Both the type and the freshness of a Flanders woman's wounds made it clear she died a harrowing death, according to testimony Tuesday by a former Suffolk deputy medical examiner.
Dr. Maura DeJoseph, now a deputy medical examiner in Connecticut, explained to a Suffolk County Court jury how Mirian Yohanna Garcia Mansilla, 29, died early on May 6, 2012. DeJoseph testified at the trial of Guillermo Alvarado Ajcuc, 23, who's charged with second-degree murder.
Using autopsy photos, DeJoseph showed jurors scrapes and bruises across Garcia's neck on the outside, and layers of hemorrhaging deep within the muscle. She also pointed out pinpoint hemorrhages in Garcia's lips, gums, eyelids and cheeks.
All of these are evidence of death by neck compression, she testified.
The death would not have been quick, DeJoseph said during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock.
"It takes several minutes of consistent pressure to cut off blood flow and cause death," she said. Even if the neck pressure had been relieved soon after Garcia blacked out, she would have regained consciousness as soon as blood flow resumed. But if the blood vessels in the neck are closed off for too long, death results, she said.
Kurtzrock showed her a canvas belt Alvarado had been wearing when he was arrested. In a videotape of his questioning by police, he told them he used the belt to kill Garcia when she fought off his sexual advances after they left El Sabor Latino, a bar in Riverhead.
DeJoseph said the injuries on Garcia's neck were consistent with the belt. But Garcia's body had other injuries suffered at the time of her death, DeJoseph said. There were scrapes on her scalp and cheek, and a bruise on her jaw. There was a bruise on the top of her back and scrapes on her leg, and more bruises on the back of her head and both its sides. DeJoseph said all these injuries came at about the time Garcia died, because there was no sign of scabbing or healing.
During cross-examination by defense attorney Eileen Powers, DeJoseph said the other injuries couldn't even be from earlier that day, because healing would have started. And although Garcia had a blood-alcohol content of .20 percent -- probably the result of five to seven drinks -- that likely had nothing to do with her death, DeJoseph said.