, Port Arthur, Texas

March 19, 2014

Cause, time of death discussed in PN murder trial

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — Port Neches homicide victim Wayne Beavers could have died from any one of three major injuries — manual strangulation, crushed chest and fractured skull — retired forensic pathologist Dr. Tommy Brown told jurors during the second day of testimony on Wednesday.

“Any one of these could have been the lethal blow for Mr. Beavers,” Brown said during the trial of Beavers’ roommate, Christopher Robin, now 44, in the 252nd Criminal District Court.

Brown, who worked with the Jefferson County Medical Examiners office from 1998 until 2012, performed the autopsy on Beavers, 56, on Nov. 21, 2007.

Photographs of Beavers’ bruised and beaten body were shown to jurors by Prosecutor Rachel Grove as Brown pointed out specific wounds. The victim’s face, neck, arms and hands had deep bruising and abrasions and there was also bruising to his sides, underarm and a portion of his upper back.

The pathologist speculated that the chest injury could have been made by a person stomping on the victim. A horseshoe shaped bruising pattern on Beavers’ upper back could have been made by a shoe or boot while the skull fracture was due to blunt force trauma, he added.

Defense attorney James Makin asked Brown if the broken ribs could be attributed to someone performing CPR to which Brown explain that these were not CPR fractures because of the location. Makin also questioned the statement that the wound on Beavers’ back could have been made by a shoe or boot.

“What about other things that are round and metal, shaped like that?” Makin asked to which Brown said “it could be, but I don’t know of any object like that.”

Beavers’ body was discovered by Robin about 3 p.m. Nov. 20, 2007 at his home in Port Neches. Robin told police the last time he saw his roommate alive was before he left for work at 7 a.m. that morning. The victim’s body was brought to the Jefferson County Morgue at about 5 p.m. and the autopsy was performed at 8 a.m. the following day. Brown surmised the time of death to be 24 to 36 hours prior to when the autopsy began, maybe more maybe less.

When Brown examined the body there was mild rigor in the lower extremities only which confirmed his estimate. Makin asked if the decomposition process could be slowed down, thus changing the estimated time of death, when the body was placed in the cooled compartment at the morgue to which Brown explained the slight change in temperature wouldn’t be enough to make a difference.

The trial will continue Thursday morning.


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