Testimony reveals Shelly Bernstein wasn't shot
Monday, October 27th 2014, 4:55 PM ChST
Guam - Despite earlier testimony stating Allan Agababa solicited a friend's help to destroy the gun he used to kill Shelly Bernstein, testimony today reveals she was not shot.
Brian Gallagher asked, "Was Shelly killed by a gun?," to which medical examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola responded, "No. She was killed by blunt force trauma."
It was back in August 13, 2013 Dr. Espinola visited Bernstein's Tamuning apartment to conduct the autopsy. Today on the stand he says there was no bullet or exit wound inside Bernstein's head - the source of the half liter of blood found on her bed and pillows.
And despite tests that show the victim was heavily medicated with prescribed pain relievers and anti-anxiety drugs, Espinola states today she didn't die from overdose either. Had she died from overdose prior to sustaining the skull fracture, there would have been no trace of blood on the sheets.
Because the blood was isolated to the sheets, Espinola says it was a single blow to the head that killed her. Had she been hit multiple times, traces of blood would've been found splattered throughout the room.
But what about other possible causes of death? Defense attorney Jeffrey Moots suggests Bernstein could've fallen and hit her head. Espinola however rules that out too.
Moots represented defense today on behalf of Attorney Randy Cunliffe, arguing, "If you hit your head on a table, that's blunt force trauma. There's going to be tissue bridging." Espinola said, "But you see, if this person fell, you will see abrasions in this area, but there was none."
Also during cross-examination, defense alleges there were parts of Bernstein's skull discovered at the scene. Espinola also denies such findings.
"Do you know how the piece of skull was found at the foot of the bed?" asked Moots. Espinola replied, "There was no skull." Moots said, "There's a piece of skull found at the bottom of the bed."
Although Espinola remains confident that a fatal hit to the head took the victim's life, he admits he did not find the weapon at the scene nor could he specify what kind of object was used.
It is for sure though that because Bernstein was so heavily medicated, she felt little to no pain at the time of her alleged attack. This explains why there were no defense wounds on her body.
Espinola said, "With that level of drugs, she wouldn't feel much." Moots said, "With those high level of drugs, she may have been unconscious. She wouldn't have been able to roll over or anything if she was unconscious."
"No," said Espinola.
It was last week Randall Fulcher and his wife, Leialoha Borja testified that Agababa paid them a visit the night he allegedly killed his mother. Fulcher stated that Agababa confessed to the crime and asked that he get rid of the gun, which Fulcher says he threw over the Ylig Bridge.
As we've been reporting, Agababa was the last to see his mother alive and the first to find her dead. He claims he was out buying cigarettes at the time of her murder and presented police with the receipt and time stamp.
Instead of calling 911 upon discovering her body, he reportedly went to the neighbors saying his house was burglarized. The neighbors in turn called police. That same night, Agababa called his mother's boss inquiring about her death benefits. Testimony from last week reveals Bernstein, who worked for United Airlines as a flight attendant, had over $850,000 in death benefits.
Trial will continue on Wednesday.