Forensic Pathologist Testifies that Death Investigation Is Inadequate to Answer All Questions

By Maia Surendra

SANTA BARBARA, CA – In the Scott Fleming jury trial Wednesday in Dept. 1 of Santa Barbara County Superior Court, presided over by Judge Thomas Adams, an expert witness testified about the investigation into the death of the victim, and the defense filed a motion to toss out one charge against the defendant .

Public Defender Matthew Speredelozzi filed a PC §1118 motion to the judge to acquit on Count 1 of the charges against Fleming, arguing Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod did not necessarily prove that Fleming committed voluntary manslaughter, and that the incident was a result of a fight.

The prosecution subsequently argued that there was no fight, but rather an assault launched onto the victim by Fleming. The court ultimately denied the 1118 motion by the defense.

Fleming is accused of the voluntary manslaughter of a man who he allegedly punched on the night of July 19, 2019. This occurred after a fight broke out within a group of men walking from one pub to another in Carpinteria; both Fleming and the victim were present at the time.

The defense also asked if they could present a PowerPoint to the jury that would be marked as exhibits. DDA Weichbrod argued that certain pages of the PowerPoint should be removed, such as a page where a YouTube link that shows bone locations was, and a page with an email from PD Speredelozzi.

PD Speredelozzi argued that the email was relevant, but the page with the YouTube link was ordered to be removed by Judge Andrews.

The PD also noted the potential calling of a witness who is a doctor that specializes in memory. The People had previously objected to this witness because of “late discovery,” but the defense argued that how other witnesses ended up testifying would impact whether this witness could be called or not.

The prosecution asked what specifically this witness would be testifying to, and whether it would be admissible or not, due to the fact that this doctor did not treat the other witnesses.

The defense answered that this doctor would not be testifying about specific witnesses but rather about the science of memory, which they believe will be helpful for the jury. The judge ruled that the memory expert would be allowed to testify and that their testimony would be admissible.

The defense also called expert witness Dr. Lindsey Thomas Wednesday. Dr. Thomas is a forensic pathologist, who testified that when given the materials on the case she was “surprised that there was no autopsy” included.

She also testified that the report she was given did not seem to be written by a medical doctor, and the photos of the victim’s injuries provided were inadequate. She concluded that the decision not to perform an autopsy by the force investigating the crime was not justified, there was not enough work done to declare the manner of death, and the death investigation was “inadequate to answer all the questions.”

During the questioning by the prosecution, Dr. Thomas stated that she agreed that blunt force trauma had occurred, and that she cannot rule out this death as being not a homicide. Dr. Thomas said knowing more about the victim’s previous medical history could have been helpful, and should have been looked into more.

The trial will resume Monday.

About The Author

Maia Surendra is a fourth year student at UC Santa Barbara who is majoring in Sociology and minoring in History. She is originally from Westchester County, NY, and would love to do something related to the law after graduation.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for