Defense tries to make the case for suicide in Ken Bluew trial - WNEM TV 5

Medical examiner in Ken Bluew murder trial: I call this a homicide

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Bluew sitting with his defense attorney, Rod O'Farrell. Bluew sitting with his defense attorney, Rod O'Farrell.
Ken Bluew being interviewed by MSP investigators. Ken Bluew being interviewed by MSP investigators.
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Testimony in the Ken Bluew murder trial has moved into day 10, following Tuesday's testimony from MSP investigators and the jury being shown a two-hour police interview with Bluew. 

The 37-year-old suspended Buena Vista Township police officer is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the death of 32-year-old Webb, a pregnant woman who was found strangled to death near a police shooting range on Aug. 30, 2011.

The prosecution says the baby boy Webb was eight months pregnant with was Bluew's child.

Prosecutors said Bluew didn't want to pay child support, didn't want his wife to know about the situation and didn't want a baby.

Now the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Jenny Webb testified that in his opinion, Webb's death was "a homicide."

The major news from the courtroom last week was DNA and fingerprint experts said the Jenny Webb crime scene contained blood and fingerprints belonging to Bluew.

>>Click to see a slideshow of evidence presented in the trial<<

On Tuesday, the jury was being shown a two-hour video police interview with Bluew on Webb's death. During that interview, Bluew told investigators "Oh s___, I know this girl" when he pulled Webb's ID out of her purse. Bluew told detectives he took photos of the scene, grabbed the purse and entered through Webb's passenger-side front door. Michigan State Police Lt. Jason Teddy asked Bluew, "Once you saw the ID, that's when you realized you knew the person?" There was then a long pause on the tape.

During the taped interview, Bluew was asked by investigators how often he spoke with Webb. He answered that it varied, once or twice per day, to once or twice per week. On the tape, Bluew said it was Webb's regular car at the scene, but he didn't recognize it at the time. On the interview tape, Teddy asks, "What did she tell you about the baby's daddy?" Bluew answers, "She didn't mention anything about it."

TV5's Liz Gelardi tweeted that there were many long pauses during the interview. She also stated that the courtroom was dead silent as everyone listened. In the interview, Bluew was quick to answer when asked about a possible relationship with Webb. He replied to investigators,"There was no relationship, man." Police investigators pressed Bluew, stating, "Sounds like you knew her pretty well; how did you not recognize her?" Police asked Bluew the question a second time, to which he responded, "I just went into cop mode."

Investigators asked if there was any way Bluew could have been the father of the child. Bluew responded, "None, I never slept with her." He continued on the tape, stating, "I am not the father of the child, I never had sex with her." State Police investigators continued to press Bluew on how he didn't recognize Webb at the scene. Bluew told them, "What you got is what I got." He also told investigators, "Subconsciously, did I recognize her? I can't say I didn't."

During Wednesday's testimony, which was the 10th day of the trial, Teddy was back on the stand for cross-examination. Defense attorney Rod O'Farrell asked if police made an attempt to verify the route Bleuw said he took the night of Aug. 30. Teddy replied, "no." In the taped interview shown to the jury on Tuesday, Bluew said he did various property checks, but none were recorded in his police log.

O'Farrell read off a text from Webb, stating "I'm a little worried the doc is going to put me off work." O'Farrell read more texts about Webb's house being robbed. She texted a friend, "I don't know how much more I can take."

Gelardi tweeted that O'Farrell is trying to make the case that Webb killed herself. She was found with an extension cord wrapped around her neck, hanging from the roof-rack of her SUV. O'Farrell is attempting to show the jury a distraught Webb, who was robbed and stressed about a doctor telling her she might not be able to work.

O'Farrell points out texts between Webb and a guy named Jeremy. One text mentions something about staying the night. O'Farrell asked if police ever followed up on a text between Webb and a guy named Todd. Teddy said "no." O'Farrell then showed pictures of Teddy's gloved hand. The glove had a grease mark on it and it was said in court that the mark came from the car.

Following a recess, court resumed at 1:30 p.m. and the next witness called to the stand was Dr. Kanu Virani, the medical examiner. Virani said he noticed a scrape on Webb's cheek and chin, bruising on both arms and that her right wrist was dislocated. Virani said Webb was indeed pregnant and the fetus was consistent with a full term baby of almost 9 months. Photos of the bruising were shown to the jury.

Virani showed another photo to the jury and pointed out dried blood in and around Webb's nose. Prosecutor Mike Thomas asked Virani if the baby was viable. Virani responded, "With the measurement and weight, definitely, yes." Virani went on to say that when the mother dies, circulation stops and the baby dies within minutes. Virani said he found "congestion of the face and brain." Thomas asked if the extension cord was placed around Webb's neck before or after she died. Virani replied that he did not find any inside injury to her neck.

Virani testified that the official cause of Jenny Webb's death was "neck compression," meaning Webb could not breath or blood was cut off to her brain. Virani also described the possible cause of death as a chokehold from another person. He said the hold would be a life or death situation and he expected the victim would have fought back. 

Virani said he made a trip to the crime scene on Outer Drive in late Sept., 2011. He said in his expert opinion, "I called this one a homicide." Virani went on to demonstrate a chokehold for the jury on Prosecutor Mike Thomas. Virani explained how the carotid artery plays into a successful chokehold. The jury was reminded of the word "carotid," which came up in Bluew's computer search history. Virani said there would have been a small window to save the baby, but that it would have been virtually impossible outside a hospital.

Virani was then cross-examined by O'Farrell. The defense wanted to know about the cord wrapped around Webb's neck -- usually you see muscle damage but sometimes you don't. Virani agreed and said, "yes." O'Farrell asked if there would be less injury to the body and neck area if the victim slid down a hill, referring to where Webb's body was found. O'Farrell also asked Virani if he was relying on information outside the autopsy to make his decision on cause of death. Virani said "I do that often, it's part of my job." Virani said the blood spot on the road came from Webb's nose and he explained that blood vessels dilated in Webb because she was pregnant. He said bleeding would happen more easily.

The prosecution wanted to admit a picture of the fetus into the court record. The judge denied the request. The judge then dismissed the jury for the day as there were a few matters they wanted to take up outside the jury's presence.

Stay with WNEM.com and TV5 as we cover the Ken Bluew murder trial.

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