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Unformatted text preview: tely through the left jugular vein, and at that point the victim had only a few minutes to live. A second gash was six-and-a-half inches long, one inch deep, and ran from the tip of the chin and to the right ear, which it almost sliced in two. This wound by itself probably would not have resulted in death. The pathologist described these wounds as if he were talking about a tick bite. No big deal. Nothing unusual. In his business he saw this carnage every day and talked about it with juries. But for everyone else in the courtroom, the details were unsettling. At some point during his testimony, every single juror looked at Danny Padgitt and silently voted "Guilty." Lucien Wilbanks began his cross pleasantly enough. The two had hooked up before in trials. He made the pathologist admit that some of his opinions might possibly be wrong, such as the size of the murder weapon and whether the assailant was right-handed. "I stated that these were probabilities," the doctor said patiently. I got the impression that he'd been grilled so many times nothing rattled him. Wilbanks poked and probed a bit, but he was careful not to revisit the damning evidence. The jury had heard enough of the cuts and gashes; it would be foolish to cover this ground again. A second pathologist followed. Concurrent with the autopsy, he had made a thorough examination of the body and found several clues as to the identity of the killer. In the vaginal area, he found semen that matched perfectly with Danny Padgitt's blood. Under the nail of Rhoda's right index finger he had found a tiny piece of human skin. It too matched the defendant's blood type. On cross-examination, Lucien Wilbanks asked him if he had personally examined Mr. Padgitt. No, he had not. Where on his body was Mr. Padgitt scraped or scratched or clawed in such a way? "I did not examine him," the pathologist said. "Did you examine photographs of him?" "I did not." "So if he lost some skin, you can't tell the jur...
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- Spring '10