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Pathologist describes victim's fatal head wounds

November 21, 2014 - 4:59 PM

KAMLOOPS – Autopsy photos of at least nine blows to a murder victim's head were presented by a forensic pathologist in Kamloops Supreme Court Friday.

Robert Donald Balbar is charged with the second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend Heather Hamill. Earlier in the trial, court heard Balbar’s video recorded confession when he told an undercover RCMP member he killed his girlfriend by hitting her with three different hammers around 50 or 60 times and disposed of her body in the Thompson River.

Dr. James Stephen, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Hamill’s body in August 2003, said the head wounds on the body were consistent with blunt force trauma as a result of being hit by a rounded object such as a hammer, metal rod or pipe.

Stephen said each wound had characteristics to indicate it was caused by a “curved or rounded” instrument.

“The injuries are all so... similar, the same weapon could have caused them all,” he said.

Of the nine wounds court heard of, Stephen pointed out two large fractures on the left side of the head, two smaller holes considered to be from one wound on the left side, one wound on the top of the head, one on the middle of the back of the head and four blows in a cluster on the right side of the head. Stephen added because of bruising there could have been more wounds. 

“The degree of force (used) was significant,” Stephen said in reference to the two large fractures. “This wound went into the skull.”

Stephen said any of the blows could have been lethal, but added he could not determine the sequence in which blows were received.

All of the body’s injuries were head-specific, Stephen said.

Friday marked the conclusion of the Crown’s case. Balbar’s lawyer, Jim Blazina, will present his defence evidence on Monday morning. 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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