G. Horn’s Equivocating Testimony

Juan Martinez and Dr. Kevin Horn had an interesting way of putting “might haves”, “could haves”, “ifs” and “maybes” before the jury as if Horn was stating facts about the case. For example, take the following exchange:

JM: “With regard to the shot to the head, would that have been rapidly fatal?”

Horn: Likely would have been, yes”

JM: “And by rapidly fatal, what are we talking about?”

Horn: “Well, if you have a projectile going through the front part of the brain a person may not die immediately but they’ll probably lose the ability to function normally, they’ll lose consciousness and they’ll be laying on the floor.”

JM: “In very short order”

Horn: “Yes”

JM: “Shot and they go down”

Horn: “Yes”

Note how Horn states “if you have a projectile going through the front part of the brain…“. This is contrary to what Horn’s written autopsy report states, namely that the membrane around the brain (the dura mater) was “intact”. So, of course, here he doesn’t actually state that Travis’ brain was penetrated, just “if it had been, blah, blah, blah”. Of course the jury was left with the impression that Horn was testifying that Travis’ brain had been penetrated.

Here again and contrary to his own written autopsy report, Horn states below that the bullet “must have” gone through the frontal lobe of the brain.

JM: “Did the bullet go through the frontal lobe of the brain?”

Horn: It must have

JM: “With regards to that issue of the perforation of that particular part of the anatomy (referring to the brain / Dura Mater), so as you look at it and your recollection, based on what you saw, was there that perforation?”

Horn: “Yes, there would have to have been.”

It must have” and “would have to have been“? What kind of scientific testimony is that??? It either did or it didn’t! It either was or it wasn’t!

In the exchange below, note how Martinez asks Horn if a chest wound could cause blood to come out of “the ears” and Horn conveniently fails to correct him. This is significant because blood from the ears had to have occurred while he was still alive and his heart was beating, and since the State was contending the gunshot was last, after he was already dead, they had to attribute blood from the ear to a chest wound. (WTF?) We also get several more infamous “ifs” from Horn, stating them as though he’s talking about Travis.

JM: Would any of these injuries— would— and, for the example, this one [pointing to the wound that injured the superior vena cava], would— what we associate with television, would blood come out of the mouth, the ears, or just out of the chest area?

Horn: “It depends on what’s hit inside the body. If the lung was nicked, which is possible in this case because we’re dealing with a decomposed body, so the- the- the organs aren’t as pristine, they’re not as— they don’t lend themselves to examination as in a fresh individual. But if the blood— if the lung is nicked, they can cough up blood. If you have blood going into the throat area, and he does have, you know, throat injuries as well, which we’ll talk about, all of those can cause coughing up of blood or loss of blood out of the mouth and the nose.”

Also note that there is no indication in Horn’s autopsy report that Travis’ lung was nicked. The autopsy report gives a detailed report on the condition of both lungs, contrary to Horn’s insinuation here that the lungs were too decomposed to satisfactorily determine their condition (and thereby implying that we can just assume one was nicked without any scientific evidence). He also implies that Travis’ throat was cut before he aspirated at the mirror, even though Travis obviously continued moving around after his pause at the sink.

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