Fatal wound could have resulted from sex act, Edmonton jury told


Article Source: Edmonton Journal

Editor’s Note: This story contains graphic content.

EDMONTON – A forensic pathologist told a jury Tuesday that the fatal wound to Cindy Gladue’s vagina could have been caused during sexual activity.

Janice Ophoven, a defence expert, testified at the murder trial of Bard Barton, who faces a first-degree murder charge for Gladue’s death on June 22, 2011, in his Yellowhead Inn hotel room. Ophoven’s testimony included an examination of Gladue’s preserved vagina inside the courtroom.

Ophoven told the jury the 11-centimetre wound that caused massive bleeding was caused by a blunt tear instead of a sharp cut.

“You can see that it is not a straight incision,” she said. “The wound edges are actually extremely irregular. It’s a very irregular wound with micro-tears running along the edge.”

Strings of tissue and bruising along the fatal wound are also indicative of a tear rather than a cut, Ophoven testified.

Ophoven agreed with defence lawyer Dino Bottos that Gladue’s wound could have been caused by Barton’s hand. Testifying in his own defence, Barton told the jury Gladue started bleeding after he inserted four fingers into her.

Barton said Gladue told him she must be menstruating. Barton washed up, then fell asleep while she was in the hotel room’s bathroom. When he woke, Barton testified, Gladue was dead in his bathtub.

The jury heard that the 46-year-old Barton and Gladue, a sex-trade worker, first had a sexual encounter in his hotel the night before she died. She met him again on her last night alive.

Ophoven’s testimony conflicted with that of Graeme Dowling, the acting chief medical examiner. He told the jury Gladue’s fatal wound was caused by a sharp object like a knife or piece of broken glass. He said the cut was “clean” and lacked the scraping along the edges that would indicate a blunter object.

Considerable force would be needed, Dowling said.

The trial continues.

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