Defense: Bernstein's death could have been accidental - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Defense: Bernstein's death could have been accidental

Posted: Updated:
 by Krystal Paco

Guam - It's the defense's turn to present their case in chief in the Allan Agababa trial, the man accused of murdering his mother back in August 2013 to collect her death benefits.

An off-island medical expert questions the thoroughness of the autopsy conducted on 55-year-old Shelly Bernstein here on Guam.

"Based on what I see, I would feel undetermined with the manner of death. With admitting I couldn't tell the difference between a homicide and an accident. Based on what I've seen," concluded California based forensic pathologist Dr. Joseph Cohen who conducted an independent review as part of the ongoing murder trial.

Via Skype today, the expert witness who testified on behalf of defense stated there were two causes for Bernstein's death: acute combined prescription drug intoxication and blunt impact to the head with scalp injury and hemorrhage.

According to Cohen, the autopsy conducted by Guam's chief medical examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola was incomplete noting there were no x-rays or blood tests, only the lesser preferred urine tests. As we've been reporting, the island's CME ruled Bernstein's death a result of a single blow to the head. Although prosecution alleges her son, Agababa, was her assailant, Cohen says he doesn't believe the victim's injury is consistent with that of one of pre-meditated murder. He also states that the blunt force trauma Bernstein sustained was survivable seeing as there was no evidence of injuries to her brain.

"I find it peculiar that a single impact to the head is connected to this type of homicide scenario," he said.

But what could've caused the single blow to the victim's head? Cohen doesn't rule out an accidental fall stating she may have hit the corner of wooden furniture or something in the bathroom. Because Bernstein was also prescribed steroids, Cohen says such drugs when used over a long period of time may soften bones. This means whether Bernstein was attacked or had an accidental fall, it likely didn't take much force to create the damage to her skull.
  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Chief judge orders parties to appear for solid waste transition

    Chief judge orders parties to appear for solid waste transition

    The long-awaited transfer of the solid waste system may take longer than expected.  District court judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood issued an order late Friday calling all parties to appear at a hearing next month to argue whether the formal transition should be extended past the December 31st deadline.   In her order, the judge noted that she is unsure at this point whether to approve the end of the receivership, because the Guam Solid Waste Au...More >>
    The long-awaited transfer of the solid waste system may take longer than expected.  District court judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood issued an order late Friday calling all parties to appear at a hearing next month to argue whether the formal transition should be extended past the December 31st deadline.   In her order, the judge noted that she is unsure at this point whether to approve the end of the receivership, because the Guam Solid Waste Au...More >>
  • Adelup wants public hearing for hospital bills

    Adelup wants public hearing for hospital bills

    Two pieces of proposed legislation that aren't on the next session agenda are Bills 141 and 142. The administration is making yet another attempt to get lawmakers to have those measures go up for a public hearing. Governor Calvo submitted both five months ago:  One to authorize a $125 million bond for GMH improvements, the other would raise the business privilege tax from 4% to 4.75% to service the bond debt and fund GMH's chronic budget shortfall. GMH administrator Peter John ...More >>
    Two pieces of proposed legislation that aren't on the next session agenda are Bills 141 and 142. The administration is making yet another attempt to get lawmakers to have those measures go up for a public hearing. Governor Calvo submitted both five months ago:  One to authorize a $125 million bond for GMH improvements, the other would raise the business privilege tax from 4% to 4.75% to service the bond debt and fund GMH's chronic budget shortfall. GMH administrator Peter John ...More >>
  • Chamorro history book debuting this weekend

    Chamorro history book debuting this weekend

    Laura Torres Souder, also known as Auntie Lo, wrote the book Kiko's Adventure on the Magic Flying Proa with Kiko, her 7-year-old grandnephew. It's a story about Chamorro history that will make its debut at the Guam Museum tomorrow.

    More >>

    Laura Torres Souder, also known as Auntie Lo, wrote the book Kiko's Adventure on the Magic Flying Proa with Kiko, her 7-year-old grandnephew. It's a story about Chamorro history that will make its debut at the Guam Museum tomorrow.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly