VIDEO: Between the Lines with Dr. Cyril Wecht

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Apr 6, 2013

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Dr. Cyril Wecht was the guest on 'Between the Lines Live' at sanduskyregister.com. 

Wecht, a forensic pathologist who has served as an expert witness in many high-profile cases, will talk about his work in connection with the killing of Jacob Limberios on March 2, 2012. Wecht conducted an autopsy and found the most likely cause of death was homicide. 

County officials called it a suicide that might have been accidental and have refused to change that ruling.

Click here for an index to other 'Between the Lines' programs.

Sandusky County Prosecutor Dean Henry also has been unable to complete a criminal investigation after a coroner's inquest was ordered last year. Henry refuses to comment on the investigation or say why there is a delay.

Henry has served as a special prosecutor on at least one high-profile case, locally, himself.

According to a Toledo Blade article, Henry was appointed in 2001 to review a complaint by Elsabeth Baungartner that alleged Benton-Carroll-Salem school members and county law enforcement officials, including county Prosecutor Mark Mulligan, had been involved in cover-ups and corrupt activity. The complaint was never sustained in court and Baumgartner was eventually sent to prison on a charge she attempted to intimidate a judge by posting a parody in an online post.

Watch the program in the player below

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Comments

WiseManOnceSaid

Will Mr. Henry be gracing us with his presence?

Random Thoughts

Please post Dr. Wecht's report so that we can review it before he appears on BTL. Just the text of the report of course, no pictures.

WiseManOnceSaid

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...
Report is at the bottom of this article

Random Thoughts

That is not the autopsy report (I would hope), but just a short letter to the family attorney stating Dr. Wecht's opinion. An autopsy report is usually a much longer document detailing specific medical findings.

donutshopguy

Someone ask Dr. Wecht who shot JFK.

milemarkerzero

This could be a mistrial before any type of trial starts.

WiseManOnceSaid

How so? I know it is not typical for so much of the evidence to be so publicly displayed, but if anything at all I just assumed it would have to be tried outside of the SR distribution in order to get an "unbiased jury"

wiredmama222

Oh, I want to see this one. IS he coming in person????? Really???? Ok, I will admit it, I am an autopsy groupie. Can we get Dr. Lee next? Seriously...I am not being a smart arse. I would love to hear their points of view.

Krissy3

I want to see the autopsy as well, mainly because I can't figure out how a downward trajectory bullet gets into a ceiling and I'm hoping this will clear up exactly where the exit wound was so I can piece it together.

bmgasser

The downward trajectory with the bullet in the ceiling can be explained by a tilt of the head.

Krissy3

That's what I figured, I just wasn't clear on where exactly the exit wound was.

wiredmama222

@bmgassar....could you explain that please? I am lost here. Trajectory being affected by the tilt of the head? If the bullet came from him (the victim) firing it from a downward angle upward, I could understand it. but not if it was fired from a level angle. The bullet would have had to start from a low angle and travel UP, even if his head was tilted, wouldn't it? Meaning the bullet came from a low level to go into the ceiling. Jake would have had to hold the gun upward at the back of his own head angled UP and pull the trigger with his non dominate hand, steady. That is really hard to do, especially if you have been drinking.

So can you explain it please? I am confused.

Krissy3

That's presumably the problem with this being a suicide. They normally have upward trajectories. I'm thinking the gunshot would have had to come from the top left back side of Jake because of the location of the wound (towards the cowlick). If it would have gone in at the cowlick and come out near the right ear or so that would be a downward trajectory. If he would have had his head tilted towards the left with his right ear towards the ceiling it would make sense.

Centauri

Wiredmama, Are you referring to Dr. Henry Lee who examined evidence from the Martha Moxley murder and other famous murder cases?

wiredmama222

Yes, and the OJ Simpson trial. I missed this today. I ended up being gone all day and missed it. How was it???? Darn it.

bmgasser

You're all in for a nice surprise.

WiseManOnceSaid

Is the actual autopsy report on the Justice for Jake page?

Random Thoughts

I did not see it there

bmgasser

No, I think it's a little lengthy to upload; but the most important portion may be uploaded tonight.

WiseManOnceSaid

Thanks. I've listened to just about everything, so I guess I would like to see that, since I'm sure it will be referenced quite often tomorrow..

WiseManOnceSaid

Thanks. I've listened to just about everything, so I guess I would like to see that, since I'm sure it will be referenced quite often tomorrow..

Random Thoughts

Mr. Westerhold, If you or anyone at the Register has access to the full autopsy report, please post it (text only, no photos) as this is the key piece of evidence supporting the family's case. I've been following the case ever since you started reporting on it and have done some on-line research regarding gun shot wounds. Please ask Dr. Wecht about the following: (1) could decomposition from the delay in having an autopsy conducted result in physical evidence on the body being lost? (2) His letter to the family's attorney cited the absence of "stippling" as a basis for his conclusion that the gun had to be more then 24 inches away, but many publications state that a contact or loose contact gunshot wound (less than one inch away) would result in little or no stippling (See Death Scene Investigation: A Field Guide by Scott Wagner). and (3) Dr. Wecht's letter also states that he found no gun powder residue in examining the "exposed scalp." Was there any residue, specifically "soot" found INSIDE the wound? and wouldn't the exposed scalp have been thoroughly cleaned by the mortician prior to Jake's funeral, thereby washing away any residue such as soot from the scalp? I think the full autopsy report might answer some of these questions. Thank you for your continued reporting on this.

Krissy3

A contact wound will not result in stippling because it will be a star shaped wound since the gun is right against the head. The gun powder residue is deposited inside of the wound when it is a contact wound. When it is held near contact is when there is stippling because the residue deposits on the outside of the wound and burns the skin around the wound. When the gun is held at a further distance away the gun powder residue cools off before it hits the skin, therefore there is only residue deposits and no stippling, which is burns or lesions from the burning gun powder. Since the stippling is burns it cannot be washed away, and since the body was embalmed it would preserve any stippling that was present whether inside or outside of the wound. Stippling outside of the wound is a tell tale sign of a near contact wound and the star shaped entry wound is the tell tale sign of a contact wound. Trayvon Martin had stippling and it was determined that the shot was fired from at least 18 inches away (and this went through a hooded sweatshirt). A smaller and less powerful caliber weapon was also used in that shooting, which is probably why the maximum distance was only 18 inches instead of the 24 given by Dr. Wecht in this case.

Random Thoughts

Hi Krissy - the authors I'm reading actually define "stippling" as the abrasions left by Unburned powder and debris, and is usually only present in wounds in which the tip of the gun is more than one inch from the skin (often called intermediate range) but less than a foot or two away depending on the type of ammunition. You do bring up a couple of other good questions for Dr. Wecht: Was there any singed hair around the wound? And was the wound perfectly round (indicating a distant shot) or was there other injury to the skin around the hole (indicating a contact or near contact shot)? Also, if the wound was to the scalp, what role would a thick head of hair have in finding or not finding residue?

Krissy3

By burning gunpowder I meant the gun powder burns, abraises, or "tattoos" the skin and cannot be wiped away. I guess I didn't word that right in my first post. My forensics textbook defines close range as under 6 inches, intermediate as 6-30 (depending on the weapon). It says intermediate and close range will both leave stippling. Either way, there should have been stippling either outside or inside of the wound if he had fired it himself in my opinion.
Also interesting to note, my forensics book says in suicides to look for: upward trajectory (this case has downward), at the temple on the side of dominant hand ( this case is on the side of the non dominant hand, way back towards the cowlick), front to back trajectory (this case is back to front), contact or near contact range (which would leave the stippling or star shaped wound mentioned).
If there was a way to look at the blood also a tell tale sign is blood spatter. A suicide at contact range would have sucked some blood back into the muzzle, and back splash would have been down his arm used to fire the weapon. Blood blows back in the direction the bullet comes from. It ONLY blew back onto one of the witnesses (splatter on shoes), even though they were all in close proximity. That was something I found interesting.

Random Thoughts

I doubt anyone (including the sandusky county coroner) truly believes this was a suicide in that Jake intentionally wanted to harm himself. It was clearly, in my humble opinion, an accidental death. The big question is who was in possession of the gun when it discharged. I also don't believe it was a "homicide" because that means someone intentionally shot Jake, and I haven't seen any evidence that any of the others intentionally wanted to harm Jake. Even if Dr. Wecht is correct in his conclusion that Jake could not have shot himself and that someone else shot him, this does not by itself make it a homicide which requires intent. Absent evidence that someone wanted to harm him, it should still be ruled an "accidental death" even if one of the others had possession of the gun when it discharged.

luvblues2

Homicide refers to one person killing another. It does not mean intent. Look it up.

Random Thoughts

Thank you for pointing that out. Do you know if there is any intent required for a "suicide"? Or is it like "homicide" which can apparently be accidental?

Krissy3

Suicide implies intent to kill yourself. If you accidentally kill yourself it is not a suicide. That is what the controversy over the coroners ruling on the death certificate was about since it was listed as a suicide, may not have known gun was loaded. It was a contradictory statement.

Krissy3

I don't think anyone thinks it was intentional. The family has said repeatedly that they do not want anyone to get in trouble, they just want to know the truth. However, it would be a "homicide" if anyone other than Jake pulled the trigger. Accidental murders are often referred to as unintentional, justifiable or excusable homicides. Legally, accidental deaths without intent are termed involuntary manslaughter. Again, blood spatter is a good indication from which direction the bullet came, and only one witness had blood spatter on their shoes...

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