ITHACA, N.Y. — As the trial for an Ithaca man accused of fatally stabbing a 19-year-old Ithaca College student continues, the prosecution called upon forensic experts to discuss details of the alleged homicide in Tompkins County Court on Thursday.
District Attorney Matt Van Houten, ADA Eliza Filipowski, and ADA Alyxandra Stanczak, the attorneys prosecuting the case, called upon two New York State Police forensic scientists who examined evidence from the scene.
Leah Egnor, who specializes in serology – the examination of blood and other biological matter – said she swabbed the items which had been submitted for evidence in the case, which included the alleged murder weapon; a Gerber folding knife.
Egnor said she took swabs from the blade and handle of the knife and also collected swabs and cuttings from the T-shirt of Anthony Nazaire – the victim of the fatal stabbing.
After screening the knife for traces of blood, Egnor said that swabs from the blade tested positive for blood. Egnor said she then sent the evidence for further DNA evaluation.
The prosecution called upon Carrie McGinnis, who also works for the New York State Police as a forensic DNA specialist. McGinnis said Egnor sent the forensic swabs to her for a more detailed evaluation.
McGinnis, after developing DNA profiles for the individuals involved in the case, said the swab collected from the blade of the knife only identified DNA from Rahiem Williams, the second victim in the case.
Williams, who suffered three stab wounds on his back, testified earlier this week that an argument sparked between two groups escalated into a brawl after a Cornell fraternity party in the early morning hours of Aug. 28.
Williams said that the brawl turned into several smaller fights, including between him and Nagee Green, the man accused of stabbing Nazaire and Williams. Williams testified that Nazaire threw two punches at Green when Williams suddenly saw blood coming out of Nazaire’s mouth.
Williams testified that he did not see Green with a knife. Green has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault.
McGinnis said the knife found at the scene matched the DNA profile to Williams but did not suggest any other developed DNA profiles. Nazaire’s DNA profile did not appear from swabs of the knife.
“I can only testify to the results I found from the evidence I was provided,” McGinnis said. “It is always possible that there’s more DNA than what I got from the swab, but the results were too complex to come to a conclusion.”
Perhaps the most chilling moment of the trial came during the testimony of Dr. James Terzien, the pathologist who conducted Nazaire’s autopsy.
During Terzien’s testimony, graphic photo’s displaying Nazaire’s wounds were displayed for the jury, depicting a gash in his chest measuring over two inches long and two inches deep.
Terzien testified that during his examination, he discovered that the knife had gone through a rib in that area, severed a vein and pierced the trachea.
“I could tell that (the wound) was quite deep to the respective structures in that area,” Terzien said. “The subclavian vein on the left side is a large vein and it carries a lot of blood – the blood traveled from the vein into severed trachea and out through the mouth… (Nazaire) bled out from this wound.”
During his cross-examination, Green’s attorney Joseph Joch asked Terzien if it was at all possible that Nazaire could have fallen on the knife and died from an accidental impailment.
“His whole body weight would have to fall on the knife,” Terzien said. “He would have had to collapse because of something that happened to him, and the only thing that happened was that he was stabbed in the chest.”
The trial continued Friday morning at 9 a.m. with the video of Green’s police interrogation.
Editor’s note: Attorney Michael Perehinec is on The Ithaca Voice Board of Directors. We do not feel that this has influenced our coverage. Please contact Managing Editor Jolene Almendarez at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or concerns.