Husband Had Only Minor Injuries, Paramedics...
Posted September 23, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Testimony by an emergency room physician and a city-county investigator continued to poke holes in Bill Boychuk's alibi Tuesday.
Since he was found by neighbors, crying and disoriented, Boychuk has maintained that he and his 31-year-old wife, Karen, were struck by a hit-and-run driver as they walked along a dark and foggy Cary Parkway on New Year's Eve of 1995. Bill Boychuk said the impact knocked his wife off a bridge and knocked him to the ground, rendering him unconscious.
But paramedics called by the prosecution Tuesday said they observed very minor injuries -- mainly cuts and scrapes -- on Bill Boychuk. Emergency room physician Dr. Joseph William agreed with paramedics. He says there were no lacerations, hematomas, or other medical evidence to support Boychuk's claim.
Prosecutors contend that Boychuk threw his wife off the bridge, then walked to where his wife lay injured and inflicted four fatal blows to her skull. They plan to support that theory with evidence later in the week.
But Boychuk's attorney, Roger Smith, told jurors in opening statements Monday that Karen and Bill Boychuk were struck by a hit-and-run driver and that Bill Boychuk tried to help his wife.
Investigator Sydney Johnson of the City-County Bureau of Identification negates that claim. His investigation found absolutely no skid marks, human tissue, glass, rubber, or other remnants of a car making contact with the Boychuks on the Cary Parkway bridge.
Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for Boychuk if he is convicted of first-degree murder.
Smith said in opening statements Monday that his client was knocked unconscious by a hit-and-run driver, accounting for the time lapse between the time that Karen Boychuk was injured, about 7 p.m., and the time that her husband went to get help, about 8:30 or 9 p.m.
"He got up to help his wife," Smith told jurors. "His arm and leg were hurting badly."
One of the first witnesses called Monday was Thomas Austin, a neighbor who found Bill Boychuk on the sidewalk, crying and disoriented, saying that he and Karen had been struck by a car. Austin scrambled down an embankment and approached Karen Boychuk's body cautiously. She showed no signs of life and Austin said he feared the worst.
Karen Boychuk's body was found 40 feet below the bridge, on a greenway. At the time of her death, she was four months pregnant.
Police suspected foul play from the start because it was clear she had been hit in the head, as well as badly hurt by the fall.
Neighbors told police the couple fought frequently. They had married in July 1995 after dating a few months. One neighbor told police she heard a woman scream about the time the Boychuks were out walking.
Karen Boychuk, 31, was a lawyer who grew up in Wilson. Her husband, 33 at the time of his wife's death, was a graduate student in the UNC-Chapel Hill business school. They lived at the Hermitage at Beechtree apartments.
According to Smith, the Boychuks met when he responded to her personal ad in The Independent, and he proposed to her about a month later.