SNELSON TRIAL: Cusworth was beaten to death: Pathologist

Neil George Snelson is charged with one count of manslaughter in the 1993 death of Jennifer Cusworth.

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KAMLOOPS - Around seven or eight blows to the head caused the death of a 19-year-old girl who was found beaten, bruised and strangled in a watery ditch at the side of a pumpkin farmer’s property in Kelowna in 1993.

In Kamloops Supreme Court today, June 4, Dr. Ronald Roy, a forensic pathologist, walked a jury through his autopsy exam of Jennifer Cusworth who died after leaving a Richter Street party on October 16, 1993.

Neil George Snelson, 48, is charged with one count of manslaughter. This is his second trial.

"Between midline of (her) neck and left ear had many lacerations of the scalp,” Roy said of Cusworth’s head. He noted a total of seven to eight blows, but said it was difficult to count them individually as some overlapped “probably in rapid succession."

Roy said there was a substantial amount of blood found under the scalp which indicated Cusworth’s assailant used a great deal of force in the attack.

“The scalp doesn’t split that easily,” he said, adding he thought a tire iron may have been the weapon used to inflict the injuries.

Crown prosecutor Iain Currie asked Roy to explain the bruised marks found on her neck.

Roy pointed to hemorrhaged blood vessels around the body’s voice box and neck muscles along with imprints on the skin.

“All of those injuries are very consistent with an attempt at strangulation,” he said.

Roy said there was no damage to her vagina. Crown alleges semen collected from the body matched the accused.

When asked about Cusworth’s condition at the time of her death, Roy said her blood alcohol level was high.

“(She was) quite intoxicated,” he said.

In the trial’s first day, Cusworth’s friends said they saw her at a house party and made plans to get her home safely after realizing her drunken state. Faith Klinksiek said after telling Cusworth to wait ten minutes before heading to her house, she disappeared from the party.

The trial is expected to last between three to four weeks.

Jennifer Cusworth
Jennifer Cusworth
Image Credit: Contributed

To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at gbrothen@infonews.ca, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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