Trial in dragging death of ASU student focuses on her injuries

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by Marie Saavedra

azfamily.com

Posted on October 9, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 10 at 6:20 AM

PHOENIX -- In Maricopa County Superior Court, a jury continues to hear the case of Joseluis Marquez, who is accused of killing 21-year-old Arizona State University student Kyleigh Sousa by grabbing her purse from inside a car and dragging her to her death.

But Tuesday morning, the focus wasn't on what he allegedly did to her, but what actually happened to her body the morning she died.

"She had multiple lacerations on the face as well as abrasions and contusions," said Maricopa County Medical Examiner Dr. Vladimir Shvarts.

The prosecution called Shvarts to the stand where he described the findings of his autopsy done in May 2010. The state showed him photos of Sousa's face, shoulders, arms and hands, all showing external injuries. But Shvarts said it was skull fractures and bleeding on her brain that ended her life.

"Multiple blunt force trauma injuries to the head," Shvarts said.

The state wanted to show the injuries match witnesses' stories of Marquez dragging Sousa by her purse.

"What if a someone had their arm caught in a purse and would be dragged around by a car. The injuries you saw, would it be consistent with that?" asked the prosecutor.

"It would be possible," Shvarts said.  

But Marquez's defense argued there are other explanations, such as a fall or a stumble.

"Could these injuries be caused by hitting the side of a car?" asked Marquez's attorney. "Yes, it's possible," Shvarts said.

And the defense claims there's no way the medical examiner would know what really happened.

"You honestly have no firsthand idea of how these injuries were caused?" the defense team asked. 

"I was not there," Shvarts said.

The trial continues Wednesday.

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