NORWICH – The chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Troopers testified Friday that the cause of Patricia Wlasiuk’s death was suffocation.
The cause of death has been disputed by the defense and prosecution. Defendant Peter M. Wlasiuk claims his wife Patricia drowned after a deer jumped in front of their white GMS dual-wheel pickup and she swerved to avoid it, bringing the truck crashing into the 40-degree waters of Guilford Lake at about 12:15 a.m., April 3, 2002.
The prosecution believes Wlasiuk suffocated his wife at their home in Oxford and then transplanted the body to the lake and staged an accident in order to cover up the homicide.
Following Friday’s testimony, District Attorney Joseph McBride said he intended to wrap up the prosecution case Monday, calling the last of his witnesses.
Pathologist Dr. Michael M. Baden, with more than 20,000 autopsies under his belt, testified in court Friday at the objection of defense attorney Randel Scharf. Scharf argued that allowing Baden’s testimony in addition to pathologist Dr. James Terzian’s improperly bolstered the prosecution’s case.