Using gruesome photographs and clinical language, doctors told jurors Tuesday in Suffolk County Court about the brutal violence victims suffered in a triple homicide in Central Islip.
Forensic pathologists Odette Hall and Hajar Sims-Childs testified about their autopsies of two of the three victims at the trial of Hasan Vaughan and Thomas Singletary, both 36 and of Central Islip. They are charged with first-degree murder and arson in the deaths of Louis Calixto Jr., 19; his friend Mykier Daniels, 28; and her sister, Katrice Daniels, 31, on Aug. 11, 2009, in a Central Islip house that was later set on fire.
Before Mykier Daniels was killed, Hall said she was hit in the face, hard enough to give her a black eye, a bruise on her forehead, a scrape on her chin and bruises inside her mouth.
She was also shot in her right arm and left leg, with both bullets breaking bones, Hall said. But the fatal wounds were in her neck, she said. Two were stab wounds. One on the right side of her neck cut into her jugular vein, and one on the left severed her carotid artery. Either of those wounds could have caused her to bleed to death, Hall said.
Covering those wounds, however, was an electrical cord from an iron, wrapped tight twice around her neck. That strangulation also contributed to her death, Hall said.
Prosecutors say Vaughan recruited Singletary to seek revenge against the three for stealing his laptop and money from his apartment.
During her testimony, both defendants avoided looking at the screen displaying photos from the crime scene and the autopsy. In the courtroom, parents of the victims wept quietly. They refused to leave the courtroom although Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla warned them the photos would upset them.
Calixto also died from stab wounds to the neck, Sims-Childs said. One in his right throat cut into his airway, she said. Three more behind and below his left ear cut his esophagus and pierced his spinal cord.
A dozen stab wounds, mostly clustered in his upper back, also contributed to his death, she said. Some cut his lungs, leading to heavy blood loss.
He was shot once in the back, but the bullet caused no major damage, Sims-Childs said. And he had cuts from a knife in his scalp and on the back of his right fingers.
Calixto's mother murmured, "My baby," as she listened.
A third pathologist will testify Wednesday about Katrice Daniels' autopsy. Hall, who recovered the bodies from the crime scene, said she was shot in the arms, back and neck.