they’re most typical of striking a surface . . . it wouldn’t be an indication I would have for an assaultive injury.”

  31. In Session The witness now moves to the subject of Kathleen Savio’s diaphragm. “Is it a muscle that has a lot of vasculature?” “No, it’s a very thin muscle, not as well supplied with blood as the scalp or other areas . . . it’s probably at maximum a quarter of an inch thick.” “Have you read Dr. Blum’s report?” “I did.” “Where he references Dr. Baden’s findings?” “Correct.” “Recall whether or not Dr. Baden discovered hemorrhages of the diaphragm?” “Dr. Bade describes a dark discoloration that he believes was hemorrhage in the area.” “Did Dr. Mitchell discover that dark area?” “He did not.” “Did you consider Dr. Mitchell to be a competent pathologist?” “Yes.” ‘Did Dr. Blum discover this dark area of discoloration?” “He did not.” “Did Dr. Baden take a tissue sample of what he claimed to be a dark area in that hemorrhage?” “Yes.” “Do you know if Dr. Baden himself sat down and examined that sample himself?” “I do not believe he did; it wasn’t referenced in any of his reports . . . he submitted it to Dr. Blum.” “Did you have an opportunity to look at the slide that Dr. Baden made?” “I did.” “Was that the slide that represented the diaphragm tissue?” “Yes . . . I didn’t see any hemorrhage in the tissue of the diaphragm that would indicate that there was real hemorrhage there. But there was a clump of red blood cells that I believe was an artifact . . . it does not indicate, in my opinion, any hemorrhage in the diaphragm.” “Do your findings contradict Dr. Baden?” “Yes . . . I didn’t see active hemorrhage in the diaphragm, no.” “Have any doubt about that?” “No . . . the hemorrhage was not observed by Dr. Mitchell, who had the best opportunity . . . it would have been a very unique area to have hemorrhage in; it would be very visible . . . it’s very unusual to have injury to the diaphragm . . . there’s very rarely hemorrhage into the muscle of the diaphragm.”

  32. In Session “I want to now talk to you about consciousness and unconsciousness . . . that general topic area. How do you define a concussion?” “A trauma-inducted change in mental stats, or a change in your mentation, related to trauma . . . it’s graded from 1 to 5 . . . grades 5 is a loss of consciousness for over ten minutes . . . in a concussion, there is no structural or pathological finding in the brain tissue; there are no lesions that can be seen with even a CAT scan or an MRI . . . it’s more of a non-pathological change in mental status.” “Can that concussion cause a loss of consciousness, even momentarily?” “It can, in many occasions.” ‘Can it cause dizziness?” “Yes.” “A disorientation?” “Yes;” “In your opinion, could Kathleen Savio have struck her head, not lost consciousness, but become dazed?” “Yes.” “Then slipped underwater, and drowned?” “Yes.” “Dr. Mitchell didn’t see any physical injury whatsoever to the brain?” “That’s correct; he described no bruising or contusion to the brain, or around the brain substance.” “You have read the booklet containing your colleague Dr. Case’s opinion about loss of consciousness?” “Yes. “And you’re aware of her qualifications?” “Yes.” “And she’s a neuropathologist?” “Yes.” “Are you qualified to speak about neuropathology?” “Certainly. In every examination I do, I examine the brain tissue.”

  33. In Session The witness is asked about Dr. Case’s opinion that this was a homicide. “I disagree vehemently with that opinion . . . a concussion without any identifiable pathology injuries can cause loss of consciousness . . . I believe that Dr. Case is confused with interpreting what a fatal brain injury would be.” “So you can have this type of a head injury, where there’s nothing at all, no physical damage to the naked eye, and still lose consciousness?” “Correct.” “Have you seen that as a forensic pathologist?” “I have

  34. In Session Dr. Jentzen is asked about the forces necessary to tear axons in the human brain. “When someone has a head injury as Ms. Savio had, would those axons be damaged?” “It’s possible . . . they would be invisible for up to a number of hours, had she lived . . . the other explanation is that she had a concussion, with no injury to the brain. Dr. Mitchell didn’t look at the microscopic tissue from the brain.”

  35. In Session “Could a CAT scan or an MRI have detected this axonal damage?” “It’s possible an MRI could.” The witness steps down from the stand, identifies a demonstrative chart showing axonal damage. “These are nerve cells inside the brain. They have long fibers which transmit the electrical stimuli . . . these long fibers go to the spinal cord, and interact with other nerves of the body . . . a typical neuron is microscopic; it’s invisible to the naked eye . . . as it’s torn, we see this circular retraction ball under the microscope. That’s what pathologists look for under the microscope, to diagnose this injury. It’s not seen for many hours later.” According to this witness, “it’s likely she could have had axonal injury that was not detected.” “If Dr. Mitchell had taken samples right after death, would he have seen axonal injury?” “No . . . it’s a very severe injury.” “Would we have known that with Ms. Savio? Did she live long enough to find out?” “No. She drowned.”

  36. In Session “She could have suffered a severe head injury that could have resulted in axonal injury . . . it’s identifiable later on, but you can’t see it.” “It would not have been seen upon gross examination of her brain?” “Correct.” “Do you agree that Dr. Mary Case is just plain wrong that if there was a loss of consciousness you’d see gross brain injury?” “She’s wrong.” “Do we have your word on it?” Objection/Sustained. Do we have your assurance on it, to a degree of medical certainty?’ “Yes, she would have had loss of consciousness without any visible alteration to the brain tissue.”

  37. In Session The witness confirms that he is being compensated for his work in this case. However, he denies that this compensation has affected his opinion. “Based on your review of trial testimony, reports, police reports, and other materials furnished to you . . . have you come to a conclusion with respect to the manner of death of Kathleen Savio?” “Yes, IK have an opinion. It’s my opinion that she died from drowning, and the manner of death is accidental . . . she slipped and fell, she struck the left side of her body . . . she sustained a head injury, she was rendered unconscious, and in an unconscious state she drowned in the tub . . . I would certify the death as drowning, and the manner of death as accident.”

    In Session The direct examination of Dr. Jentzen is now concluded. Judge Burmila calls the lunch recess at this time. The jurors leave the courtroom, and the trial is in recess until 1:15 CT/2:15 ET.

  38. I’m back online! Thank you Harley for posting the in session updates all this time. If you want to continue be my guest – they are super helpful..like you!

  39. Thanks harleyjoey for all your hard work.

    Even with my most positive hat on this morning…the sun is shining in Seattle…I believe this witness creates a great deal of DOUBT for the jury…and even for yours truly.

    OTOH Its only when I think of the amazing, one in a 100 billion odds that one of the few people in the world that wanted Kathleen dead…in fact there maybe no more than the one person …. the person who knew how to kill without a struggle… who stood to gain by her disappearance by protecting his cherished pension…who lived within 5 minutes of her house…who had previously shown the ability to enter other people’s homes dressed in black SWAT uniform to threaten them with death…who had attempted to solicit a hitman to kill this very person who had herself forecast that this person would kill her and make it seem like an accident….would also on that VERY SAME night return home with dressed in his SWAT gear and a bagful of woman’s clothing which he proceeded to wash and then tell his wife the police will soon be coming and that she must lie to give him an alibi. To this I add odds on that very same night of a healthy 40 year old woman taking a bath and breaking the habits of a lifetime by keeping her hair down,her jewelry on and for no apparent medical reason falling and dying.

    So while the so-called head experts may disagree, there is no doubt that Savio is dead and that common sense tells us that the likelihood of the events depicted above occurring as a result of an accidental death are negligible. Any reasonable jury member would clearly have to convict.

  40. I bet at least some of the jurors are cynical enough to dimiss what Jentzen says, no matter his declaration that his fee didn’t influence his findings.

  41. I am still absolutely shocked that Burmilla allowed Jentzen to get up and demonstrate ANYTHING when he wouldn’t allow an opposing pathologist from testifying that he physically went to the house, touched the tub’s surfaces and crawled INTO the tub to verify his findings.


    It would seem to me that the testimony of Jentzen allows the Prosecution to revisit the judge’s decision to restrict the Prosecution’s pathologist (forgot his name). Surely this man should now be allowed to testify that he physically got into the tub in order to verify his diagnosis!!

  42. The State only succeeded in removing the jury once during Jenzen’s testimony, thereby allowing the jurors to follow along relatively comfortably.

    By contrast the Defense managed to get the jury removed FOUR times during Mary Cases direct testimony thereby making it much harder for the State to get its point across to the jury.

    Indeed the Defense were extremely adept at interrupting the flow of most of the State’s witnesses.

    Just saying.

  43. I just got back home. I just hope the cross is as good today as it was yesterday! If they can do it again, one, by bringing up Dr. Jentzen’s previous comment, I think they’ll win the prize of the day. They’re going to have to keep their noses to the grindstone, though. Nothing can be slipped through by the defense from here on out.
    Harleyjoey, you’re wonderful. Don’t leave us now!
    Facs, I’m glad you’re back!

  44. I only had time to skim the InSession reports, but something stuck out for me….

    Bruises in the collar bone area and in the sternum/diaphragm area — symmetrical bruises. That sure sounds like the location of bruises if someone was being drowned in a toilet!

    C’mon Prosecution — how could you miss that as a clear indication as to manner of death?

    I hope and pray you get your collective heads together and push for a FAIR trial. So far, the judge has hog-tied your case and made a mockery of the court system.

    This really is sickening bias on the judge’s part.

  45. Yesterdays Witness List. Hope I did not miss anyone
    Mary Pontarelli
    Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Bryan Falat
    Joseph Steadman, Insurance Claims Adjuster
    Joseph Basile, FBI Special Agent
    Rob Sud, Bolingbrook police officer
    Darrin Devine, Special Agent Illinois State Police

  46. In Session The jurors are now back in the courtroom and attorney Meczyk resumes his direct examination of Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen. “I want to ask you about another area of Ms. Savio’s anatomy, the buttock region . . . do you see that discolored area?’ “I do.” “Do you have an opinion what that mark is?” “I’m pointing to the area that is this reddish area in the buttock . . . I think it’s a drying artifact, a desiccation of the skin that we typically see in bodies that have been exposed to air for a period of time.” “Your conclusion is that that discolored portion is an artifact of air?” “Of drying.” He disagrees with the opinions of Dr. Blum and Dr. Case that this mark is an abrasion.

    In Session Once again, the witness says he believes Savio’s death was caused by an accidental fall, which led to her drowning.

    In Session “Did you ever author a paper on fatal head injuries in infants and young children?” “Yes.” The State objects to this question, and so the parties approach the bench for a sidebar.

  47. In Session The sidebar ends. The witness is shown a copy of the paper in question. “Did you ever author this paper on fatal abusive head injuries in infants and young children?” “Yes, I coauthored that article.” “There is a chapter in the article called ‘Diffuse Brain Injury’?’ “Yes.” The attorney quotes from the article (referring to axonal injuries). “Those are your words?” “Yes.” ‘Did someone else use those words alongside you?” “Dr. Mary Case was the coauthor of the article.” “So those are her words, along with your words?” “Yes.”

  48. In Session According to the witness, with special stains the injuries to the axon can be seen in as short a time as two hours. But the victim must remain alive for those injuries to be perceived.

    In Session “Did you also notice a shin injury?” “Yes, there were injuries to both shins. They were recent contusions, or recent bruises . . . they were insignificant, symmetrical bruises, characteristics of striking tables and cars, indicative of daily living.” That concludes the direct examination of this witness.

  49. In Session Prosecutor Connor begins his cross. “You’ve previously testified in this case that it’s possible this case was a homicide?” “That’s correct . . . basically, anything is possible.”

  50. In Session The witness is asked about a demonstrative. “In this demonstrative, this individual’s legs are not enclosed in any sort of conical bathtub?” “Correct.” “So this bears absolutely no relation to the bathroom Kathleen Savio was found in?” “No, it’s just a person falling.” “So it has absolutely no relation to this case?” “I think it shows an individual who’s falling.” “On a flat surface, with nothing around them?” “Yes.”

    In Session The defense asks for a sidebar.

  51. In Session The sidebar ends, and the jury is excused from the courtroom. Attorney Greenberg makes an objection about the State’s use of the word “testify,” in regard to Dr. Bryan Mitchell’s testimony. Since Dr. Mitchell only testified at the grand jury, and was never subject to cross-examination in this case, Greenberg insists that it’s leaving the wrong impression with this jury. “It’s improper . . . and you previously cautioned the State not to do it.” Prosecutor Connor responds, claims that Dr. Jentzen testified on direct examination that he reviewed the trial testimony of Dr. Mitchell. “Here’s the problem: there was no trial testimony of Dr. Mitchell. He has actually relied on Dr. Mitchell’s grand jury testimony.”

  52. In Session Judge Burmila takes a moment to look through his notes. “Where did he [Dr. Jentzen] say that he reviewed Dr. Mitchell’s trial testimony?” Connor: “Right at the beginning.” Judge: “You believe he mentioned Dr. Mitchell?” Connor: “I believe I heard him mention the word ‘Mitchell,’ Your Honor. Obviously, if I’m wrong, I heartily apologize.”

  53. In Session The judge decides to take a brief recess at this point, so that he can review the record from this morning’s court reporter (who is not the same person who’s in the courtroom this afternoon). He leaves the bench.

  54. On the IS FB page they have a drawing of the “Slip and fall dynamics”! I about laughed out loud when I saw it. Not sure how to bring it here…. Facs?

    It is absolutely ridiculous! 😆

  55. “Did Ms. Savio have a full head of hair?” “Yes, a thick head of hair.” “If someone struck one of the contours of that tub and received that type of a gash, would there be any evidence, any proof of hair or tissue transfers on that tub?” “There certainly be hair, but we wouldn’t expect any blood or other type of transference . . . when there’s impact, there’s a crushing impact on the blood vessels. And individuals with thick hair cover up the laceration, and prevent blood from immediately spattering onto the impact site . . . the wound basically tears, and then it comes together.” “Is there an interval between the time of impact and when you have hemorrhage or bleeding?” “Yes, and the amount of hair would also impede the blood flowing from outside the wound.”

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think this is COMPLETE medical bullshit?? Scalp and head wounds bleed like there is no tomorrow, regardless of the amount or thickness of the hair. This is basic first aid knowledge. I dunno about that 29 page resume. Sounds to me like this guy needs to go back and retake some classes.


    “Did you notice bruising in the area of Ms. Savio’s clavicle?” “Yes.” “Did you notice hemorrhage there?” “I did.” ‘Was there anything unusual?” “No.” “There were two bruises there?” “Yes . . .they appeared to be generally symmetrical.” The witness stands up, and demonstrates for the jury where he saw these injuries to Savio’s body. “Based on your training and experience, can you tell us whether or not those symmetrical bruises are indicative of a sign of an assault or a struggle?’ “In my opinion, their location is atypical for an assaultive injury. The fact they’re symmetrical indicates they’re most typical of striking a surface . . .

    Couldn’t symmetrical bruising around the clavicle be sustained by someone holding her head down in a toilet or a tub and drowning her??

  56. In Session The judge is back on the bench. Connor: “I just want to be clear. The witness has testified that he has reviewed a transcript of Dr. Mitchell.” Judge: “If you lay a foundation that he reviewed Dr. Mitchell’s testimony, then he can go into that.” With that, the judge sends for the jury.

  57. In Session The jurors and the witness have returned to the courtroom. Prosecutor Connor resumes his cross-examination of Dr. Jentzen. “”You reviewed materials from Dr. Bryan Mitchell?” “Yes.” “Did you rely on all those materials?” “I relied upon his autopsy protocol and his photographs. I certainly didn’t rely on his opinions . . .just the protocol and the photographs.”

  58. Harley, I can’t post Christine Cornell’s sketches on the blog. I was asked to remove the ones that I had up here.

    I LOL’d when I saw the “slip and fall” drawing though. All that was missing was a banana peel!

  59. According to Dr. Jentzen, “it’s possible” Savio’s left breast injury was a result of the same incident that caused her other injuries.

    In 2010 he said it was caused by her falling on a bar of soap. I kid you not!

  60. In Session According to Dr. Jentzen, “it’s possible” Savio’s left breast injury was a result of the same incident that caused her other injuries. The defense asks for a sidebar.

    Nothing against Christine Cornell….I just mean the picture!

    😆 Facs… yep just missing the banana peel!

  61. In Session The sidebar ends. The witness is confronted with his prior testimony in this case. “Today you said that was one area of contusion; previously, you said it was three separate areas of contusion?” “Correct.”

    In Session Dr. Jentzen repeats that the clump of red blood cells he saw in the diaphragm are an artifact. “So it’s your testimony those red blood cells are not indicative of hemorrhage in any way?” “In to the diaphragm, yes.’

  62. Another comment that I’m sure has been brought up before: if she did indeed fall in the bathtub and drown, then why weren’t the surfaces around the tub wet? Water displaces when people splash down into it.

  63. In Session Dr. Jentzen disagrees with Dr. Baden’s and Dr. Case’s conclusions that there was an injury to the diaphragm. “You testified about the different grades of concussion?” “I said the concussion caused loss of consciousness for various periods of times.” “So diffuse axonal injury doesn’t really relate to the concussion . . . [but to] severe head injury.” “Do you disagree with Dr. Case’s testimony that there would not have been enough force generated in the small bathroom for either concussion or diffuse axonal injury?” “I disagree with it.” “So you say sufficient force could have been generated to cause either a severe head injury or either a grade four or five concussion?” “Definitely.” The witness concedes, however, that there are “no pathological findings” of this in Savio’s brain. “You can have a concussion without severe head trauma. There was no severe head trauma in this case.”

  64. In Session “Is it your testimony here today that the hip injury, thigh, buttock, and arm were all fresh injuries at the time of the autopsy?” Objection/Sustained. “The injuries you’ve testified to were all recent?” “Correct.” “You’re aware the buttock injury was described by Drs. Baden, Blum, and Case as an abrasion?” “Yes.” “And it was described in Dr. Mitchell’s autopsy protocol, as well, as an abrasion?” “Correct . . . [but] it’s a dried artifact.”

  65. In Session The witness concedes that “it’s possible” that injuries to Savio’s arms and hands could be defensive injuries. “I wouldn’t characterize them as defensive injuries . . . I wouldn’t consider them to be typical defensive-type injuries.”

  66. He is completely contradicting himself, just like I said earlier. He is loosing credibility in his testimony. I am sure the Jury is paying attention

  67. I guess the Def must be hoping that Tom is going to be their star witness, that is going to sway the jury in their favor, just in case they are on the fence.

  68. In Session “This bruising on the right finger, on the right hand . . . that would not be a defensive injury?” “That’s correct.” Prosecutor Connor continues to ask Dr. Jentzen about the injuries suffered by Kathleen Savio, one by one.

  69. In Session “You have previously testified that the head injury, the head impact would have occurred first?” “I don’t recall.”

    In Session Once Dr. Jentzen is finished with his testimony, forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent DiMaio is expected to be the next defense witness. He’s been sitting in the courthouse hallway all day, awaiting his turn.

    In Session Prosecutor Connor once again challenges Dr. Jentzen with previous testimony. “I don’t recall the question.”

  70. Jentzen said fall landing on hip would absorb “some” of the impact. Previous testimony he said first impact area would absorb “most.”

    He said a LOT of goofy stuff at the hearsay hearing. I hope it’s all dragged out.

  71. Really?

    Dan Rozek‏@DanRozek1

    #DrewPeterson Dr. Jantzen said even if Savio’s hip hit tub first, she still could have been knocked unconscious.

  72. Just what does this clown think a hemmorage is except blood, therefore red blood cells? I think he put it that way to make it sound more “sciencey”. What he’s saying is a clump of red cells just appeared from nowhere. Yeah.

  73. He just stated that even if she hit hip first, it still could have knocked her unconscious. So you guys better be careful and never fall on your hip, because it could knock you out. This is somewhat pathetic

  74. In Session “You indicated basically a total of there bruises . . . in fact, there were eight in Dr. Mitchell’s report. Would that be a fair statement?” “I don’t recall the statement.” Dr. Jentzen indicates that “the laceration was caused by a blow to the head . . . the decedent was probably rendered unconscious and drowned. There’s a possibility she could have just been stunned. But probably she was unconscious.”

  75. In Session “The body of Kathleen Savio was face down, with an injury to the back of her head . . . it’s your testimony she ended up face first, despite an initial fall backwards?” “I believe she was found lying on her left side. Her face is to the left lateral position.” Despite being shown a photo of the body in the tub, Dr. Jentzen maintains “that is not a face down position.” Once again, he insists that the injury to her buttock is actually “a drying artifact . . . we see it all the time with bodies that are out in the air for some time . . they occur in certain areas of the buttock area . . . the buttock crevice area . . . I can’t explain it.”

  76. In Session The witness denies that part of his opinion in this case is “pure speculation.” “You indicated her necklace was still on the body, and that indicated something . . . again, that’s pure speculation?” “No, I’ve seen jewelry torn and off because of a struggle.” “She had no injuries to her face from a struggle . . . but a struggle could occur when someone approaches from behind as well, and there would be no injuries on the face?” Objection/Overruled. “I can’t answer the question; I wouldn’t know how the injuries would occur . . . I’m not sure how to answer your question.” “The mechanism of death would be the inhalation of water?” “The mechanism of death is drowning.”

  77. In Session The witness says he charges $400 an hour for his testimony and preparation. “For the entire case, I’m approaching probably $8,000.” The judge calls the attorneys to a sidebar.

  78. Once again, he insists that the injury to her buttock is actually “a drying artifact . . . we see it all the time with bodies that are out in the air for some time . . they occur in certain areas of the buttock area . . . the buttock crevice area . . . I can’t explain it.”

    $400 an hour but he can’t explain it.

  79. In Session The sidebar ends. The jurors are excused from the courtroom, and the judge calls a brief recess. He leaves the bench.

  80. Methinks he’s gone too far….looking highly suspicious that he disagrees with *everything* the other pathologists say.

    He’s got a good thing going, I guess….build a huge resume and then sell it! By the by, I think a neuropathologist trumps a generalist when we’re talking brain injuries. I’m not impressed with Jentzen’s invisible brain injuries.

    I can’t wait for the cross

  81. Just the other day, when I was taking a nice, long walk in my bathtub, I fell and hit the back of my head, then my body sprung forward, creating a perfect, symmetrical bruise under each clavicle. Luckily, thanks to my full head of thick hair, I only sustained a one-inch gash on the back of my head that didn’t bleed very much, even though it did cause me to lose consciousness. I went to the doctor, but he said that I did not have a concussion, just that pesky one inch gash…..

  82. Oh, I forgot to mention the bruise I also got in the crevice of my ass due to the fall. It was pretty big, but I just decided to air it out, you know, so that it would dry up, because that’s what bruises do, you see. They just dry up when they are aired out….

  83. Hip first, then head, then unconscious, then drowning. So where do those pesky symmetrical bruises on her clavicle come from. She must have really bounced around that bathtub

  84. and to think of all those impacts, and NOTHING was disturbed around the bathtub. Drew would have been better off staging it as a random murder, with a visible forced entry, rather then too cleaned up of an accident scene. He is street smart, but not as smart as he thinks

  85. Dmitri – you have me LOLing! i know it’s not funny, but his scenario doesn’t make much sense at all. Is Jentzen working for the defense or the prosecution??

  86. I llove all the sarcastic comments being raised by my fellow posters here on The Justice Cafe. WAy to go Dimitri, Harley, Fac, Lost Acres, altgran, Cheryl…this witness certainly seems to have brought the best out of y’all. Lets hope thej ury has the same reaction!

  87. Hey, listen, it’s late here, and I’m just a little tired. I know this is no laughing matter, but seriously! these guys must think that the jury are a bunch of idiots to buy this load of crap! The testimony today just makes no medical sense! Let’s hope that the jury sees it, too.

    Yes, I do think the injury to the crevice of the buttocks could have occurred by dragging – like rug burn. That particular injury isn’t a whisper, it’s a shout! Just like the clavicle injuries and the one on the hip.

  88. In Session The jurors are now back in the courtroom. Prosecutor Connor continues his cross-examination: The witness is asked about his prior testimony (in which he indicated that Savio probably hit her head first, which is not what he’s said today). “I don’t recall it.” “Is there anything that would refresh your recollection?” “If it was in the court documents, I would assume that would be my testimony.” That concludes the cross-examination of this witness.

  89. Jentzen is working for his wallet. For him to deny that she is face down and her position is a result of a fall with no other possibilities says it all. Getting up on the stand and saying another expert is completely wrong about everything is a sure sign that they are being told what to say for a price. Especially, if he thought so much of Dr. Cases’ abilities that they would publish several books together. Maybe he was just the typist!

  90. Jentzen: ok ok, look who cares about what part of her body hit first, where the bruising came from, dried bruises on her buttocks, she fell in da tub and she drowned, cause thats where she was found dead from drowning. Now that I have earned by 8k, its time for me to go home. I have some golfing to do, ya know!

  91. In Session Attorney Meczyk begins his redirect. Once again, the witness is asked about some prior testimony (regarding the three separate bruises v. one impact question). “You said it was possible it could be three separate impacts, or could be the same impact?” “Yes.” “Doctor, you told the jury you’ve been paid $8,000?” “Yes.” “Because you’re an amateur or a professional?” “I am a professional forensic pathologist . . . I have used a lot of time and effort in this case.” “Does that amount of money influence in any way the opinion you’ve rendered before this jury?” “No, it’s just for my time and effort.” That’s it for redirect. There is no recross, and so the witness is excused.

  92. In Session The next defense witness takes the stand: Dr. Vincent DiMaio (questioned by Ralph Meczyk). “Did I ask you to come to a conclusion as to the death of Ms. Kathleen Savio?” “Yes.” “Did you do that?” “Yes, Sir.” Before he gives that opinion, however, he is questioned about his educational and professional background. Just as he is about to start, the judge calls the attorneys to a sidebar.

  93. In Session The sidebar ends. The witness is a medical doctor. “I specialize in pathology, specifically the area of forensic pathology . . . for 43 years, since 1969.” He is licensed in the state of Texas. He goes over his educational and professional background. He is board-certified in anatomical, clinical, and forensic pathology.

    In Session Dr. DiMaio’s father was once the chief medical examiner of New York City. This witness was formerly the chief medical examiner of Bexar County, TX (which includes the city of San Antonio) for 25 years. “I retired December 31, 2006.” While in that position, he supervised four other forensic pathologists (as well as periodic trainees).

  94. it makes you wonder if pathology is really a science when two of its leading experts are this far apart on a simple head-wound.

    And to think the Courts reject polygraphs cos they “only” 96% reliable.

    Anyways, in my experience, common sense is usually the most reliable interpreter of a case with a large number of coincidences such as those surrounding the death of Kathy Savio.

    Lets hope our jury is blessed with common sense in abundance…and based on their age profile it looks like they could well be so endowed,

  95. In Session Dr. DiMaio has been the executive editor of the American Journal of Forensic Pathology since 1992. He’s helped draw up the standards in use at autopsies. He also worked with the United Nations relating to the prosecution of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.

    In Session The witness has authored four forensic pathology textbooks (and edited a fifth). One was coauthored with his late father. Another was written with his wife, a forensic nurse. In addition, he’s written and published numerous articles and scientific letters.

  96. In Session Over his career, DiMaio has personally performed approximately 9,000 autopsies (and supervised another 25,000). “I used to do it [perform autopsies] on a daily basis, until I retired.” He estimates he’s performed “at least a hundred” autopsies on drowning victims. That includes victims who drowned in bathtubs. “They’re not very common . . . mostly children involved.”

    In Session Dr. DiMaio has been qualified as an expert in “maybe two thirds of states, plus the Canadian government, Israel, South Africa, and Colombia.” He’s also testified in U.S. federal courts. He is then tendered as an expert in forensic pathology. The State waives cross-examination, and so DiMaio is qualified as an expert witness.

  97. In Session The witness goes over the numerous material that he’s reviewed in the case of Kathleen Savio’s death (including the reports of Drs. Blum, Case, Baden, Jentzen, and Daniel Spitz). “Have you been able to come to a conclusion concerning . . .” The attorneys approach the bench for a sidebar.

  98. The Herald-News ‏@Joliet_HN

    Di Maio: Savio slipped in bathtub, hit the back of her head, slid under the water and drowned. #DrwePeterson

    so where have we heard that before. We want to know how that happened exactly.
    I love your last post Oxy, exactly my thoughts. Common sense

  99. In Session The sidebar ends. Dr. DiMaio: “I concluded that the death was an accident, due to slipping in the bathtub and hitting the back of the head. This stunned Ms. Savio or rendered her unconscious. She slipped under the water, and she drowned.” “Did she have a pattern of injuries?” “Yes . . . they’re consistent with the pattern of injuries one would see if one fell on the left side of one’s body. They’re the injuries consistent with a fall and striking one’s head on a hard surface.” “Did you see any signs of a struggle?” “No, Sir . . . these injuries were up and down the left side of the body . . .those you see when see when somebody falls on their side, not with an assault. The injuries are of a fall, not an assault, the pattern of injuries.” “Is there any evidence at all about a struggle or an assault?” “You can look at any one injury and give multiple explanations. What you’re looking for is a pattern of injuries . . . the pattern of injuries are up and down the left side of the body, the left side of the back of the head. And this is the pattern of a fall, not of assault.”

  100. The fact that these pathologists have each performed thousands of autopsies tells me there is not enough Doctors who specialize in this field…and that maybe why the science is so “‘iffy”

    Anyways, I think Dr DiMaion’s comment that out of 11000 autopsies only 100 were from drowning victims, and mostly from kids, goes to underscore for the jury the remoteness of the possibility of a healthy Kathy dying on the very night Drew Peterson returned home with a bag of ladies clothing etc.

    I have no further use for this witness!

  101. In Session The witness is shown a photograph of the victim in her bathtub. “Is there anything unusual about the way she’s lying in that tub?” “No . . . you have a slick surface, which is going to be covered with water. And you have somebody who is longer than the tub. So when you fall into the tub . . . the sides tend to guide the body down into this position; the water will also help this movement. So this position in the tub is not unusual . . . you tend to slide down into this position. And obviously the tub is shorter than she is tall.” “Is there anything unusual about her toes?” “No . . . she’s too tall for the tub. So what’s happening is the body is just shifting into this position. It’s just pure chance this is how the toes are.”

  102. In Session “When someone falls in a bathtub, would this be considered an uncontrollable fall?” “Yes, because you don’t intend to fall in a bathtub. And obviously you’ve lost control if you fall.” “Dr. Blum has opined to this jury that this is a homicide. And one of the key factors that he cites is that she is not splayed and sprawled in the tub. Do you agree or disagree?’ “I would disagree. She’s fallen, hit the left side of her head, the left side of her body, and so she’s going in sideways. And you don’t always splay. People fall different ways; it depends on how your weight is. Your arms aren’t always going to go in the same position.”

  103. In Session According to Dr. DiMaio, it’s his position that Kathleen Savio probably slipped as she was attempting to get out of the tub. “She probably slipped as a combination of a slick bathtub . . . no mat there . . .you’re getting up, there’s a plastic container of hair shampoo . . . it means she’s using chemicals. A lot of women’s chemicals contain oils: bath oil, coconut oil.” Objection/Sustained. “There’s a whole bunch of materials there.” Objection/Sustained. “Do you recall whether she used body lotions?” “There’s materials that look like body lotions, but I cannot swear. The other factor is if you lie in a bathtub . . . if you lie in warm water, your body gets hot, and it cools itself by dilating the blood vessels. And your blood pressure falls . . .you are also lying in a semi-horizontal position. And when you start to stand up, your blood starts to go down to your legs. And the heart takes a while to get the blood pressure up get the blood to the heart, to the brain. And you feel dizzy. Some people always get it; some people get it occasionally . . .that could be a contributory factor, along with a slippery tub and no bath mat.”

  104. i’m starting to wonder about the moral compass of people who spend their lives cutting up dead people during their day jobs and writing about it in their spare time…wonder what they do to relax? Its becoming clear what they do in their retirement…pimp themselves out to the highest bidders.

  105. In Session “The laceration on her head . . . she had a horizontal laceration, not a vertical one?” “Correct.” “Is that indicative to you that this was a homicide?” “No, the configuration of the laceration is purely random. You have the curved surface of the tub being contacted by the curved surfaces of the head. When they hit, some of the tears may be horizontal, vertical . . . it’s pure chance . . . all you know is the force was marked, because she’s got a laceration. She hit with significant force to get a laceration.”

  106. hmm I guess I better stop taking baths. Pretty scary what he describes. When I do take a bath, The water has usually cooled down by the time I am done and get up. I am sorry, these professionals are telling the story they need to tell for the def. since that who is signing their checks, I assume

  107. if you lie in warm water, your body gets hot, and it cools itself by dilating the blood vessels. And your blood pressure falls . . .you are also lying in a semi-horizontal position. And when you start to stand up, your blood starts to go down to your legs. And the heart takes a while to get the blood pressure up get the blood to the heart, to the brain. And you feel dizzy. Some people always get it; some people get it occasionally . . .that could be a contributory factor, along with a slippery tub and no bath mat.”

    It’s a wonder any of us SURVIVE! Stop taking baths, you fools!!!

    *heavy sarcasm*

    But seriously, how does that gel with what pathologist after pathologist has testified. Healthy, adults with no drugs/alcohol in their bodies do NOT slip, fall and drown in their bathtubs.

  108. A reminder what Dr Case testified…but was stricken from the record of this trial

    Q “Have an opinion as to how quickly that laceration would have bled?”
    “A I think it would have bled immediately . .
    . as soon as the blood vessels are opened, bleeding ensues . . . my opinion is that abrasion did not occur
    in a fall in that tub.”
    Q “Is it also your opinion that that injury was not caused by a fall in that tub?”
    A “I don’t see anywhere in that tub that would cause that head injury, no . . . if you fell three times, and hit three different places . . .”
    The defense then objects, and the parties go to a sidebar.
    The sidebar ends. The judge asks to have the jury removed.
    The witness and the jurors are now back in the courtroom. Judge to jury: “The doctor’s testimony that
    it would take multiple falls to cause those injuries is to be stricken.”

  109. DiMaio believes Savio fell as she was getting out of the tub.
    Di Maio: when a person gets up out of hot bathwater they could feel dizzy, which could contribute to a fall
    Witness says that shampoos and soaps could make the tub surface more slippery

    Errr Dr DiMaio where was the soap? And it doesn’t look like she had washed her hair with shampoo to me before she got out. Like I said above people who spend their life cutting up dead bodies are probably not too well up on the grooming habits of the fairer sex . And Why wasn’t the towel damp from the displaced water?

  110. LA, I don’t know if DiMaio is their last witness. IS page says something about the defense calling their “next witness”.
    I missed so much yesterday. Is Tom now not going to testify?

  111. In Session “If you hit something hard and break the skin, the blood vessels are temporarily crushed. The bleeding takes maybe one or two or three seconds, and then you can move on . . .you see that sometimes with paper cuts. The other thing is she’s got heavy hair. So even if there was some minimal transfer, the heavy hair is going to just wipe everything off. So you’re not going to see anything.”

    In Session “Can you age or date a bruise?” “You can say it’s recent or it’s old; that’s about it. The methods use to age bruises are color and microscopic examinations. The problem with color is if you bang yourself and get a purple bruise, it’s usually purple for a day or two or three. Sometimes, for some people, a purple bruise just fades, and there’s never a color change. If you examine microscopically, it’s not reliable; you could look at a bruise that’s two hours old and see a microscopic change. You can look at a bruise that’s a day old, and there’s no microscopic changes at all . . . it’s just not reliable. So, the most you can say about a bruise is to say ‘it looks recent’ or ‘it looks old.’ The science is just not there.”

  112. Kathleen had both a shower and a bathtub in her bathroom. If she was going to wash her hair, I would guess she would use the shower. It’s a pain to wash long hair in the tub. Most women don’t do it that way.

    I’m fine with the pathologists testifying from their expertise but he shouldn’t be able to make any speculation about shampoo, IMO.

  113. They said he would wednesday. I think they are holding out, to see how confident they are after these joke of testimonies today. IF they feel they need him, they will put him up on the stand.

  114. Facs my above comment was an answer to you questioning about Tom being put on the stand. Had to feed my four legged herd, so missed some posts, and did not refresh

  115. In Session All Dr. DiMaio can say about Savio’s bruises is “they look recent . . . the medical science just isn’t there.” “Do you have an opinion if when Ms. Savio struck her head she was rendered unconscious?” “Yes, I have an opinion . . . an impact hard enough to tear the skin, you’re hitting very hard. When you hit very hard, you get a concussion, which is a disturbance in your mental processes. You will either lose consciousness for a short time, or you will be sort of stunned . . . you’re helpless, and you just lie there. In all medical probability, she had to be at a minimum stunned, if not rendered unconscious for a period of time. And that’s my opinion why she drowned; she slid into the water . . . once you’ve inhaled the water, you in a sense smother. Your oxygen supply is decreased, and eventually cut off entirely.”

  116. In Session “You shouldn’t see any physical damage with a concussion. A concussion is basically physiological . . . if a force is not in the concussion range, the axons are to a degree injured, but not killed. Certain substances will start to leak out, and certain substances will start to leak in . . . it kind of has pumps in the wall of the axon. When you get trauma like this, the cells aren’t functioning, and you lose consciousness; the axons have sort of short-circuited the whole process . . . to know that you’ve lost one or two cells, you’ve got to live so that you can see that the cells are dying. But it doesn’t have to die in a concussion. A concussion is a relatively mild form of injury to the brain.” “This sort of axonal damage wouldn’t be readily apparent until about two hours later?” “Yeah, one or two hours. The person has to live one to two hours, and then die.” “So it would be invisible at first?” “Yes . . . CAT scans and MRIs don’t pick up concussions at all.”

    In Session According to Dr. DiMaio, brain damages occurs within four to five minutes after a person has lost their oxygen supply. After seven or eight minutes, a person can’t be resuscitated.

    In Session “Dr. Baden, during the third autopsy, discovered reddish clumps on the diaphragm?” “Yeah, he reported an area of discoloration.” “At some point, he made slides of that diaphragm?” “Yes.” “Did you look at those slides under a microscope?” “Yes . . . there’s no injury. He saw an area of discoloration that was not seen on the first or second autopsies . . . this was just an artifact, which is not unusual because of the color changes that occur after death . . . it’s actually pretty hard to damage the diaphragm . . . there’s nothing there.”

  117. sounds to me like Dimaio is describing how a little child drowns in a bath…sliding under the water …not a healthy 40 year old adult…based on what I’ve read so far …my guess is as good as hiis

  118. In Session
    “Are you aware of the opinion of Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen . . .” Objection. The parties head to a sidebar.

    The sidebar ends. “Were you able to come to a conclusion with respect to what the manner of death of Ms. Kathleen Savio Peterson was?’ “Yes . . . in my opinion, in all probability, it was an accident.” “Do you have any doubt as to that opinion?” “No . . . I stand on the circumstances, the autopsy findings. It’s my opinion that it’s an accident, due to a fall.”

    In Session Attorney Meczyk says that he has now finished his direct examination of Dr. DiMaio. The judge decides to take a recess at this time. He excuses the jurors, and leaves the bench

  119. Your oxygen supply is decreased, and eventually cut off entirely.”

    And THAT is an extremely painful frightening process, if any of you ever inhaled fluids the wrong way, you know that feeling. What that woman must have suffered!!

  120. I totally agree Oxy! It is more like he is speaking in general about drownings. Not specifics to this case. (BTW – Love your avatar! :))

    I hope the jury sees this too!

    Hopefully cross will go well.

    I have to go in a few minutes guys. I will see y’all tomorrow. Facs, let me know if you need help tomorrow. I may not be able to help all day, but will be in and out.

  121. What woman gets in the bath with out a bathmat outside the tub?

    For all their years of cutting up bodies these highly paid Peterson sycophants seem to lack the most basic on common sense.

  122. I’m back.. It’s a good thing these docs deal with the deceased, in my humble opinion. If they didn’t to begin with, they would be after treating them. Oh, dear. Did I type that out loud? I meant it in the most kind of ways, of course.
    And just to muddy the waters again:
    I had a very well respected doctor tell me one time that there is no such thing as a concussion. You are concussed, but there is nothing to show “a concussion!”
    But isn’t that what he actually said? “Yes . . . CAT scans and MRIs don’t pick up concussions at all.”
    So…OMG. That’s all I can say.

  123. Also in my opinion, Kathleen was bashed over the head, her hair was down so Drew could DRAG HER without leaving bruises, and took the rest upon himself from there.
    And now I quote lost acres:”What that woman must have suffered!!”

  124. …And if it was an accident as today’s mercenary doctors have testified ….why did Stacy tell her Pastor that she was living with a murderer? And why would Stacy admit to the Pastor about lying to police officers when to do so was against her own penal interest. No matter what the docs say to earn several pieces of silver this was no accident…and surely Mr Peterson’s peers on the jury will not be bamboozled by medical BS.

  125. Di Maio: Savio had “very thick hair,” which could have wiped blood from her head wound off the tub walls. #DrewPeterson

    OMG he just did not say that, did he?

  126. Apparently, in the 4-5 minutes it took for the woman to die, after peacefully and un-flaylingly sliding under the bosom of her dirty bathwater, she took a few moments to apply shampoo and with the aid of her naturally thick hair, wash away that nasty old blood…which didn’t flow right away…but only after an appropriate amount of time had passed. Although woozy from the dangerously warm and alluring bath, Savio, like the fighter she was, took this last opportunity to set the bathroom to rights, dry her surroundings, dispose of the towel and her clothing in a secret location, and then return, gently and gracefully to the bottom of the tub.

  127. If I was the pros I would have focused more on the maybes, possibles, and inconsistencies etc of the statements these docs made, and left it at that. Walk away after making them state, well yes IT COULD have been something other then an accident, and leave that fresh in the jurors minds. Thank god I am not a lawyer LOL. I would fail big time

  128. http://www.suntimes.com/14785554-761/bears-jerseys-at-the-drew-peterson-trial-wheres-the-respect.html

    When Peterson defense attorney Steve Greenberg questioned the first witness of the day, Mary Pontarelli, he started by asking what jersey she would wear. Pontarelli answered “White Sox,” and Greenberg said, “Instant credibility!” drawing laughs from the gallery.

    This is all going down at a murder trial. Where one of the most infamous figures in America is facing charges he killed his ex-wife and made it look like she had drowned in the bathtub. And many believe he killed his still-missing fourth wife as well, though he’s not on trial for that.

    And at this murder trial, jurors are wearing Bears jerseys, as if they’re in a sports bar or getting ready to climb onto a double-decker bus for a high school reunion party — and the judge thinks that’s funny?

  129. I guess the pros will call rebuttal witnesses after this bungled stuff today? Hope it doesn’t get the jurors too confused. I know they say they are taking notes. and I hope they are good at it and are able to make sense out of those notes.

  130. Facs, its all a day at the office for everyone. Follow the rules and procedures, and throw some humour in somewhere. Makes me sick, since this is NOT just another day at the office. If we, as humans, have become that callous, that we can view a possible murder trial, where a victim stands their only chance of justice, and the defendant is facing the ultimate justice or injustice, as another day in the office? It might be time to review!!!!!

  131. I’ve been to court plenty of times and I never would consider sports jerseys appropriate courtroom attire.

    IMO, judge should have sent them back out to change.

  132. Looking at the comments at what expert witnesses are being paid, who foots those bills, when the def is working pro bono, as I assume in this case? DiManio 11.2k and Jentzen 8k? That is a lot of money

  133. Bertrand says she asked more than 12 people if they remembered Anderson’s call because phone records show Anderson made 3 calls to ISP

    Doesn’t this just reflect badly on the ISP? The phone records aren’t lying…

  134. OMG – What are these experts talking about ?

    Kathleens hair was so thick she could bounce off the walls of the tub with it and shampoo in her hair washed away blood and made the tub slippery ??

    Is the theory now she was washing her long and thick hair in that tiny tub ?

  135. Is anybody else disappointed in the prosecution this afternoon? I tried to catch up in between, but maybe with all my ins and outs I missed something?

  136. I do believe everyone is getting worn down, well, except maybe the def. And even they sound like they want to move on to other obligations, except maybe Brodsky. We are in the fourth week I believe, and all the twitters of the reporters we have followed are fantastic. Just hope this trial has the correct outcome

  137. I am wondering what is going to happen to all the people posting here, now that we have gotten to know one another at this level, after this trial is done and over with. With all the trials I have followed, this board has had to be one of the most professional and respected ones, even through the human oopses. I really do not want to loose touch with all of the regular posters. Having said that, I wish there was NOT another trial to follow

  138. I was thrown for a loop with the whole thick hair deal. When I had gotten hit on the head, Some blood got on my shirt even though I had very thick, wavy hair that is down to the middle of my back. And when we put water on it to rinse it at the hospital a lot of blood ran out into the sink and had to be rinsed down. I cannot imagine how I wouldn’t have blood all over my body (and a ring around the tub) if I was in the tub, sitting in bloody water.

  139. I have also been wondering about something. Did they say she had bruises on her wrists? Could they be consistent with having on hand-cuffs? One way to stop someone from fighting back is to put them in handcuffs so they cannot swing at you. My gut says that some of the wounds they explained do sound more like ones someone would get from being drowned in a toilet. I hate to think that is the way she could really have died. Someone here posted that her hair clip was behind the toilet – was that really true? I don’t recall that from the past. Haven’t been able to really follow the trial other than reading after the fact here.

  140. I was also wondering why InSession didn’t call up your cable company and get you back up and running faster! This site has long been the best for a central place of information. And I agree that there are many online friends I have gained through this site and I do not think the end of this trial is necessarily the end of this blog. First – we don’t know the outcome of this trial yet. If he is found guilty – the Defense will surely push for an Appeal. And if he is acquitted, the theatrics will follow. In the meantime, Stacy is still missing and nothing from this trial changes that. I keep hoping she will be found but so far nothing in spite of the major rains the other year and the major drought this year. :/

  141. Since when is someone given credit on their Curriculum Vitae for their father’s accomplishments. It doesn’t matter a whit, does it, that DiMaio’s father was NYC’s medical examiner.

    Call me uninformed, but
    WTH is a forensic nurse? Is this something DiMaio made up to give his nurse wife a second career?

    Lost acres…I love me some Justice Cafe, too. Don’t be hasty. There may be another trial soon…..

  142. Excellent coverage while Facs was away everyone!! IMO the jury hearing alone how much those two got paid by the stooges is enough for me if I was on the jury to discredit anything that they have said. They are hired to do a job for them, just as an attorney is hired to defend his client. That goofy picture they have showing how she fell is ridiculous. If she fell straight backward, and on her side, where did all the injuries come to her front, chest, and knees then? They don’t make any sense at all with their version of events.

  143. hee hee. Me neither.
    I may be wrong, but I can’t agree that white blood cells would take longer to appear at a diaphragm bleed. Nonsense. All the cells circulate together. Not only that, but macrophages (large white cells that gobble up and clear away debris) can be recruited to a site of injury in less than a minute. I think it’s BS.

  144. The being paid cannot discredit only one side of the fence. I imagine that the prosecution witnesses are paid as well. That is the challenge that the jury has to sort out. Who do they believe based on what they see themselves. The whole fall stories just still do not explain all the bruises, the cuts, and landing the way that she landed IMO and that is what the jury will have to sort out. I have a feeling that while they are all buddy-buddy right now wearing matchy-matchy clothing – once deliberations start that could change.

  145. Lostacres, I was thinking the same thing last night. Throughout the years, some full of information, some barely any, acandyrose and Justice Cafe’ have been here.
    I’ve always known that I could check in at any time and find out exactly what was going on. Thank you, Facs. I’m glad you’re not going anywhere!
    And I’m on the fringes of Isaac-they just put us in the ‘loss of power’ area. My luck. But if I can’t be here all the time, I’ll check in. I’d rather have hurricanes than earthquakes or tornadoes, really.
    Hugs, and I hope to see everyone tomorrow.

  146. Am I missing something ?

    Is that stick figure drawing of a fall what the Defense showed in the Courtroom ?

    Doesn’t that show when you “slip and fall” and hit your head on the back/top of your head that you have fallen backwards, so if you’re on your back in that small tub, how do you then fall forward to end up in that semi foetal position ?

    IMO the injury on the top/back of Kathleens head reeks of ambush

  147. Kathleen Zellner, a prominent medical and legal malpractice lawyer who heard the expert testimony, said she believes the jury will not rely on any of the pathologists’ opinions.

    “It has been my experience that they cancel each other out,” Zellner said. “They’ll go in there and use their common sense. They’ll think about how people actually fall in the tub, and they’ll apply it to this case.”

    The pathologists who testified Tuesday helped Peterson’s attorneys accomplish something prosecutors so far have failed to do: Detail to jurors their theory of the events leading up to Savio’s death.

    Prosecutors long have accused Peterson of subduing Savio with a chokehold and putting her in the bathtub, where he allegedly drowned her and struck her over the head with a blunt object. However, the judge has prevented the jury from hearing some testimony supporting that claim, ruling that the prosecution has not introduced any evidence proving Peterson was at the crime scene and therefore could not have witnesses theorize what he did there.

    After Tuesday’s testimony, Judge Edward Burmila asked Peterson to stand and explained to him about his right to testify or not testify in his murder trial. It is a standard practice in Burmila’s courtroom.

    “I understand, your honor,” Peterson said.


  148. WEST END Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby stepped up his campaign to find the body of Stacy Peterson, whom he claims was killed by her ex-husband Drew Peterson.

    Ruby substantially raised the reward for information leading to the whereabouts and recovery of Stacy Peterson, who has been missing since October 2007.

    “I am bringing the reward up to $100,000 for information leading to the whereabouts of what’s left of the body of Stacy Peterson,” Ruby said. “We think somebody knows something but they were afraid to come forward and $100,000 quite frankly makes people get a little bit more brave.”

    The announcement was made at a tent set up outside of Cincinnati District 1 headquarters on Ezzard Charles Drive in the West End.


  149. @thinkaboutit2, Didn’t they establish that the day or the day after Stacy disappeared, Drew said he was “looking for her” near a sanitation plant? I believe he said that during the Dr. Phil interview in 2008. He also has stated that he never joined the search parties in the woods, etc,, because he doesn’t believe she is in a place like that. Well, how did he come to such a conclusion? Because he knows where she is, and it isn’t in the woods or fields. Anyway, I really hope she is found, too. In the Jeanine Pierro video, Judge Jeanine says that she doesn’t think Stacy will ever be found. I hope she is wrong, but the signs point to the idea that DP wasn’t going to take any risks in getting rid of her.

    Here’s to the jury using common sense (tipping my mug of tea as if to toast)! See you all later today when things get started.

  150. Quite frankly, I think the Defense wasted their money on all these experts as all the Jury got was semantics and nonsense.

    I could have come up with the same deductions for $ 20.00

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