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Trial Day 2: Science

October 20, 2010 • Local News

Tuesday, day two of the State of New Mexico v. Aaron Daugherty concentrated on forensics and forensic pathology. Daugherty, 25, is accused of killing Valerie A. York, 25, and Mark A. Koenig, 23, on June 13, 2009. Police were called to the trailer park, 1207 W. Hobbs, space 13, around 2:45 a.m., where they located the bodies of the victims.

Both had been shot in the head. The district attorney’s office brought in Dr. Ian Paul, the forensic pathologist from the Office of the Medical Investigator who conducted the autopsies on York and Koenig, to testify for the state.

Paul described the two wounds to York, both of which would have been fatal. The second would most likely have resulted in almost immediate death. Paul said Koenig also suffered from two bullet wounds.

The wounds on both victims exhibited evidence of “stippling,” which shows powder burns and debris.

Stippling occurs when victims are shot within a range of two to three feet. In each instance, it was reported that the second wound on each victim revealed the most severe stippling and probably took place at a closer range. Defense attorney James S. Lowry asked if the number designations, first and second, indicated the sequence of the shots fired.

Paul said no, it was impossible to determine which shot came first. Assistant District Attorney Michael Sanchez called Steve Guerra from the Department of Public Safety Firearm and Tool Mark Unit to the stand. Guerra explained the means used to compare spent bullets to weapon, using caliber, rifling, or lands and grooves, found in a bullet after firing. Guerra stated that the bullets test fired from the Ruger Super Blackhawk found in Daugherty’s car at the time he was apprehended “was consistent with the partial fragment” found during the autopsy. Upon cross-examination, Lowry asked if Daugherty’s weapon could be fired automatically, and Guerra replied, no.

“It is single action and must be manually cocked with the hammer pulled back.” Carrie Zais, of the Department of Public Safety Login to read more

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