Jurors get glimpse of how victim’s body was dismembered

By Josh Verges

Jurors today saw side-by side-comparisons of skin and bone belonging to Darlene VanderGiesen and a 200-pound pig.

Minnehaha County Coroner Brad Randall and Jessica Lichty, forensic chemist at the Sioux Falls crime lab, hacked a pig with a chain saw last January. Prosecutors say Daphne Wright did the same to VanderGiesen in February 2006. Randall told jurors VanderGiesen died of suffocation, blunt head trauma or a combination of the two.

Heavy bruising on the top, back, left and right sides of the woman’s head indicate it was no accident, he said.

VanderGiesen’s parents and sister left the courtroom as the court projected nine photographs of the victim’s body.

The woman’s left foot showed cuts probably caused by a knife, not a saw, Randall said. Her head was covered by a plastic bag, which was melted at the neck where there was evidence of burnt fuel.

The projection screen that displayed the photos is next to the American Sign Language interpreter Wright relies on to understand what’s said in court. Her demeanor did not change.

(( Source: Argus Leader ))