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WIENS TRIAL: No evidence knife-hand was manipulated, doctor says

The Penticton gated community at the centre of a murder trial in Kelowna. Lynn Kalmring (inset contributed) was found shot to death in one of the homes.
July 18, 2013 - 6:55 AM

ANOTHER DEFENCE WITNESS REFUTES CROWN THEORY

Another expert witness testified today the prosecution has little to no evidence that Lynn Kalmring didn't have a knife in her hand at the moment she was shot by her common-law partner Keith Gregory Wiens. 

On Monday, 12 jurors will have to determine, among other things, if Wiens was acting in self defence when he shot and killed her, apparently following a heated argument about money. Wiens is charged with second degree murder in her August 16, 2011 death in the couple's Penticton home.

Doctor John Butt, a forensic pathologist, told jury members today the patterns of livor mortis – or post-mortem settling of blood – couldn't reveal what position the victim's left hand was in when she fell to the ground.

That contrasts with findings by Crown witness doctor William Currie, who testified the bluish discolouration of settled blood on the palm of the victim's hand indicates the hand was faced down when the victim died – not in the upwards position where the knife was found.

Doctor Butt also noticed the lividity patterns but says the blood would not settlle until at least 10 hours after death. The blood is still fluid and dynamic shortly after death, he said, and wouldn't have settled so quickly. 

“The livid staining would not have developed,” he said, adding that “it's not possible” to assume the livid stains observed hours after death were there from the beginning.

To use the lividity patterns to suggest the victim's hand was manipulated after she was shot isn't sound practice, Butt said.

The theory the left hand was “moved shortly after death cannot be sustained,” he said.

The markings inside the palm would have gradually developed over a period of 10 to 12 hours, with gravity slowly drawing blood into all the vessels.

In his cross-examination, crown lawyer Tim Livingstone suggested lividity was a variable phenomenon and could begin to appear 30 minutes after death.

While Butt agreed, he said if that were the case there would also be stains on the back of the left hand where it came to its final resting place.

In his testimony, doctor Currie noted discolouration on the back of the hand, however Butt insisted those stains don't appear on the investigation photos. He saw only a natural, tanned skin color.

Both the crown and defence will present their final submissions on Monday in Kelowna Supreme Court.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 718-0428.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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