Pathologist gives details in murder trial |

Pathologist gives details in murder trial

AUBURN ” Testimony in the murder trial of Timothy Brooks turned gruesome today as a pathologist with the Washoe County coroner’s office described in detail the wound that Robert Ash sustained to his abdomen.

Dr. Christine Elliott said the 48-year-old Newcastle, Calif., developer had received a horizontal eight-centimeter, three-inch wound to his “right lateral back” that lacerated a rib and struck his renal artery. She also indicated that it was “consistent with a sharp force injury.” The cause of death was massive loss of blood due to sharp force injury, Elliott said.

Elliott indicated during her testimony that Ash had multiple needle puncture wounds, a catheter mark and other indications that he had gone through surgery before she conducted the autopsy on him. She also said that she thought the knife used to create the wound had been serrated. Deputy District Attorney Jim Brazleton showed Elliott the fishing knife that Brooks admitted using to stab Ash and she noted that the knife was consistent with the stab wound.

Deputy attorney Marcus Topel tried to show that Ash was moving at the time Brooks’ stabbed him, indicating that Ash was punching or kicking Brooks.

Topel used defense attorney Tom Leupp as a prop when he asked Elliott to put a piece of tape where Ash’s wound was. He then had Leupp act out a right handed punch moving left and then a sweeping kick. He asked Elliott if she thought Ash’s wound was consistent with those motions and she said they were.

Elliott noted that it would not be possible for two men facing one another and have a wound to the right side if that man was stationary.

During this line of questioning, Robert Ash’s mother and sister waited in the Superior Court hallway. Ash’s wife, Mimi Ash, cried during part of the testimony with her head down and walked out in the middle of the statements, returning later.

Although the photos and details of the wound were gruesome, Elliott’s demeanor and humor seemed to make it easier for the jury to take in the evidence, some even laughing at times during the reenactment.

Placer County Deputy Michael Farquhar, an evidence technician, began his testimony this morning of the evidence he collected at the scene in Heritage Park next to Syd’s Bagelry in Tahoe City on Aug. 17, 2005. The defense will cross examine him this afternoon, when the prosecution is expected to wrap up their case.

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