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Injuries of man killed on Crown Point square described in court

Nemcek

Nemcek

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Updated: September 24, 2012 7:49AM



Two medical professionals testifying in the murder trial of a Crown Point man on Wednesday described the extent of injuries the victim sustained during a stabbing.

The testimony came during the third day of the trial for Jeffrey Matthew Nemcek, 23, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, voluntary manslaughter and possession of a switchblade knife.

Jurors heard from Dr. Christopher Nervi, a general surgeon at Franciscan St. Anthony Crown Point who operated on Brandon Huseman, who was stabbed once in the abdomen as he and a group of family and friends were walking home at about 1:35 a.m. Nov. 24 on the square in downtown Crown Point.

Nervi used an anatomical model to show jurors the internal damage from the wound, which was about 1¼ inches long. When Nervi began the surgery, he found a large amount of blood inside the abdomen. As the surgery progressed, Nervi said, he found the largest vein in the body had been cut. Nervi called in a second surgeon to assist with the surgery, but it was impossible to repair the damage. Huseman, 26, died shortly after surgery.

Earlier testimony showed Huseman, his wife Kristin, his sister-in-law, her boyfriend and three of his wife’s cousins had been out drinking the night before. While they were walking south on Main Street, they encountered Nemcek walking in the opposite direction. Nemcek said it looked like someone needed a designated driver. One of the men in the group responded. Nemcek then yelled something like, “You got something to say to me?” walked up to Huseman and appeared to punch him three times, according to testimony from Kristin Huseman. Huseman later discovered he had been stabbed.

Dr. John Cavanaugh, a forensic pathologist with the Lake County coroner’s office, told jurors he identified at least 11 separate internal wound tracks that showed damage that went upward, downward, left to right and straight back. In addition to piercing the liver, the wound extended to the spine area. Two major veins were damaged beyond repair.

Responding to a question by deputy prosecutor Jamise Perkins, Cavanaugh said it was possible that not only did the person holding the knife move it during the stabbing, but that the victim also moved.

Questioned by defense attorney Kevin Milner, Cavanaugh said he could not say for sure based on the depth of the wounds which sharp instrument caused some of the damage. Cavanaugh said the wounds were 2 inches to 4 inches deep in places.

Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. had initially ruled that autopsy photos showing the internal damage were too grisly for jurors to view, but after a hearing outside the presence of the jury, the judge agreed to admit into evidence one tightly cropped photo showing separate cuts to the liver which could not have occurred during surgery.

In other questioning, Cavanaugh said toxicology showed Huseman had a blood alcohol level of .076 percent. Photographs of Huseman’s face, hands and legs showed no sign of bruising or scrapes to suggest he had been in a fight with Nemcek before the stabbing.



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