Jurors Hear About Time, Cause Of Heather Domenie's Death
Posted June 3, 2003 4:44 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Jurors heard about the time and cause of death of Ian Campbell's fiancee during testimony Tuesday.
Campbell admitted before the trial began that he strangled Heather Domenie, a Raleigh school teacher, in their Cary home last July, but he said he did not mean to do it.
On Tuesday, forensic experts were called to testify on the stand, including a state pathologist who conducted an autopsy on Domenie. She testified that Domenie's death was caused by strangulation.
Jurors also examined more than a dozen autopsy photographs of Domenie. Wake County Medical Examiner Dana Copeland explained to jurors the injuries to Domenie's body including scratches around her neck.
Campbell appeared to be shaken by the graphic details and closed his eyes during part of the testimony. Campbell's attorneys raised the possibility that the scratches came from Domenie's own fingernails as she fought to remove the towel that was killing her.
Emergency room workers at Western Wake Medical Center in Cary testified that repeated attempts to revive her were unsuccessful and she showed early signs of rigormortis. Prosecutors pressed Copeland to estimate how long after death does rigormortis set in.
Copeland said the conservative estimate between death and rigormortis from most neck and jaw injuries is 2 hours.
Police records show Campbell phoned 911 about 9:30 p.m. on July 25. Court testimony indicates Domenie was already dead when Campbell called for help.