By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
ASPHYXIA could not be “definitively” ruled out as the cause of death for a purported 11-year-old boy who suffered blunt force trauma to the head, a jury heard from a pathologist yesterday.
Dr Caryn Sands of the Princess Margaret Hospital said the child, whose naked decomposed body was covered in maggots, had a plastic bag over the head and noted although it would not show up on an autopsy, asphyxia “could not be definitively ruled out” as the cause of death.
Kofhe Goodman sat in the prisoner’s dock as his attorney, Geoffrey Farquharson, questioned the relevance of the pathologist’s evidence on the basis that the case in question involved the death of Marco Archer and the physician had yet to mention his name.
The objection was overruled by Justice Bernard Turner.
Goodman, 37, of Yorkshire Drive, faces a murder charge, which he denies. It is claimed that between September 23 and 28, 2011, he caused the death of Marco Archer, 11, who disappeared from Brougham Street and was found dead days later.
Goodman is represented by Mr Farquharson.
Garvin Gaskin, deputy director of public prosecutions, Neil Braithwaite and Darell Taylor are prosecuting the case, which began on April 19.
Dr Sands said the body below the neck had no penetrating injuries or injuries to the child’s extremities.
She also explained the process of flies laying eggs, larvae, maggots and estimating the time of death based on the length and size of the maggots.
Dr Sands estimated that the child she performed the autopsy on could have been dead for up to four days.
Speaking about the head of the corpse which she examined on September 29, 2011, she noted that maggots were concentrated on the right side of the face, which she said was consistent with flies/maggots being attracted by exposed flesh.
She said in this instance, and based on examination, there were abrasions and contusions to the head consistent with blunt force trauma.
The pathologist also said that there was a fracture at the base of the skull.
In cross-examination, Mr Farquharson asked the witness if she had received a report from Fairfax Identity Laboratories concerning the identification of the body based on samples used.
Dr Sands said she received a report through the police forensic laboratory on October 20, 2011, the day she signed a death certificate.
The lawyer asked her how she, almost a month before a report was produced, could attribute a name to the body she was examining, as the DNA evidence was not made known to her until October.
Dr Sands said the report was based on notes made to her and the report came in with a name.
Mr Farquharson asked the physician specifically how she was performing on “Marco Archer” when no identification was made until a month later.
Dr Sands said a post mortem number was assigned to the unknown child, “PM463-11.”
The pathologist was expected to give evidence again during the afternoon session of yesterday’s proceedings. However, Goodman was not feeling well and court was adjourned.
The trial resumes today.