Pathologist: Patricia Wlasiuk didn't drown

NORWICH – A doctor who performed the autopsy on Patricia Wlasiuk took the stand in her husband’s murder retrial Wednesday, claiming in his professional opinion, she was murdered, not drowned in an accident.

The second half of the day’s testimony was dominated by the prosecution’s pathologist, Dr. James Terzian of Binghamton, who performed Patricia Wlasiuk’s autopsy in 2002.

According to Terzian, the injuries Patricia sustained happened prior to entering Guilford Lake and “the mechanism of death” was consistent with smothering and/or crushing.

“I just knew that at a glance it was not a violent accident. It was easy to see,” Terzian said.

Peter M. Wlasiuk, 39, is accused of murdering his wife, Patricia, 35. Her body was pulled from Guilford Lake around 1:15 a.m. April 3, 2002, after what appeared to be a truck accident.

Terzian, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on April 4 and then again on April 10, testified he believed Wlasiuk smothered his wife at their Oxford home.

The doctor said his findings compelled him to believe that Patricia’s cause of death was “asphyxiation due to suffocation caused by pressure placed over her chest, neck and mouth.” During his testimony, the prosecution displayed photographs of the deceased, taken at the autopsy, to the courtroom on a projector.

Terzian said Patricia sustained the following injuries prior to her death: multiple scrapes on the right eyebrow, a scrape outside the right eyebrow, bruising on the upper lip, bleeding on the inside of her lip, six scrapes on the left side of the chin, severe bruising below the left earlobe, bruising on the right shoulder, a scrape on the left shoulder, bruising on the right kneecap, scrapes on the right hand side of the upper back, a red contusion on the right hip on the backside, and blood out of the left ear.

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