Wright Trial: Cause Of Death

By Lou Raguse

Prosecutors went through Darlene VanderGiesen’s autopsy report with the county coroner as they discussed the 42-year-old woman’s cause of death.

Most family members stayed out of the courtroom as the gruesome photos were projected on a screen for the jury.

Coroner Brad Randall says the cause of death was either a hard blow to the side of the head, or suffocation, or both. Prosecutors believe after striking VanderGiesen, Daphne Wright pulled a thick, clear plastic bag over the woman’s head, tying the bag at the neck to cut off oxygen.

Prosecutors believe the suffocation aspect of the death helps prove premeditated murder.

Randall says he can’t be positive the bag was put there while VanderGiesen was still breathing, but he has never encountered a similar incident where someone put a plastic bag over someone’s head after death.

Randall testified that he can’t say for certain VanderGiesen’s skull fracture would be fatal. But when asked if it appeared accidental, like from a fall down the stairs, he said that’s not likely. Usually in accidental falls, a person’s shoulders protect the side of the head enough that the majority of injury happens to the front and back.

The fracture on VanderGiesen’s skull ran across the side of the head, although bruising ran across all sides and the top.

(( Source:  KELOLAND TV ))

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