More witnesses called to the stand in Lovelace trial - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

More witnesses called to the stand in Lovelace trial

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Curtis Lovelace Curtis Lovelace
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) -

More witnesses were called to the stand on Thursday during the Curtis Lovelace murder trial.

Dr. Werner Spitz, a forensic pathologist was the first person to take the stand Thursday, where he was questioned from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  He was brought in to give his expert opinion.

The report from Dr. Spitz said he reviewed scene and body photos, toxicology reports, and reviewed reports from other pathologists. 

He said he disagreed with the defense's theory, stating that the reports of their pathologists don't make sense. He said he relied more on photos than the autopsy report because the report is incomplete. Spitz indicated that the pathologist who did Cory's autopsy never indicated the markings on her neck.

Spitz said Cory's eye had black spots in it, which is the drying of the eye so he believes they must have been open for many hours.

He also said Cory's lips were dry and showed evidence of scraping. He said he noticed a bruise and tear on the inside of the lip. With enough pressure, he said, the teeth can cause that. He said the edges of the tear show it was a fresh injury, not from days prior to death, as the defense claims. 

Defense attorney Jon Loevy rebutted that claim, stating that the mark on Cory's lip was listed as non trauma by police and the coroner. He said the cut came from Cory falling out of bed two days before her death. 

Loevy said other pathologists concluded a white border around the cut showed it was healing. 

Spitz said he disagrees. 

When asked, Spitz said the cut could have happened one day prior, but no records said it was. 

Spitz said he believes her hands being hovered is the position Cory was in when she died, which he said is unnatural for someone who is sleeping.

"She was killed in the hours of the night," Spitz said. "She was not killed at 8:15." 

"If she died around midnight," stated Loevy, "she would have been in full rigor before 8:15." 

The state claimed that Dr. Shaku Teas, who will take the stand later this week, claimed the marks on her neck were moles. Spitz said moles do not change colors though. 

Spitz said all of this indicates that Cory died of suffocation.

The defense said in the photos there is no sign of petechiae, small sports of red from bleeding into the skin, but Dr. Spitz said petechiae doesn't always appear in smothering or suffocation. 

Loevy said if someone is suffocated, they would typically fight back. Spitz said Cory's hands were trying to remove what applied the force. 

Loevy asked Spitz, "if someone was smothered for three to four minutes with their eyes open wouldn't you expect abrasions on their cornea?"

"I'm not sure," replied Spitz. 

Loevy said, "I got you there." 

Spitz agreed with Loevy that someone who is an alcoholic could suffer a sudden death because of a liver disease. 

Spitz said bulimia doesn't normally kill people, but if they do it would be from complications. He said someone could go weeks without eating and not have an issue as long as they drank water. 

Spitz said Cory's liver had a disease in it, but he didn't believe it was enough to cause her death. 

In his book, Dr. Spitz said fatty liver can cause sudden death in certain occasions, but it must be far advanced.

Following Spitz on the stand was Dustin Strothoff who live near the Lovelace family in 2006. 

Strothoff would walk his dog every morning and said that morning he saw a large figure in the upper story window pacing and he stopped to watch for a bit. 

He assumed the silhouette was Curtis since he lived there. 

"I know I wish I didn't walk my dog that day," said Strothoff. 

The next and final witness of the day was Justin Bower who was a student of Curtis Lovelace at Quincy University the day of Cory's death.

Bower said he went to class that day, but never saw a note on the door. He said he waited fifteen minutes for Curtis to show up, but he never did.

Opening statements were made yesterday with the prosecution telling the jury not to fall for the defense's misdirection while the defense told the jury that the prosecution doesn't even have a case because there is no evidence.

Seven witnesses were called to the stand yesterday, including current Quincy Police Department Deputy Chief Doug VanderMaiden. 

The trial is expected to begin at 9:00 a.m. every day with a morning, lunch, and afternoon break. 

Click here for full coverage of the Lovelace murder case. 

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