By Lou Raguse
Prosecutors went through Darlene VanderGiesenâ€™s autopsy report with the county coroner as they discussed the 42-year-old womanâ€™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 womanâ€™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 canâ€™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 someoneâ€™s head after death.
Randall testified that he canâ€™t say for certain VanderGiesenâ€™s skull fracture would be fatal. But when asked if it appeared accidental, like from a fall down the stairs, he said thatâ€™s not likely. Usually in accidental falls, a personâ€™s shoulders protect the side of the head enough that the majority of injury happens to the front and back.
The fracture on VanderGiesenâ€™s skull ran across the side of the head, although bruising ran across all
(( Source:Â KELOLAND TV ))