Update: Expert describes 'hacking trauma' to bones of Adam Lee Hall's alleged victims
SPRINGFIELD -- A forensic anthropologist on Friday described how the bones of three alleged victims of Adam Lee Hall suffered "hacking trauma" from a heavy cutting instrument.
James Pokines, a forensic anthropologist with the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, told the jury in Hall's murder trial that he examined the bones of David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell and determined their bodies were dismembered with a "heavy-bladed, sharp instrument" such as a machete or meat cleaver.
He said there were also marks on two of the bodies made by a saw and that there was evidence of blunt force trauma.
Pokines said he has no way of determining whether the wounds were made before death or days or even weeks afterward.
Berkshire District Attorney David F Capeless offered a photograph of a machete that was associated with the case. The weapon did not test positive for having blood on it, according to previous statements made in the case. The DA also offered into evidence illustrations from a medical book allegedly found in the apartment of Caius Veiovis that depicts dissections of human bodies. Veiovis also is facing murder charges in the men's slayings.
Pokines said that some of the diagrams are consistent with the way the victims' bodies were dismembered. Under cross-examination by Hall's attorney Alan J. Black, Pokines agreed that other aspects of the dismemberment were dissimilar to those in the illustrations.
Friday morning began with Black arguing that the jury should not be allowed to see the anatomy book, calling it a "prejudicial bombshell" that had no ties to his client.
Capeless argued that because this was a joint venture case, meaning Hall, Veiovis and David Chalue, were all equally culpable, the evidence should come in. The judge agreed with the DA and allowed the book to be used during the trial.Veiovis and Chalue are scheduled to be tried separately after Hall's trial concludes.
Friday also saw testimony from two state police members involved in the investigation.
Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael O'Neil was a member of the Crime Scene Services Unit that investigated the triple homicide. He examined the empty garbage bags that had contained the victims' remains and was unable to recover any fingerprints from them.
He was also unable to recover fingerprints from several other items recovered as part of the investigation. Those included a bag of open rubber gloves and a Winchester pistol cleaning kit taken from the Hells Angels clubhouse, water bottles taken from Veiovis' Jeep, and a key chain with a small flashlight and a phone charger found with the bodies.
He said there are a number of factors, from the temperature outside to the moisture on a person's hand, that can prevent prints from being left behind. Someone wearing gloves would also prevent there from being fingerprints, O'Brien said.
State police Sgt. Brian Berkel also took the stand and testified about his role as an observer at the autopsies of the victims that took place in Boston from Sept. 12 to 14, 2011.
He said the 14 garbage bags that were recovered in Becket were X-rayed before they were. Based on this, he asked the medical examiner to open bag 14, which on the X-ray showed three human heads inside. The next bag he asked to be examined had clothing and the third contained entrails and foliage, he said.
After all the bags were opened, the remains, which were muddy, wet and had leaves and grass stuck to them, were arranged anatomically on three gurneys.
The clothing had holes that matched the wounds on the bodies, including bullet holes and stab wounds, he said.
The trial continues Monday.