Saturday, August 02, 2008

Prison Death Trial

Deputy Stephen Krendick is on trial for the murder of an inmate in Ohio in 2006. Testimony from a pathologist who performed an autopsy on the victim offers shocking details about the abuse of a naked and already-restrained man:

Summit County Jail inmate Mark D. McCullaugh Jr. suffered multiple anal injuries during his fatal 2006 struggle with sheriff's deputies from ''an object that has to be rigid and unforgiving,'' a medical examiner's official said Tuesday.

Demonstrating the injuries in a series of graphic autopsy photos — each magnifying the area of the injuries — the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on McCullaugh said there were three specific areas of impact into and against the anal sphincter muscle.

''The anal blood vessels are crushed and leaking blood into the tissues,'' Chief Deputy Medical Examiner George C. Sterbenz said as he narrated the photos with a red laser pointer. ...

Krendick, 35, is charged with one count of murder for the death of McCullaugh on Aug. 20, 2006, after a violent struggle in the inmate's cell in the jail's mental health unit.

Four other deputies indicted in connection with the case are scheduled to go to trial later this year.

Sterbenz did not identify the rigid object that he said caused the anal injuries, but in questioning by Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor John R. Kosko, Sterbenz did say that ''these were foreign-body, sodomy-type injuries.'' ...

In testimony that backed up previous Summit County autopsy findings, Sterbenz concluded his time on the stand for the state by describing the causes of McCullaugh's death.

Sterbenz said McCullaugh died from asphyxia resulting from the combined effects of chemical, electrical and mechanical restraints.

McCullaugh, who was shackled in a hogtied position, choked to death within ''minutes'' of being sprayed with ''a large amount'' of pepper spray, Sterbenz said.

Using his autopsy photos, Sterbenz also pointed out 10 distinct marks on McCullaugh's back from what he said were Taser stun-gun barbs.

In Monday's opening statements, Kosko said Krendick used an entire 16-ounce can of pepper spray, shooting it into McCullaugh's cell through an open flap in the cell door while McCullaugh was naked and restrained.

Note that this happened in the jail's mental health unit.