Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Press Clippings--Part XXVIII

Knife-throwing tests contradict testimony: Insufficient force; It must have slipped, murder trial told

By: Sue Montgomery

The Gazette, April 4, 2006

It took several throws before a steak knife with a blade similar to the one found in Kelly-Anne Drummond's head penetrated and remained in flesh, Martin Morin-Cousineau's second-degree murder trial heard yesterday.

Benoit Anctil, a mechanical engineer who works for a company that designs protective gear, conducted an experiment for the defence using steak knives and a pig's flesh, which most resembles that of humans.

He asked five people to throw knives, weighing 32 grams each, at a section of suspended pig, he said. Out of 22 throws, five hit the target and only one penetrated the skin 13 millimetres.

The knife blade found in the nape of Drummond's neck was 95 millimetres long and was only discovered after a brain scan."

It would take a higher speed to achieve this kind of penetration,"Anctil said.The defence contends that on the night of Oct. 3, 2004, Morin-Cousineau threw up his arms in frustration during an argument with his girlfriend of 18 months while he was eating.

The 31-year-old testified he then heard a thump and glass shattering in the kitchen where, he said, Drummond was eating at the counter.

He found the 24-year-old lying face-up in a pool of blood. The knife handle, he testified, was on the floor near her head. Drummond died two days later when life-support was removed.

Anctil's subjects were to recreate Morin-Cousineau's movements that night. They threw up their arms, tossing the knife sideways with their left hand, while looking at the pork target.

During cross-examination by prosecutor Helene Di Salvo, Anctil said he didn't test for the angle of entry or what would happen if the knife rotated during its flight. He also didn't test whether the knife would fall out once it penetrated its target.

Defence lawyer Sasha Blais asked if Drummond's thick, curly hair could prevent the knife from falling. Anctil said it could, although he didn't test that because there is no hair on a pig.

Both the Crown and defence will give closing arguments tomorrow. Superior Court Justice Claude Champagne will give instructions to the jury Thursday, after which the five women and seven men will be sequestered to begin deliberations.

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