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Confusion over autopsy diagrams delays Isom trial

KevIsom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media

Kevin Isom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 20, 2013 6:13AM



The Lake County forensic pathologist who filed a last-minute revised autopsy report for one of the victims in the Kevin Isom triple-homicide trial finally took the stand Friday but gave little testimony after confusion over evidence popped up.

Defense co-counsel Casey McCloskey objected shortly after Dr. Young Kim took the witness stand to explain a diagram the state tried to submit of one of the victims, Ci’Andria Cole, 13, that showed a gunshot wound to the head. McCloskey argued that diagram did not match the one he had been given, which did not show the gunshot wound and that he had used to prepare for the case.

He expressed concern that another piece of evidence from the Lake County Coroner’s Office was being changed at the last moment. The office had submitted a new report for Cole’s brother, Michael Moore, 16, shortly before the trial started. The report was amended to show Moore had been shot in his other arm.

“I am not prepared to cross-examine Kim this evening,” McCloskey argued, asking that he be allowed to depose Kim again.

However, Deputy Prosecutor David Urbanski said the state in February had given the defense Kim’s diagram of Cole’s gunshot wound. McCloskey’s co-counsel, Herbert Shaps, eventually did find a copy of it.

McCloskey instead asked that the trial, in its 11th day, be continued to Saturday so he could prepare, a request granted by Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr.

Stefaniak did not rule on the government’s request to submit the diagrams into evidence but did eventually allow the state to present six images of the three victims — Cole, Moore and their mother, Cassandra Isom, 40 — taken during their autopsies. The photos showed the head wounds of all three victims. Stefaniak issued a warning to jurors, as he had earlier this week when gruesome crime-scene images were displayed, cautioning them to not make judgements on passion.

Earlier on Friday, lead defense attorney Shaps questioned Lake County police Detective Samuel Perez Jr., an evidence technician with the crime laboratory, on a butcher knife that was noted in reports but not collected.

“It was inadvertently left behind,” Perez said.

Shaps, however, suggested one of the Gary police detectives who was on the scene had removed the knife. “Did Detective James Bond take that knife from you all, you and Detective (James) Tomko, after you recovered it?” Shaps said.

Perez said Bond did not take the knife.

Isom, 47, faces the death penalty, life in prison or a term of years if convicted of three counts of murder in the shooting deaths of his wife and stepchildren. He also faces three counts of attempted murder involving Gary police officers who were called to the family apartment at 5708 Hemlock Ave., in the Miller section on Aug. 6, 2007, to investigate gunfire.



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