Medical examiner's findings refute defense theory in negligent homicide
BRENTWOOD - The state's deputy chief medical examiner testified that injuries on the body of 17-year-old Korey Traficante show he was not the driver in a single-vehicle crash that took his life, and led to the prosecution of his friend.
Dr. Jennie Duval was quizzed about her findings by prosecutors and defense lawyers on Wednesday during the third day of Cameron Dearborn's negligent homicide trial in Rockingham County Superior Court. Dearborn, 19, of Danville faces two counts of negligent homicide.
Duval's testimony ran counter to the defense's theory that Traficante was driving a friend's 1998 Saturn with Dearborn in the passenger's seat when the vehicle crashed off of Frost Road in Derry on the night of Nov. 20, 2010. The vehicle landed on its passenger side and struck a tree and rock wall during the crash, according to court testimony.
Duval, called as a state witness, told the jury that her findings were made following an autopsy that was independent of a Derry police investigation. "From the outset it was believed Korey was a passenger, but it fit with my examination of the body," Duval testified.
Under questioning by the defense, Duval acknowledged that she couldn't determine which exact seat Traficante was traveling in, but she concluded he was on the right side of the car at the time of the crash.
Prosecutors called Duval as their final witness and rested its case on Wednesday afternoon. The defense is expected to call its own expert on the crash, who will suggest that Dearborn's injuries prove that he was a passenger in the car, not the driver.
Judge N. William Delker told jurors that they could expect to begin deliberating by Thursday afternoon. After the jury was dismissed for the day, Delker rejected the defense's bid for a directed verdict in the case - arguing that the judge should determine Dearborn is not guilty in the case. Delker said there was enough direct and circumstantial evidence in the case for the jury to reach a decision on its own.