HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas man who died after his girlfriend attacked him with her stiletto-heeled shoe might have been saved if police and medical responders at his Houston condominium had checked him for heart activity, a pathologist testified at the woman’s murder trial on Monday.
Defense attorneys have said 45-year-old Ana Trujillo was acting in self-defense against an alcohol-fueled assault by her boyfriend, University of Houston professor Stefan Andersson.
“I did not see any one injury that would have been fatal to Dr. Andersson,” forensic pathologist Lee Ann Grossberg told a Harris County jury. “Natural causes may have contributed to his death. Because his pulse and respirations weren’t checked, we will never know if he could have survived.”
Grossberg, who had not directly examined the body, said police and medical crews should have performed CPR or tried other emergency procedures, or at least used an electronic monitor to gauge his heart’s activity.
Prosecutors say Trujillo stabbed the 59-year-old Andersson about two dozen times in the face and head with her spiked-heel shoe after the pair returned to his condominium from a night out on June 9.
Both defense attorneys and prosecutors at times touched the heel of the shoe-turned-weapon - a tangle of hair-like material wrapped around its frame - displayed in the center of the court room for jurors to see.
In its opening statements, Trujillo’s defense team accused Andersson of being an alcoholic and described the alleged murder weapon as more of a platform-heeled shoe, not a pointy stiletto, local media have reported.
Jurors could begin deliberations after rebuttal witnesses and closing arguments set for Tuesday.
Bruises visible on Trujillo’s body when she was examined after the attack had been present weeks before when the Mexico native was treated at a Houston hospital after a physical altercation with a man and woman, a prosecutor has suggested.
Andersson, a native of Sweden, taught at the university’s Center for Nuclear Receptor and Cell Signaling, specializing in women’s reproductive health, the school said.
Grossberg, a private forensic pathologist, reviewed crime scene photographs, the autopsy report as well as police and medical records.
Reporting by Amanda Orr in Houston; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Larry King