Cell phone history and autopsy results outline day 2 of Wiley murder trial

Cell phone history and autopsy results
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 10:42 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 2:03 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Cell phone history and autopsy reuslts

QUINCY (WGEM) - Day two of testimony in the murder trial for 35-year-old Travis Wiley, who is charged in connection to the death of Airyana Hoffman on Jan. 20, 2018, who was just under three months old at the time, began just after 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Cell phone data extraction

Special prosecutor Jon Barnard first called Quincy Police Sgt. Nick Eddy. Eddy was the prosecution’s eighth witness. His testimony began with an in-depth look at Eddy’s proficiency in cell phone data extraction, how he was trained, and what type of equipment is used to perform those extractions.

Eddy was first trained in data extractions in 2018 and then recertified a few years later. Eddy said he was asked by QPD Det. Kevin Taute to perform a data extraction of Wiley’s cell phone on Jan. 23, 2018. Eddy said he performed several extractions where the data was transferred to software onto a computer and then onto a DVD. The data revealed cell phone search history and call history.

Eddy evaluated data specifically from the phone that was created on Jan. 20, 2018, between the hours of 11:15 a.m. and 2:14 p.m. An objection was raised by Public Defender Todd Nelson, claiming hearsay. Out of the presence of the jury, Barnard agreed that a certain piece of evidence was, in fact, hearsay but defended himself.

“I am not going to ask the witness what those contacts were or who they were to,” Barnard said regarding the content of the cell phone data. “My relevance is simply to establish that they were made during that time period.”

Judge Michael Atterberry sustained Nelson’s objection, pending further foundation by Barnard. The court went into a 10-minute recess.

Eddy’s testimony continued...

Back from morning recess, Judge Atterberry sustained Nelson’s objection, and the admission of Wiley’s cell phone data was then denied, but later allowed following a few specific questions to Sgt. Eddy. Nelson raised the same objection, which was then overruled.

Following morning recess, Eddy’s testimony had lasted nearly two hours. 11:17 a.m. was the last web history event that Eddy said was captured before no connections were made for roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes. When Eddy clicked on the web search that was made at 11:17 a.m., Eddy said it sent him to a news website. Barnard said yesterday that Wiley’s news website search involved the charges and conviction of a man in connection to the death of a 3-year-old.

Nelson objected to the admission of evidence that involved screenshots of the news website. His objection was to relevance, and that there could have been a possibility that the website changed its content from the time Wiley was on the website and to when Eddy was on the website. Nelson’s objection was sustained.

Barnard then asked if Eddy clicked on the website at present day, if it would show the same content. Eddy replied in the affirmative. After a short conference between counsel and the judge, Eddy began to read what the web article contained. He said it contained the contents of a 3-year-old who died as a result of injuries.

The first web search history thereafter was 1:32 p.m., 1:43 p.m. and 1:43 p.m. and 21 seconds, and 1:43 p.m. and 51 seconds, followed by several more. From 1:32 p.m. to 2:42 p.m., Eddy said there were three text messages, two of which were incoming and the other outgoing. Nelson objected to Eddy reading from the report, which was sustained.

Eddy said phone call history showed that Wiley made a 911 call after 2:30 p.m.. Six or seven phone calls he said were made between 2:32 p.m. and 2:42 p.m. The phone calls Eddy said were made to the infant’s mother Christina Dunford and three calls to Melissa Oenning before the 911 call.

Nelson’s cross-examination

Eddy’s testimony lasted roughly two hours before Nelson began his cross-examination. “Is it possible for the data on the phone to be changed without any type of user input,” Nelson asked.

“I could tell you that phones are constantly doing things,” Eddy replied. Eddy said he has not seen a phone that has made internet interactions without a user. Eddy said the same web URL appeared twice in the data history within a two-second time frame. Eddy said there are processes where a website can be refreshed and tracked for a second time, which would then create another web history event.

“We don’t know if that refresh could have been regenerated by the device itself,” Nelson asked.

“No, I don’t know,” Eddy replied.

“On an Android device, is there an aspect of software that will bring up a feed of information for that user that could include news sources for users,” Nelson asked. “Is there a native built-in resource?”

Eddy said through web search history there could be.

“Is it possible that these URLs essentially display traffic that came up on the device and was refreshed by the device itself and didn’t require user input,” Nelson asked.

“I couldn’t tell you that based on the data extraction we got,” Eddy replied.

Nelson then changed subjects. He asked about a conversation with the infant’s mother, Christina Dunford, now Christina Engle. Nelson asks about Engle’s account of Airyana holding her breath, which was testified by Engle yesterday.

“Did she tell you that Airyana was warmer on Jan. 20,” Nelson asked.

“Yes,” Eddy replied. Eddy said Engle associated it with an increased temperature outside.

In Barnard’s redirect, he asked Eddy if Engle also said it was because the apartment was warmer than usual on Jan. 20. Eddy said she did.

Eddy was released from his subpoena after over 2 hours on the stand.

The autopsy

Dr. Juliette Scantleberry, the assistant medical examiner at the University of Tennessee, who formerly worked in St. Louis, was the first witness following lunch recess. Scantleberry said she has performed more than 1,000 autopsies in her career.

She said she was present for Airyana Hoffman’s autopsy but did not participate in a hands-on fashion. She said she observed Dr. Peter Williams that day. Dr. Williams opened up the body, where Scantleberry said there was a hemorrhage inside the skull.

Scantleberry said further studies were needed following the autopsy. The eyes and the brain were submitted to further testing. She said the findings inside the skull indicated trauma was inflicted on Airyana. When Scantleberry received the final report, she said she and Dr. Williams concluded that Airyana had sustained a closed head injury, resulting in her death. From the information provided to her, Scantleberry said there were no indications of accidental trauma.

The manner of death, Scantleberry said, was homicide.

Barnard published the pathological findings to the jury. The report includes notes of a closed head injury, brain death, finding blood where it shouldn’t be, and bleeding under the skull. Scantleberry said the deciding factor was the hemorrhage, the diffuse axonal injury.

Analyzing the autopsy

Barnard published pictures from the autopsy to the jury. The first picture was a top view of Airyana’s skull. Dr. Scantleberry pointed out brain hemorrhage, which appeared blue in color. Barnard then published a picture of the infant’s brain. Dr. Scantleberry said hemorrhage was seen on both hemispheres of the brain, which wouldn’t typically be seen as a result of a stroke.

A picture of the skull, without the brain, was shown next. Dr. Scantleberry said there was diffuse bleeding, which contributed to the fact of a closed head injury. A picture of Airyana’s eye was then shown. Around the optic nerve, Dr. Scantleberry said there was a thin layer of blood, which was a red flag. The backside of Airyana’s right eye was then shown, where more blood was found around the optic nerve.

The manner of death was homicide

Dr. Peter Williams is a forensic pathologist, and an assistant medical examiner in St. Louis County, Missouri. Dr. Williams performed the autopsy on Airyana Hoffman. As done in Dr. Scantleberry’s testimony, Barnard again published pictures from the autopsy and Dr. Williams evaluated them.

Upon publishing a picture of Airyana’s brain, Wiley put his hands on his forehead and looked away. Dr. Williams pointed out that the brain was covered in hemorrhage.

“What type of clue does that present,” Barnard asked.

“That something catastrophic had taken place,” Dr. Williams responded.

Barnard then published a picture of Airyana’s right eye, where Dr. Williams pointed out optic nerve hemorrhage.

“Medical records were completely negative for any type of infection,” Dr. Williams said when asked if it could have been from an underlying illness or condition. “Organs, structures of the heart, anatomic positions of the organs, everything was normal.”

Dr. Williams said he sent out the eyes and brain for further study. Within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, Dr. Williams concluded that the cause of death was abusive head trauma. The manner of death, he said, was homicide.

Copyright 2023 WGEM. All rights reserved.