Ward trial: Gun trainer insists S&W firearm does not go off accidentally

By Patsy R. Brumfield / Daily Journal

4:55 POST
TUPELO – A Smith&Wesson gun trainer told Thomas J. Ward’s jury today that the gun, which fatally shot Anna McCoy, will not accidentally fire.
Paul Smith of Lee County said, however, that whoever pulled the trigger must determine whether the firing was an accident.
McCoy was a 20-year-old Itawamba Community College soccer player when she died from a single gunshot wound to the face, which exited the top of her skull and reportedly killed her instantly.
Graphic photos of her dead body were shown this morning during testimony by Dr. Adele Lewis, who conducted the autopsy for the Mississippi Crime Lab.
Prosecutors are District Attorney Trent Kelly with assistants Richard Bowen and Josh Wise. Bowen is handling the bulk of the questions today.
Ward, 25, and his attorney, Victor Fleitas of Tupelo, insist he is not guilty in the April 15, 2010, shooting death of McCoy at his Saltillo home.
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3:34 – Judge back.
STATE CALLS PAUL SMITH
SMITH – Lives in Lee County, all my life, on and off. Firearms trainer. Used by corps that make firearms to teach people to use them – military and law enforcement. Been one 14 years. Cites education, training to qualify him. Works for SMith&Wesson. Began with MBI, special ops. MS Bureau of Narcotics weapons specialist. Worked for Blackwater, overseas. Examined, estimate 1,500 over years. Familiar with S&W Sigma.
(Bowen – Sat through testimony today/) Yes. (This firearm history?) From its inception, late 1992 early 1993. Direct attempt to compete with Gloch. S&W used to be leading firearm provider for law enforcement. Examined this one and others like this. (Trained in use of this pistol?) Yes. (Bowen offers Smith as expert in field of firearms)
FLEITAS – Being tendered as expert in field of firearms exmination? Smith – firearms manipulation and examination. (Will you offer any opinions outside of operability, function of this firearm in this case?) NO sir, I am not. (Not going to render any opinions with respect to forensic ballistics?) No. (Wound ballistics?) Other than mechanics of gun about causing any kind of issue, only way that would come up. Expert in field of firearm examination. (BOWEN – And firearms operation, manipultion involving this firearm.) FLEITAS – One question about one area what is manipulation?) How hold gun, how you use it, how take it apart.
BOWEN – (When worked for MBN, when got knowledge of firearms?) Yes sir. (Picks up gun and magazine. Is this in safe condition?) Yes it is. (When first saw?) Jan. 13, 2012. (How many like that you’ve examined over years?) Can’t say how many, run into it on a regular basis. Isn’t a maintstream run for law enforcement but see it with overseas security forces. (Say this pistol developed?) Late 1992, released 1994. Changes came in 1995. Gloch moved into U.S. S&W was lead for law enforcement. Gloch sarted making inroads into law enforcement. This was S&W’s answer, would come close to it. (Gloch used polymer?) Slang says plastic. (Law enforcement began using Gloch in large numbers? So, this gun made in response to that?) Yes it was. (What was primary feature … esides polymer construction … did Gloch have?) primary, trigger safety, drop safety, striker safety. REferred to firing pin as “striker.” …. talks about technical issues of how prevents gun from going off. (First model S&W, similar to Gloch?) To point parts would interchange. (Response by Bloch?) Gloch sicked the lawyers, says design stolen. S&W agreed … biggest part, some changes had to be made to break it away from Gloch compltely. One was to get rid of drop safety. S&W doubled size of spring to add pressure… from 5-6 pound to a 12-14 trigger pull due to those springs.
(This gun is later model?) Yes. (Heavier trigger pull?) Yes. (Compare trigger safety of second model to first?) Actual trigger safety is device in trigger. Drop safety was … elsewhere on gun. Pushed trigger pull up to 12 pound. …. talks technical about safety of gun. (Did new model… was it harder to not fire with bump?) Biggest complaint was that you couldn’t get it to fire, even with trying. Felt gun was even safer. (Have you ever tried to see if you could get a weapon like this to discharge accidentally?) Yes I have. (When?) Several. At Columbus Police range, somebody didn’t believe you couldn’t get gun to go bang that way … threw it onto concrete, hard as could. Nothing happened. Safeties in these guns are passive safeties, not active like a switch on side. Safety built into normal action of pulling the trigger. (Did you disassemble this pistol?) Yes, (Had it been modified or if safety mechanism was disturbed?) There are certain steps you go through when examine these guns. First, checked built in facets of safety. They were still intact.
(Anything wrong with it?) NO sir. No extra marks on this one. (Did you test fire it?) Yes sir I did. (Fired it?) 5-6 times. I kept the brass from that. Including one of actual bullets that was fired. (Use same type ammunition when it was retrieved?) No, I didn’t same mfg, just step up. Had Blazer ammo in stockpile, pulled a box of it. Both companies interchange brass. Same ammunition just branded under new box. (Operate correctly?) It did.
(Any malfunctions?) Not one. (Attention to trigger and pull?) Very consistent, came in about 12 pounds. Felt like a revolver, same trigger pull. What it felt like. (Did you try to maniuplate trigger to see if it would fire without firing it in normal way…?) Tried it a couple of times, including got someone else to push against it. When attempted to push trigger from front…not curling finger … couldn’t get it to do so consistently without whole lot of pressure pulling back….(Why won’t it?) Have to hold back hard … with full magazine, weight of pistol pulls down on your hand. Trigger safety actually engaged when I push against top part of trigger.
(Earnest said he could push trigger and cause it to engage? How differnet/) He put his finger straight on bottom of trigger. I don’t know if he understood … but judging … how he should have tried to make it work…. demonstrates. (Things happen when gun discharges., What?) Auto-loader … insert magazine, has 14 rounds. …. demonstrates how … once gun discharges. Once it unlocks, part drops down to reload. Spent casing pulled out of chamber. Ejector kicks old brass out of way. Process repeats. Drawback of this… if anything interrupts this slide, will have a malfunction. Your gun no longer works. Got to clear the malfunction and get it started all over again.
(What causes malfunction?) Any interruption of the movement of the slide. (Could slide be kept from going rearward, if somebody had hand on slide?) Absolutely. (Whata bout spent cartridge?) If slide never moved, round would come out and brass would stay there with spent casing in chamber. If less than a grip on slide, it would malfunction. Spent piece of brass would be stuck in it.
(So if find a discharged casing, what does that mean?) If ejected and fresh round loaded, means nothing in contact with the slide. (This pistol has accessory.) Light on it. This is an illumination device. (Intensity of light?) With new battery, first hour get 90-85 lumins … LED lights, very durable. If light hit you square in eye, you’d probably see stars for 3 minutes or more. VEry bright. Blinding is a descriptive by manufacturer. (Empty cases 13-20 feet ejecting?) Yes, very consistent. Depends on type ammo. Very consistent. (If someone were standing in a 12×12 room, standing near center of the room … what would be likely trajectory of cartridge.) In center and pulled trigger, ejects to right and to the rear. So probably impact to wall behind and come back toward shooter to opposite side of the room. Brass would bound around.
(Have you in training ever had anyone with hand injured by slide?) Yes I have. (Injuries?) Man shooting the pistol…. skin sliced open, 13 stitches. Another man, front sight cut across man’s palm. Several sharp areas that could cause injury. If close, gas is right there at breech face. Will get a bad burn. When gas escapes, it tends to come out in a fan.
(Heard Haygood talk about what told by how shooting was done? … that defendant said shooting took place? Likelihood of that occurring.) Highly improbable that you could discharge it in this general manner. (You said magazine would hold 14 rounds. Testimony that at shooting scene this pistol was found, magazine with 12 rounds, empty cartridge found and live round?) Correct. Total of 14?) That wouldbe 14. (Assume pistol was fully charged and one round was in chamber and gun was fired killing her … what necessary for other scene? Magazine on floor and live cartridge on floor. What necessary to do that?) Someone would have to have dropped the magazine … with 12 rounds in it, 13 is here and someone would jack the round out and leave gun back in battery. Someone had to take the live round out of the chamber.
CROSS EXAMINATION 4:21
FLEITAS – (Configuration of gun, magazine out … is this firearm … asusming one was in chamber with magazine out, does it discharge?) Yes. (When firearm discharged with one in chamber and no magazine, then what?) Back in this position. To lock itself … round in chamber and nothing in the magazine, pull trigger and that would stop it… place on magazine engages the slide and stops it. (Any number of scenarios for mag on ground, live round on floor, spent shell – you’re not sugestions scenarios?) Only two, those are the two. (Aware that any number of people in and out of the room …. during night?) Yes, (Over half-dozen responders?) Yes. (Spent casing could have been kicked anywhere?) Absolutely. (Where photographed doesn’t mean that’s where it came to rest?) No. Also an ejection pattern, can’t say where it landed.
(You were present when Brown testified mishandling of gun on scene?) Yes, I was. (Don’t disagree with mishandling?) Absolutely. (Again, no conclusions drawn from position of firearm as photographed?) Correct. (Or location of magazine?) Correct. (One other quetion, present during Bowackle testimony about trigger-pull test … recall that?) He said 12-14 pound pull. Large variane, I’ve seen 10 1/2 pounds … due to fact it’s lower priced gun. Quality control. (Gun to gun?) Have minimum or maximum before leave factory. Trigger-pull will be same for the life of the gun unless gets extremely dirty. (Wht is variability of typical firearm of that kind?) I wouldn’t start to guess. (Plus or minus 1 pound either way?) I don’t know tht. Just know neer see anything less than 10 1/2, or if much more than 14, it goes back.
(Tests on it?) I saw 10 1/2 more than higher pulls. (/Several times you said, talk about “we” or S&W?) Mainly refer to us trainers. (You work for S&W?) Yes. Not representing S&W today. (Hae you taken leave to testify?) Yes I have. (Using up leave time.) I’m not on the clock this week. (Engaged as a consultant?) Correct. (Would S&W be interetedin case where allegation of discharge of a firearm?) Yes, but they know I came in not knowing what firearm was in this case? (Inception of this firearm was because losing market share?) Yes. (Recall phrase used… hurried?) Not hurried, it was their quick reaction and S&W likes to be the kind of law enforcement. Started losing share and comment was made in meeting …. rumor substantiated, they had to come up with a plan to fight the competitor. (Knee-jerk phrase?) Yes, that’s correct. (This firearm is Generation 2?) Correct.
(Increased trigger pull?) Their answer to drop safety. (You used phrase … we think it’s rendered more safe. “We” talk about trainers or corp?) Both on that account. Safer on trainers. It’s not a safe hobby. S&W thought much more substantial safety. (You mentioned that you examined the firearm in Saltillo?) Yes. (Checked for modifications?) Safeties and any after-market parts of homemade modifications. (If spring changes, wouldyou notice?) Yes, would ahve made a note of it because of the situation we’re in now. (Rear sight?) We have had sevearl generations of rear sights. I don’t know when that changed. Three or four different ones. Would have to research it. (Also fired firearm to see if it works properly?) Yes. Looking for consistency. (Difference in ammo?) Blazer was fast, Independence was faster. (Only checking functionality?) Yes.
(About brass ejection assumptions? Yours was 9.5 feet?) Yes, (You fired four rounds?) Yes. (Noted Earnest’s testimony that measured ejection 13-20 feet?) Yes. (9.5 was just a base?) Yes, also shooting other velocities. ….. (PRB – THIS IS GETTING TECHNICAL)
(Agree with Earnest, gunshot is not static?) Very chaotic event. (Concussive effect, disorienting effect?) Correct. (Difficult to capture … when fires?) People react differently, especially when people are not expecting it. (Heard Haygood and Brown, with respect to shocked demeanor of Mr. Ward, noted he shock?) OBJECTION / FLEITAS WILL MOVE ON.
(Static chaotic, etc., you were asked quetions by counsel about how gun was held, you would agree were hypothesized a fixed or status or event?) Most gunfights start out as fixed or sttic event. It’s when shooting starts tht things change. (at moment of discharge, her hand was not on the firearm?) Yes. (You heard testimony about GSR on McCoy’s fight hand?) Correct. (Agree that finding consistent with her being in proximity to a discharged firearm?) OBJECTION – BEYOND SCOPE OF EXPERTISE. JUDGE SUSTAINED.
FLEITAS – Testimony from this witness ……. I’ll move on. (Your opinion is that … highly improbable that firearm discharged accidentally?) Correct. (Cannot rule out accidental discharge, can you?) This firearm is not accidentally discharged. We don’t call is accidental discharge. Gun didn’t do anything that it wasn’t designed to do. Whoever pulled trigger must decide if it was accidental or intentional. Judging from mechanics of the fun I examined,all the safeties were on. Someone manipulated the trigger – intentional or otherwise – that’s how it discharged.
BOWEN – NO FURTHER QUESITONS. 4:49
JUDGE – We’re getting close to 5 p.m. Anything that can be done within a short period of time?
BOWEN – In light of lateness, doubt next witness could be handled quickly. Good time to recess.
FLEITAS – No objection.
JUDGE – Made progress today. KELLY – Anticipate we will rest by lunch tomorrow.
FLEITAS – Will make provision for witnesses for tomorrow.
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3:17 P.M. POST
TUPELO – A Texas gun expert said Anna McCoy’s shooting could have been an accident, trial testimony offered this afternoon.
However, Richard Earnest, that expert, also gave prosecution-friendly testimony on cross-examination from Assistant District Attorney Richard Bowen.

Thomas J. Ward, 25, insists he is not guilty in the April 15, 2010, shooting death of McCoy at his Saltillo home.

McCoy was a 20-year-old Itawamba Community College soccer player when she died from a single gunshot wound to the face, which exited the top of her skull and reportedly killed her instantly.
Prosecutors are District Attorney Trent Kelly with assistants Richard Bowen and Josh Wise. Ward’s attorney is Victor Fleitas of Tupelo.

• • •

• Follow courtroom action live via Twitter.com @realnewsqueen #wardtrial and read more detailed, periodic updates on DJournalnow.

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2:00 – Judge back. Earnest still on stand out of order. Both sides ready for jury.
FLEITAS – (Going back a little bit, before MS tests, asked to do it in lab. Permitted?) No, have done it there many many times. (Not in this case.) Correct. (In Saltillo, testing was not in lab. Distances done, does this have any bearing on results?) No. Conditions were good that day, nothing that would have interfered with results. Saw no reason to be concerned about anything. (Talked about manner in which you conducted testing on plastic sheeting. Look at contact at 6 inches. Hold that up. Explain what you did on there and results.) Top, listed contact, which means once pistol is loaded, barrel in contact with plastic. Below it, listed 6 inches from plastic to end of barrel at instance of firing. (Different ranges?) One is contact. (On 6 inches) That’s 6 inches from barrel to plastic… simulates surface of skin. (Hold up 12 inches. ) This is it. With target on backing, sheet is marked off 12 inches of muzzle, that’s end of barrel. (Hold up 18-inch sheet and show to jury.) This is the 18-inch patter. From surface to end of the barrel. (Another one?) 24 inches, this one. One last target fired at 36 inches.
(Once you did that, interpretation of findings after analysis of sheets?) Yes, when get them back to lab, I put them on light table. Can see everywhere struck target. Use microscope and light table to see where if any, particles have gone through sheeting. If so, thrrough, that was a high-energy particle that should have gone thru layer of skin and into tissue, where blood would well up and show a mark, which is stipling. Red dot on surface of skin, where blood wells up. Particle can be thought of teeny tiny projectile through skin. Red dot everywhere that goes through.
(Conclusions about this pistol about distance at which stipling was no longer present?) Distance where I did not see any particles with sufficient velocity out at 24 in ches, none had enough to go through. But they imbedded at 18 inches. (Imbedded, many, few?) Two, different particles through to puncture skin and cause stipling mark, very dispersed. Random, couple of particles. (Would they have high or low likelihood of striking McCoy?) yes, could produce stipling mark. Not talking a tight pattern, very dispersed. (What effect does hair have on stipling?) Hair, if covers area, usually won’t be stipling. Hard for powder particles to get through. (Conclusion as to what distance was t which this firearm would discharge particles?) From contact to 18 inches.
(Opinion, gun fired no closer than 18 inches?) Correct (But could have been 18-24?) Yes. (Opinion, reasonable degree of scientific certainty?) Yes.
(Test firearm, for its function, other features?) Yes. (Other conclusions, trigger pull?) More technial, amount of forcre to depress trigger and fire is in the ball park of 12 pounds. Entirely normal for this tyupe pistol. (Question about cotton twill material at Crime Lab. To reasonable degree of scientific certainty, distance conclusions by state with cloth?) No, one research paper says twill is not to be used for determination of stipling under any conditions. Appropriate to use cloth if trying to figure distance from clothing to gun. But if you’re talking stipling, must use another material.
(Present during Dr. Lewis’ testimony, did she say she inspected the cotton twill?) She said she relied on MS Crime Lab to do testing and far as I know, she didn’t do that. (Did you pull the cotton twill and look at it yourself?) Yes. (Observation of it and your plastic, legitimacy to their conclusions?) No legitimacy in using cloth trgets to try to determine cloth to determine stipling. No problem if you want to do distance on clothing. Appropriate. But if trying to determine stipling, use of cloth target will only tell you if it adheres to trget, nothing about energy or enough velocity to puncture through.
(GSR?) Gunshot residue. (Know how it’s categorized?) Yes, two major ways and used interchangeably. On clothing, powder particles, burned and unburned. Talking about patterns. VErsus GSR off handwipings off somebody suspected of firing or near weapon. Then we use different set of instruments. GSR or primer residues to do determination about whether somebody handled or fired weapon. (GSR test, if got an indication of “positive” … what does it suggest?) We’re talking about primer residues – either elevated levels that contain lead, barium or antimony or some combination ,… in primer. Discharged, they adhere to somebody’s hands or on clothing. (With “positive” finding, tell us anything about proximity to firearm?) Not really, all it tells you that somebody either handled dirty weapon … or that theyw ere in the cloud of the firing … or that they actually fired it. It can’t ell who fired it, only that they are there.
(What about firing and GSR “indicative”?) Usually reserved for when don’t find all three elements or possibly … one element and say it’s “indicative.” It’s not “positive.” No conclusion of indicative except element is there on hands that were swiped.
(Some testimony about gunpowder to put soot on McCoy’s right forearm. Is that scientifically significant?) It’s an opinion. Basically, somebody saying that their hand was on the slide and that at discharge, it’s their opinion that some gunpowder burns should be on arm or hands… possible. Also just as possible that cloud never would have touched them.
(Do you know if McCoy forearm was tested for particles?) Other than pathologist’s observation, don’t know of any actual testing. (Soot and gunshot particles … in an area with significant blood loss and bleeding, as well as medical intervention… what … can particles be lost that way?) Yes, washes area with blood. Soot can come off under those conditions. (Absence wouldn’t show anything, would it?) No.
(Your review of materials in this matter, and review of Crime Lab testing, hearing Lewis … your tests … have you arrived at a conclusion about whether or not the discharge of firearm in this case could or could not have been accidental?) Could be accidental. ACtual distance on tatooing pattern is within somebody’s reach … within stated reach or average reach of a young woman discussed here. (You r opinion… that discharge in this case was accidental?) It could fit that, in this case. As a scientist I can’t say to a certainty. Only those there can say that. But given this physical evidence, certainly a reasonable possibility. (Because you’re scientist, don’t make opinions without evidence?) Correct. (Lewis’ opinions?) Were founded, as far as the distance, on a material that’s inadequate for this testing. In my opinion, no validity to say it was 40 inches or greater.
BOWEN – CROSS EXAMINE
(Bowen – did you say that this gun that you fired .. your opinion that if the gun is fired grater than 24 inches, no stipling or tatooing on human skin?) Yes sir. (Equally true if gun fired at 4 feet?) Yes sir. (5, 6 feet?) Yes sir. (You’re saying that this gun was not fired in this case at a human … Anna McCoy … not fired with muzzle contact?) Oh, No. (At distance of 6”?) No (Not at 12?) No. (In fact, not 18?) No. Should be small stipling but I’m not seeing any at 24. No stipling from that point on out.
(You didn’t make these tests at 30?) Why?) We were running down to having no ammo of same type. I had not seen anything at 24. Knew we were beyond point that it would cause stipling. (Your opinion, fired at distance greater thatn 24?) Actually greater than 18. (Can’t say greater than 6 feet?) Correct. (Cotton twill criticized?) Yes, used for clothing. (You say plastic is better because it’s more like human skin?) Yes. (Did you hear Lewis talk about abrasions caused by unburned particles?) Yes, would expand on that … any unburned could cause stipling. (But your test was to show actual perforatons, not abrasions?) Believe we’re talking apples and oranges. She used term abrasions. True mechanism is wehre skin is actuall punctured. It’s not just a scrape. I believe she used that word. Not 100% accurate. Gunpowder tatooing is according to man who wrothe the Bible on this – they are lesions made by particles puncturing into the skin and blood welling up under skin. (She’s a forensic pathologist and you’re not?) Agree, of course. (You say gun ws fired at greater distance than 18” or could be 6 feet or more?) Beyond 18” that would still leave gunpowder.
(You said testing wasn’t performed in laboratory. Wouldn’t it be different from your test areaa?) Yes. I wanted to do it in indoor firing range but didn’t see conditions to be so differnt that it would impact this case. (You know that gun was fired in an enclosed environment?) Yes, (Don’t think your test was affected outside?) No, not at all.
(You testified in your opinion the firing of this gun, based on … test of gunshot distances could have been accidental.?) Based on the distances. (Firearms examiner?) Yes. (Familiar with the gun used in this killing?) Yes, S&W 40-Cal semi-automtic pistol. (Auto-loaded?P Yes. (Familiar with history of its manufacture?) Came along after Gloch, very similar. (Gloch sued S&W because it was so similar?) Yes, what I understand. (As a result of lawsuit, S&W modified the gun. Modificatio to trigger mechanism actually made it a safer weaspon?) I wouldn’t argue that. Trigger safety make it a safer weapon. Bottom line, it’s not going to fire unless you pull the trigger. (Can’t just bump and have it go off?) Sufficient force could be applied to overcome 12 pounds. But not if you wrap trigger with finger or something hits it with sufficient force. (Trigger must be pulled through cycle. Don’t bump it to go off?) Bump is subjective. Depends on how much force you exert with that bump.
(Examined more than 2,000 firearms?) Yes. (Some will actually go off with a bump?) Yes. All depends on how much force it takes to discharge the weapon. Some 2 pounds or less – we say have hair trigger. (Trigger pull on this is more similar to double-action revolver or single-action?) I’d agree with that.
(You thoroughly tested this gun for function. Find anything?) None whatsoever. Safety performed as designed. (Pull it for trigger pull?) Yes. (Gun have any malfunctions?) None. (Were you told that this pistol was bought only two weeks before McCoy killed?) It may have been in paper work but didn’t pay attention. (Check mfg date?) No. (Surprised to know it was made in January of that year?) If you say so. (Are you familiar with changes made because of Gloch’s criticism, so wouldn’t accidentally discharge?) Yes, I am familiar with changes made. Know internal mechanisms of fun. KNow it to be a safe gun and that safety works on this gun. (Conduct any tests to see effect of GSR, muzzle-blast effect from let’s say an arm orhand, if gun dic=scharges close by?) Yes, to a degree. The test target that is shown to be contat has plenty of gunshot residue, Amount of gas has blown plastic apart. If this was skin, blast would ahve gone into the wound. Notice small amount around 6 inches. By time to 12 inches, there’s nothing showing. CCI, the people who made the ammunition, they say on website that they have clean-burning powder. Not a lot of black charring like on other ammunition.
(But if someone were holding the gun by the barrel with palm of the hand near muzzle, wouldn’t you agree indication of that on the palm of the hand?) If person had hand at end of barrel, yes what you say is true. If they had hand behind muzzle blast, there wouldn’t be that. (Let’s talk about when would. With palm near barrel, significant injury?) Yes. (If someboyd had her hand behind the muzzle when it discharges, then there wouldn’t be?) Yes. (If someone were handing the gun to someone else,…..?) Would go right into your arm. (If bullet hit me into the face? …. FLEITAS – OBJECTION TO RECONSRUCTION… No way to know what movement or manner of how exchange occurred. BOWEN – When officer Haygood testified to that …. FLEITAS – I objected then. JUDGE – I agree with all that. However, this man is tendered as an expert. I’m going to overrule objection. Jury understands this is just an opinion.
BOWEN (One other about this … we talked about what would happen with muzzle blast under two or three circumstances … but somethingelse happens .. when it discharges … true?) The slide moves rearward and ejects empty cartridge. (Which way ejects?) On right side of slide. Where it would go? If point it straight ahead … case would go back behind me. But if gun is turned, it could go up straight. If turn it more, it could go in another direction. Hihgly depends on where it was pointed.
(You did measurements of how far would gun expel cases?) Ran range, straight ahead 13-20 feet. (So, comes out with velocity?) Absolutely, inside BR it could carrom off walls, who knows where it would come to rest. (Go there?) Saw photos of scene. (If I said BR was 12 x 12 … let’s assume that shooter of this gun on the night this happened, was standing close to center of the room on back side. And fired gun at nearly a level with ground. Is it possible, that ejected round would hit wallk and recochet?) It’s possible.
(Going to ask you about when gun fires and slide moves. Let’s say Anna did not have her hand on or near the slide, if it weren’t near the muzzle?) I believe that was the testimony. (When slide comes back, what’s on front?) Sight piece. (Reasonable to assume that if she had her hand on pistol in that manner, would be injury or abrasion to her hand?) May be true, but not necessarily. (Why not true?) It just depends on whether it comes back where he hand really is. Sight can make it past her without causing damage. (Well, what about ejection?) Cartridge, some gunpowder residue (Burning gases?) Yes. (Telling jury wouldn’t have injuries?) She could be holding this gun and it fire without her getting any damage to her hand or her arm. Given a partciular set of considerations. (Converse is true, could be injury?) Just as equally. (Based on your testimony. This could be accidental.. based on distance test?) Yes.
(But also might not have been accident?) It could.
FLEITAS – (You’re trying to determine minimum distance from firearm to a target?) Yes. (Any mechanism after a certain distance to determine stipling?) No, here there was no tatooing or gunpower noted on victim. All we an go by is stipling and where it ends, that’s somewhere about 18 inches. OBJECTION – JUDGE- aAsk question.
(Based on your testing, the shot that killed McCoy could have been fired from 18 inches or greater?) Correct. (Consistent with exchange of gun from one person to another?) I could ahve been in. (Gun set off with push or pull?) Yes. (What is a pull?) Takes firearm, putting figure on trigger an dpulling it through. (Can it be set off by push of trigger?) It can … shows by pushing trigger. (If finger is inserted inside trigger guard and pushed toward trigge3r, can the firearm discharge?) Yes sir. Any force can move the trigger and fire it.
(Lewis’ definition of stipling … ?) Gunpowder punches through skin. (Would Lewis’ descfiptio of stipling as an abrasion be accurate?) I don’t think that’s used in the literature and not what Dr. Vincent DeMayo who wrote the book on gunshot wounds … goes into great detail about stipling and tatooing… describes exactly method of how this happens.
(Who said why tests performed here?) I can’t say with certainty. (Deied by?) Prosecutors. (BOWEN – OBJECT. JUDGE – SUSTAINED.)
FLEITAS – (Regardless where testing performed, did environment have bearing on results?) I my opinion, no. (Asked several questions about … with firearm in certain different ways … based on your experience etc., the discharge of firearm is a fairly shocking event … dealing with a static environment or do people move?) Not frozen in time, it is a dynamic event. (Movement involved?) (WHAT IS YOUR experience with scenario of firing a firearm?) It’s dynamic event where people are moving. (Again, based on your experience etc., is ehre anything … does the absence of any soot, poweder, injuries to McCoys hand/forearm change or modify your opinion?) No. (Discharge would not produce soot, stipling?) This ammunition is clean burning, not a lot of soot or powderburns … not finding anything doesn’t mean anything. (If those tests were done, would that mean something?) If they had, could have drwn conclusions.
(Who decides who orders the testing done?) BOWEN – OBJECT, BEYOND SCOPE. (FLEITAS – State did touch on residue on her arm … quetion follows, as to if it’s not there, who’s responsible to the testing?) BOWEN – Didn’t ask him that. JUDGE – I don’t believe anyone asked who’s responsibility it is to test. SUSTAIN
(Fleitas – Based on your experience etc., is the gunshot in this case … firing gun, consistent with an accidental discharge?) Yes sir it could be.
3:11 – RELEASE WITNESS.
• • •
STATE CALLS LENGTHY WITNESS. BOWEN ASKS FOR SHORT RECESS.
• • •
12:35 POST
TUPELO – A Texas firearms expert took the stand at late morning for the defense, in an unusual move to address travel issues for the man.
Shortly before a 12:30 p.m. lunch recess, Richard Earnest began to tell the jury how he conducted firearms tests on 4-mil plastic to simulate whether gunpowder particles were fired with enough force to penetrate skin, to produce stipling or so-called tatooing.
The defendant, Thomas J. Ward, 25, insists he is not guilty in the April 15, 2010, shooting death of Anna Catherine McCoy at his Saltillo home.

McCoy was a 20-year-old Itawamba Community College soccer player when she died from a single gunshot wound to the face, which exited the top of her skull and reportedly killed her instantly.
Prosecutors are District Attorney Trent Kelly with assistants Richard Bowen and Josh Wise. Ward’s attorney is Victor Fleitas of Tupelo.

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• Follow courtroom action live via Twitter.com @realnewsqueen #wardtrial and read more detailed, periodic updates on DJournalnow.

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11:21 – Judge returns, Fleitas asks a few more minutes to organize photos to use with next witness.
11:26 – Judge tells jury break was a little longer than he anticipated. Tells them not to leave the jury room without a bailiff. Also tells them it’s difficult to smoothly schedule witnesses … that said, defense has an out-of-town/state witness who could be here today and probably not another day… and I said to counsel in chamber that it was fine with both sides that this witness be taken out of order… a defense witness… while state still hasn’t completed its case. Consider his testimony as called by the defendant, with state having the right to cross examine.
FLEITAS – DEFENSE CALLS RICHARD EARNEST 11:29
EARNEST – Alliance Forensics Lab, Fort Worth, TX. Tells about education, experience. Field of forensic ballistics, firearms expert. In 2000 went into biz for himself at Alliance. 2006 accredited. for international standards. Firearms exam lab, anything related to firearms. Training includes FBI, gun mfg courses, says with nearly all major manufacturers. Lectures on distance determinations. Teaches forensic microscopy at Univ. of North Texas. Testified in court over 1,500 times. FLEITAS – Expert in forensic ballistics, gunshot distance determinations and firearms examination. (BOWEN to question briefly.)
(BOWEN – Asks about firearms examinations, includes trigger-pull examinations?) Yes. (State accepts as expert.)
FLEITAS – (Wants him to testify about CV.) BOWEN – OBJECTIONS. JUDGE – What purpose does it serve? (Fleitas – hasn’t gone through every detail of experience, to be absolutely complete as far as jury is concerned.)
FLEITAS (REcognize doeument?) Yes, my full resume’. Complete areas of expertise. (BOWEN – OBJECT – Totally extraneous, total hearsay.) FLEITAS – Withdraw as evidence, admitted into identification.
FLEITAS – (Asked to examine and test materials in this case?) Correct. (Inform jury what reviewed for tests?) First brought in by another attorney, Russell McNeese, in a connected matter. Those items sent to me. Then I came here to MS to do certain other tests in this matter. Conducted tests. (Have materials with you?) Yes. Test target materials are in this envelope. (Also had certain other physical items shipped?) Yes. (Fleitas carried small cardboard box to him – REcognize this?) Yes. At time I got it, was the remains of testing I had performed for distance determination in MS and also in box was smaller box of Independence brand 40-cal cartridges … used in this testing. Flew, couldn’t bring them. TSA frowns on that. Had them FedExed to me at lab and sent them back here .. to Fleitas. (Materials received and shipped back?) Yes.
(Also take photos of tests?) I did.
11:49 – (Handed you a stack of photos. Ask you to review them. Did you take them?) Almost all of them… yes, photos spanned two different time periods. MS test and lab examination. (Fairly, accurately represent items in them?) Yes. (Ask to admit them into evidence.) BOWEN – OBJECT AS COMPOSITIVE. NOT SURE WHAT RELEVANCE AS TO THIS WITNESS’ TESTIMONY. JUDGE – Not sure if court will admit. Some concern as a composite without having seen them. FLEITAS – Will address that during my examination. …. takes photos back from Earnest. JUDGE – If you examine those and agreed upon certain ones, I’d be willing to listen to that. Not suggesting you do that, just saying I’d permit that if you so chose.
(FLEITAS – To conduct examinations, traveled to MS? ) Yes, (When?) Came and did testing April 10, 2010. (When you came … aware of issue raised about gunshot distance determination?) Yes. (When came, have any notions about what testing would show?) No. (Purpose of testing?) Ynless you use the same type of gun and same ammunition fired into test target materials appropriate for doing stipling determinations, you’re going to skew your results. (Stipling an issue here?) Yes.
(What brought with you for tests?) Out at range, provided with actual firearm involved and actual ammunition use. Made test firings using target materials acceptable for checking tatooing or stipling. Use gunpowder tatooing to describe stipling. Particle must have sufficient velocity to puncture through skin. Skin takes about 350-ft-per-sec for particle to break skin and embed in it. Blood wells up and forms a red dot. Not all particles will have enough velocity. So must test with right material.(Are all gunpowder particles equal for stipling?0 No, they’re not. If do a distance determination … looking at clothing or cloth… would use cloth trgets to simulate patterns on somebody’s clothing. Often we get particles up to 20 feet. Stipling is an up-close event. You have to have sufficient velocity to bust through the skin. Depends on caliber, gunpowder amount, velocity, velocity falls off very quickly. It is a very close event.
(What is this?) Appears to be the pistol I examined in MS on April 10. (Recognize that?) This is the mgazine for the pistol. This one holds 13 rounds, plus one in chamber for total 14 rounds. (Is that magazine you used to test?) I can’t swear to it, but we had a magazine for the tests. (You used certain rounds?) Provided with Independent brand ammunition … marketed … company owns CCI. These are CCI Blazer marketed as low-brand. (Have the rounds?) Yes. Took one apart to show bullet an type gunpowder dealing with. Also set of fired cartirdge cases that I used at different distances. (Rounds, any notations on plastic?) Shows distance and how far case ejected as we fired on range. (You took measurements/) Yes. (Shells – fired from taht gun?) Yes. (Introduce shells into evidence. NO OBJECTION.)
(After being provided firearm and rounds … I want you to look at these spent hulls here and compare with State 41… fired evening of incident. Check markings. Are they of same type? Blazer 40 S&W?) Yes they appear to be. (Same as ones you fired?) Yes.(In MS and tested. Explain what you did?) At a makeshift gunrange, put up stand and cardboard backer. Put up painter’s plastic, 4-mil plastic. Use that to simulate human skin. Reason … have problems finding volunteers to shoot into human skin. But a variety of materials that have been used over a long period. But two materials, 4 mil plastic and … calls another product … shown to be closest to human skin in characteristics. Says one of his testers tried it out on his own skin. Also, fresh pigskin are very similar or most similar to what we see in plastic targets and other product. To do tatooing patterns. Where will strike, sufficient velocity to puncture plastic… if so, would have punctured thru skin. If not would not have been able to produce stipling.
(Can you open test materials and demonstrate to jury?) Yes sir. Here’s a target at distance of 12 inches … to end of barrel. With that diwtance, fired a round. Looking for presence of particles that would ahve punched through or embedded … enough velocity to cause stipling, we’re looking for.
(When test conducted, what groups were present at your tests?) Along with me and you, had several different law enforcement officers there. One at DA’s table. Variety of people, don’t know their names. (Because these materials would be evidence, always worked with law enforcement?) Correct. (Show you 2 photos – Depict?) Both much the same thing. Stand upon which cardboard backer was placed and plastic sheeting attached. FLEITAS – intro into evidence. NO OBJECTION.
(Went to stand … did what?) Took pistol and loaded it with one round of ammunition. At each distance, marked off distance and fired. Took photos at different distances and where cartridge cases went to, and noted in photos. Marked targets with distance and bagged fired cases. Put distances and distances from the cartridge case. (Recognize those photos?) Yes, series making off different distances. FLEITAS – intro into evidence, 9. BOWEN – No objection.
(Posts one of the photos – Is that what plastic sheeting looks like on stand and fired into?) Yes, that’s correct. (What distances did you do that test? From muzzle to target?) With muzzle at contact against sheet, 6” then 12” then 18” then 24” then 36”. (Reason for those distances?) To determine where is the point at which the gunpowder particles don’t have sufficient velocity to puncture the plastic – like skin. (Where stipling is no longer produced by that firearm?) Yes. (When conducted the tests, knew about Lewis who said had to be 42 inches or greater?) Yes, (Do you ahve the series of plastic sheets from tests?) I do. (From time put them up, test fired, photographed. Have they been i your possession?) Yes, my constant care up to this moment. (Are those the test-fired plastic?) Yes. BOWEN – We would like to inspect and seen photos but we’ve had no opportunity to see them. Judge – you may do to.
(5 sheets.) JUDGE – Asks how much longer?
FLEITAS – Think advisable for noon recess.
JUDGE – Difficult to break up testimony. But it’s 12:30 and now’s a good time to break for lunch. Back by 2 p.m.
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10:53 POST
TUPELO – Anna McCoy’s hands did not touch the gun when it fired and killed her, said the pathologist who autopsied her the day after she died.
Dr. Adele Lewis said she saw no gunshot residue, burns or anything else on McCoy’s hand or hands before she performed the autopsy in Jackson.
The jury then took a 20-minute break.

Ward, 25, insists he is not guilty in the April 15, 2010, shooting death of Anna Catherine McCoy at his Saltillo home.

McCoy was a 20-year-old Itawamba Community College soccer player when she died from a single gunshot wound to the face, which exited the top of her skull and reportedly killed her instantly.
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• Follow courtroom action live via Twitter.com @realnewsqueen #wardtrial and read more detailed, periodic updates on DJournalnow.
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Prosecutors – District Attorney Trent Kelly with assistants Richard Bowen and Josh Wise – claim Ward was so grossly negligent and reckless with a 40-caliber handgun that McCoy died, which is an element of the depraved-heart murder charge.

Ward’s attorney, Victor Fleitas of Tupelo, presses his case that she died in a tragic accident, not a murder.

The trial began last Tuesday and is expected to continue most of this week.

Circuit Judge James L. Roberts Jr. presides at the Lee County Justice Center’s second-floor courtroom.
(Please excuse the typos and glitches likely as I type rapidly.)
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9:14 – Judge enters courtroom. Counsel says no matters to precede jury’s entry. Judge reminds audience about cell phones and their continue cooperation for good behavior. 9:18 – Deputy to bring in jury.
9:20 – Jury takes seats, 12 regular and 3 alternates. Judge give them short recap of trial thus far.
Says he anticipates trial to complete this week.
BOWEN CALLS DR. ADELE LEWIS, says witness likely will present photos that are graphic and possibly upsetting to audience.
LEWIS – 9:25 – (Bowen to question) Adele Lewis, trained as general pathlogy, forensic pathology. Deputy chief medical examiner in Nashville, TN. Explains to jury what pathologist does. Teaches at Vanderbilt, since 2006. Lecturer for professional organizations. Board certified in anotomic and general pathology. Licensed in TN, MS. Spoken to groups about gunshot wounds. Says testified at trial more than 100 times. FLEITAS – Asks court about specific expertise, which she will be certified.
FLEITAS – (With respect to your testimony, tendered in forensic pathology) My understanding. (Any other field?) Not to my knowledge. Forensic path directs investigations into unexpected deaths. (Specialized training in internal ballistics?) Have specialty about internal injuries about bullets. (That would be wound ballistics.) OK. (With respect to internal ballistics, claiming expertise? Firearm and action within firearm.) No. (External ballistics?) Asks him to define. (Study of a projectile from moment it exits firearm through its flight?) I have had training in what happens when a gun is fired… gunpowder, heat, effect on the body. Wouldn’t say I’m a ballistics expert. (No claim for internal ballistics?) No. ( Claiming expertise in terminal ballistics? Study of projectile when its object?) If when it hits a person, yes, I am trained in that. (Understand difference between wound and terminal ballistics?) Wound when enters body, terminal would be affect of bullet once it strikes an object. Use ballistics to deal with weapon. (Familiar with Vincent Demayo?) Yes, authoritative in wounds. Not ballistics.
(Familiar with scope of Demayo’s training?) Not sure. (But you’re saying you don’t know what his expertise is?) My understanding he’s trained in forensic pathology. (Entity you are employed by?) Forensic Medical Mgt Services, provide autopsy and other forensic services. In MS were Global Forensics. (Global, when retained in this manner?) Yes. (Since 2005, for Forensic. Global was a subsidiary 2008-2010 in MS worked for them.)
9:38 – (Bowen to question – FLEITAS – SORRY – accept her as expert as forensic pathology, object to any testimony about ballistics with exception about wound ballistics.) JUDGE – We’ll see where that goes. Accepts her in forensic pathology. Recognizes objection.
(Since point raise, tell us what anatomical pathology?) It’s general pathology. (Anatomical, includes within forensic pathology?) Yes, first pass anatomical tests. (Performed autopsy on McCoy?) Company asked by MS Dept of Public Safety. Pathologist would do work with Medical Examiners’ Office, I was person here in Jackson then. Performed about 2K-2,500 autopsies. This autopsy at State Crime Lab, Jackson.
(When body presented to you, how was it done?) Body arrived in body bag, Ms. McCoy in white bra, black panties. Looked at her for injuries and trace evidence. (Tell jury what autopsy entails?) First look at body, for gunpowder soot in wound, photo body before wash. Then wash, look at general state of body, injuries, scars, photograph those and document. Then start autopsy, cut into body, examine organs, weigh them etc. (Purpose?) General, to determine cause and manner of death. (Determined hers?) Gunshot wound to head. … shows jury that wound entered McCoy beside lips. (Damages?) Bullet first went through lip, upper jaw, fractured some teeth, went through sinuses, then cut in half the bran stem, then exited head out left side back of head.
(Wound fatal?) Yes it was. (What was size of hole caused by bullet as entered?) Hole about 1/4 inch in diameter. (Markings otherwise at hole?) Were small scrapes or abraisions, in semi-circle. Caused by skin stretching as bullet enters. Mark looks like a scrape. (Observe her hands, arms?) Yes. Purpose, to see if any soot or injures. Later, to check for injuries? Did not see any. Took photos. Photos of her face. (What info given prior to autopsy?) Told she died of gunshot wound… looks at papers … From county coroner … FLEITAS – REQUEST TO APPROACH
LAWYERS CONFER AT BENCH
(BOWEN resumes questions… don’t tell us everything you were told before, just … were you advised by coroner that she suspected that McCoy was killed by gunshot wound?) Yes, I was told that. (Suppose you examined her head for injuries? and Cause of death?) Exit wound on left side, back of head. Slit-like wound with somewhat jagged edges. Larger than entry. (Typical?) Sometimes, in this case, yet. Typlically enters are round, then it begins to tumble and create fragements. Typlically exit is larger. (Sever brain stem, unconsciousness?) Yes. (Would she be able to breath after that?) Appeared she may have taken one of two breaths. She had blood in airway. Not for any meaningful time. Death would happen within seconds or minutes. (Perform rest of normal autopsy?) Yes. (Purpose?) To rule out any other possible causes. (Find anything?) No, I did not. (Other than wound, otherwise reasonably healthy?) Yes, had she not had wound to head I would have had no idea why she died. (Cause?) Gunshot wound to head.
(Photos took at autopsy?) Taken at my direction. (Before final report, reviewed any other documents or tests?) Yes I did. Toxicology report reviewed by Dr. Long from St. Louis. No, tox testing was negative… for alcohol, …. lists various other drugs it was negative for. (Internal exam found no toehr potential diseases, injuries etc. External tests find anything?) A few bruises on her left shin but that’s all.
9:55 – To show photos. (Bowen – … sifting through photos before begins … Dr. Lewis, said you when first received the body, still had dried blood on the face?) Yes. (Before cleaning off, inspect body closely, face closely?) Yes Looking for …. Didn’t find it. (Exhibits 20) Shows exit wound on back left top of head… describes how bullet entered and then exited. (Exhibit 21) First was before ithd been cleaned. Shave area to get a look look at what wound looked like. Approx 1/2 inch in length, about 1/4 inch wide. (next) Even closer wound, not much more info. (Exhibit 23) Right side of Ms McCoy’s face. …. Ward is tearing up and put his hand over his mouth …. Lewis – abraisions, scrapes at entry found at mouth. Scrapes, not like stippling. Only seen in intermediate range wound… that muzzle is 6-=24 inches from body. (Exhibit 19) Head-on view of McCoy’s face. … Ward is weeping…. Lewis – shows same marks. No evidence of stipling. (What is tatooing?) Use gunpowder tatooing like I use phrase stipling. See no evidence of that. …. his mother is weeping. (Exhibit 26) Even closer look at entry wound, can see more clearly stretch marks. that one of her teeth is knocked out by bullet. (Exhibit 24) Even closer view of entry wound, see how big it is … about 1/4 inch in diameter. see skin tears, abrasions. (Mark on bloser lip?) Exhibit she had mouth closed when OBJECTION – PURE SPECULATION… BOWEN IT’S OPINION. FLEITAS – BASED ON SCIENCE, NO WAY TO KNOW. JUDGE – SHE’S EXPERT. SUBJECT TO YOUR CROSS.
(Answer ) Consistent with her mouth being closed, and abrasion and scrape. Would complete circle around gunshot wound. (Examine that mark … was it stipling?) No evidence of stipling. (Shows one more) Closer on entry wound. (Examine and inside of wound?) Yes, I did. Found no evidence of stipling/soot.
(Could stipling be washed or rubbed off prior to your examination?) No, it cannot. It’s tiny scrapes caused by frags of gunpowder hitting it. It’s scrapes. (What is close gunshot wound?) Define as having muzzle of gun with contact or inch or two away. (Close wound … how differ?) It this was close wound or contact wound … wound would be larger, lots of lacerations or cuts like a star shape, heavy soot. If close, heavy definition. (Intermediate wound?) When muzzle 6-24-36 inches… dependson weapon and ammunition. That range, with stipling. (If this were wound at close or intermediate, these wound would look different? OBJECTION – SAME RESULT) (Did you say different?) Yes, they would. CONTINUING OBJECTION. (In lifht of that, how do you characterize range that caused McCoy’s injury/) As indeterminate … roughl greater than 3 feet from muzzle to skin.
10:10 – (Difference from stipling and gunshot residue?) Yes, is. GSR is chemical or metals found in gunpowder that they test for in Crime Lab. Stipling is tiny scrapes on skin caused by gunshot powder. (Could GSR be removed by washing etc.?) Yes, it can. (You saw body before it was cleaned?) Yes. saw no soot before it was washed. Can’t see GSR with naked eye but you can see soot. There was none of that there. (Soot could have been removed by rescusitation?) Possible. (Stipling?) No it could not be removed.
(McCoy?) 5’ 3”, 100 pounds (Typical arms’ length with height?) Yes, would be 25 inches to tip of finger. (If gunshot 25 inches, what would characterized?) I’d call it intermediate and expect to see gunpowder stipling. (When examined arms and hands of McCoy, did you … you said noted no soot or GSR… also said saw no stipling?) Correct. (If gun fired with Mccoy holding onto barrel … especially in close to slide, what expect to find on hands?) If person holding muzzle, may very well be shot in the arm. Second, expect to see heavy soot or burning of skin. (On hands?) Expect to see soot. 10:17
FLEITAS – CROSS EXAMINATION
10:18 – (FLEITAS – Your involvement with this case, pursuitant to contract with State of MS. Never employed on staff of med examiner?) No. (Contract for state?) Yes. (Global Forensic, subsidiary of Forensics?) Yes, correct. (Global lost contract, did it not?) Yes. (Why? CEO was arrested for drug charges?) No, not correct. That happened March 2010. They declined to renew in October 2010. (In March 2010, your CEO was arrested in MS on marijuiana charge prior to testifying in a case?) Believe that is true. Bruce Levy. (You had 1 yr specialized training in forensic pathology… mentor was Levy?) He was one of several, yes. (Worked with Levy and was one of six pathologists?) Yes, and four in Memphis.
(Testify in state v. Vincent Vaughn?) I don’t recall. (Remember attorney Tisdale?) No. Don’t remember anything a out it. (You said 1,500 autopsies performed?)( Don’t remember. (Today, 2-2,500 can’t be more specific?) Don’t keep log. (How many years as forensic path?) 7. (We we divide … about 300 per year?) Yes. (What is recommended?) 250 or less. (Your testimony is you exceeded guidelines as to number per year?) Yes, when workingMS and TN< doing roughly 400 per year. (In violation of standards?) Yes, against recommendations. (Did you inform them of violations?) No, MS is not accredited. (You were wiling to violate your pfoessional standards because people working for are not accredited?) Most organizations aren’t accredited. (You were willing to forego professional standards becasue you were working for an unaccredited agency?) We were willing ... toa ssist MS> (To make more money?) Not all labs are accredited. (But you are a member of national assn.?) Yes, I am. (When member, sets forth standards?) For lab (You violated?) Yes, (*Chose to do that?) Yes. (To make more money?) To help MS when they came to us asking for help. (Couldn’t help MS to hold state to standards?) No, Not enough forensice paths in country. (Did you take photos of McCoy prior to washing?) The photos under my direction, yes. (Are those photos prior to washing/) They are not, after. (Do you have ones prior?) Not in my possession, no. (Know if were?) Don’t recall.
(Difference in per and post washing?) Yes, correct. (Bearing on what to be ascertain?) Yes. (Have any knowledge about prior washing photos?) I don’t know. Our standard is that they are. (No longer practicing in MS) Right. (Reason, you’re here, you were in Jackson on April 16?) Yes, correct.
(GSR testing, should it be done?) Not necessarily. (Hands should not be tested?) Many people feel that GSR testing isn’t helpful. Someone who has just touched gun or in vicinity, will show up positive. (Asks her about positive tests?) Not in my scopr of expertise. (Ask for GSR around wound area?) No. (Perform any GSR on forearms?) I don’t do that, done by crime lab. (No knowledge if even done?) No. (Clothing?) That’s up to crime lab. I don’t know if done or not. (Know if Mcoy was a soccer player?) Found that later in news report. (No surprise to find bruise on shin?) Not surprised. More surprised if she hadn’t. (You said with soot deposition … on a body surface, based on medical intervention or bleeding, soot washes away?) Yes. (Stipling, marks that aren’t removable by washing?) Correct. (You said that you would expect to see stipling in intermediate wound?) Yes, that’s its definition. (That could be 6-36 inches?) Depending on gun, ammunition, yes. (VAries … distance range is variable?) Yes, why we ask for test-firing patterns. We did request. (Ask for certain materials ot be used?) No, just for routine.
(Know if crime lab to do testing… was accredited?) Don’t know. (Know difference between gunshot particle that leave stipling and one that will not?) A gunshot particle, a gunpoweder particle? An unburned particle will cause stipling. (Just a burned particle?) No. (Isn’t that what leaves the tatooing?) Caused by unburned particle striking skin of person. (Will cloth used in this testing?) In my experience, commonly used. (On MS?) MS and TN. (No familiarity with use of other materials?) No. (Know if cotton twill is superior to others?) Don’t know. That is wht you referred to internal ballistics, I’m not an expert in that.
(Talking about cotton superior medium to others? You lack expertise?) I said expert as far as human body is struck. (But your extrapolating from cloth to human body?) That’s best we can do. (Familiar with how valid is material you use, compared to others?) I have to trust crime lab, I’m not expert. (You don’t know if this material is better or worse than others?) No. (But you’re offering opinon on material you can’t testified as to good or not?) All I know is what lab says. (Relying on trust?) Yes, trusting that MS crime lab is competent. I am sure of that. (Wht role does trust have in science/) None.(You have not business trusting?) No. (Essence is to test , not trust?) Correct. (Trust has not place there?) Absolutely not.
(Your opinion is… I know, based on some tests, that this firearm must be fired greater than 40 inches?) Yes sir. (Not based on test you did?) No, from crime lab. When you see doctor, he does tests… done by toehrs. It’s same. (No, it’s not, this is a trial.) BOWEN OBJEct
(Expect to see stipling but didn/t?) Yes. (You didn’t measure her arms?) No, I didn’t. (You estimate her arms’ length?) Yes. (Then you say this or tht couldn’t happen?) Yes. (All based on testing you didn’t perform?) Based on education, training and experience and tests by MS Crime Lab. (You didn’t perform?) Correct (Not present for?) Correct. (On which you are relying on MS Crime Lab didn properly?) Yes.
(X-rays taken?) Yes. (Remove primer residue from her hands?) No. (Is that a step you should have done?) She was received with hangs not bagged. No point in doing test without bagged hands. (Tests done by Crime Lab.) Done after the fact, yes. (Calculation about bullet going through body can’t be exact?) Yes. (Agree that bullet travel can be misleading?) Yes.
(FLEITAS checking something on computer …DA’s investigator hands note for Bowen …
(FLEITAS – remember Arthur Hughes, Vincent Vaughn?) No. (Said then had done 1500 autopies, now 2-2500 autopies?) Yes. (Reason why number of autopsies limited?) REason it’s too much work load for one person. (If do that, allows for errors?) Possible. (Increases when work too many?) Possible. (You chose to violate that standard?) Correct.
BOWEN – REDIRECT
(BOWEN – 10:43 – Dr. Lewis, before you came today, did you review your file on this autopsy, examination and findings?) Yes. (Find any errors?) Errors were in adding 36”… added as 40 rather than 42. (In going back over this, did you find any mistakes in findings?) No. (Why is it that your group was asked by MS to perform autopsies?) MS had one person to do virtually all autopsies by state… for past 10-15 years. (Reason, MS needed help>) Yes, 1500-1800 per year by one person. Far exceed standards. (Didn’t recall those autopies he asked you abou, remember year/) Believe he said 2008. (Asked about test-firing patterns that were done by Crime Lab. Did you review?) Copies of them. (Results, consistent with your testimony today/) Yes. (Asked on cross about not measuring McCoys’s arm lengthy. Anything abnormal about her arms?) No. In normal proportion to her body. (Dr. Lewis, asked about pictures of McCoy’s body taken prior to her body being cleaned. You said theywere at your direction?) Yes sir. (Show you antoher picture – ….as she appeared as she arrived in Jackson?) Yes.
(PRB – Photo as McCoy arrived…. shocking, bloody)
(Another photos) Lower part of her body. That arms are appropriate for her height. (Arms before cleaned?) Yes. (Based on training, experience as forensice pathology – your examination of McCoy … face, hands and arms … opinion about whether her hands could have been on the gun that fired the shot that killed her?) I DO. FLEITAS – OBJECIOTN/ OVERRULED. My opinon was her hand was not on thegun when fired.
EXCUSED – 10:52 / BRIEF BREAK
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9:00 POST
TUPELO – Testimony continues this morning in the depraved-heart murder trial of Thomas J. Ward.
Ward, 25, insists he is not guilty in the April 15, 2010, shooting death of Anna Catherine McCoy at his Saltillo home.
McCoy was a 20-year-old Itawamba Community College soccer player when she died from a single gunshot wound to the face, which exited the top of her skull and reportedly killed her instantly.
Prosecutors – District Attorney Trent Kelly with assistants Richard Bowen and Josh Wise – claim Ward was so grossly negligent and reckless with a 40-caliber handgun that McCoy died.
Ward’s attorney, Victor Fleitas of Tupelo, presses his case that she died in a tragic accident, not a murder.
The trial began last Tuesday and is expected to continue most of this week.
Circuit Judge James L. Roberts Jr. presides at the Lee County Justice Center’s second-floor courtroom.
• Follow courtroom action live via Twitter.com @realnewsqueen #wardtrial and read more detailed, periodic updates on DJournalnow.