Testimony in Spalding murder trial centers around autopsy results
As the second week of the homicide trial against brothers Scott Hollingshead and Christopher Nix got under way Tuesday, much of the testimony revolved around the autopsy results for murder victim Brian Spalding.
Dr. Donald Hendrickson’s testimony was illustrated by sometimes-gory photographs of Spalding’s body, as he explained to the jury that multiple blunt-force trauma, primarily to the head, was the cause of death.
Hollingshead and Nix reportedly were waiting for Spalding at his Banner Mountain residence on the night of April 14, 2014. They allegedly shot Spalding before dragging him from the car and kicking him repeatedly; he died at the scene.
Hendrickson said that Spalding sustained fractures to his upper and lower jaw, his cheekbone, and his nose, losing two teeth and lacerating his tongue. His right eye was severely damaged, the pathologist added.
The damage to Spalding’s face was substantial, Hendrickson said, telling the jury that level of damage is typically seen after a motor vehicle accident, a fall from a great height or an assault.
Hendrickson testified that he recovered five bullets from Spalding’s body, with four gunshot wounds found to the abdomen.
He said that the multiple gunshot wounds did contribute to Spalding’s death, but that they did not appear to have caused much damage to the soft tissues and did not hit any major organs.
On cross-examination, Hendrickson testified that the shots were fired from an “intermediate range” — at least a couple of feet from the victim, and entered from the right side of the body.
In the afternoon, California Department of Justice criminalist Lisa Langford testified as to the process used to test evidence for DNA — but her conclusions were reserved for when the trial resume today.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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