by Michael Dymmoch
After the initial shock, the autopsy photos become meaningless. The victim was stabbed and strangled and crushed by blunt force trauma, and People’s exhibits 53 to 80 exhaustively document her injuries. One of the jurors looks up at the clock. I do, too. I’ve seen photos like these before. And I didn’t know the woman. All of this seems overkill to me, as over killed as was the victim, stabbed and smashed and strangled.
The medical examiner has testified already as to all this carnage. His explanation of the photos is reinforcement—in case anyone missed something on the first pass. We in the gallery will not see the images, but the jury will. When the M.E. is finished, the pictures will be “published”—passed from juror to juror—here in court, then passed around later—if they can stomach it—in the jury room.
Couldn’t we just stipulate that she was brutally murdered? That’s not in question, is it? Won’t all of this distract us from the real point of the trial—did the defendant do it?
This is the part they leave out of legal thrillers. This is real life, real death—nauseating as the smell of putrefaction, ugly as road kill.