• Forensic investigators testify about bodies found in Blackstone home

    By: Evan White


    WORCESTER, Mass. - Testimony continued Thursday in the trial of a Blackstone mom accused of killing two of her babies.

    Erika Murray did not appear to show much emotion as images of the clothing her babies were dressed in was shown on a video board. Her attorney, meanwhile, became upset while questioning two scientists whose opinions are a big part of the case.

    After walking into court Thursday morning, Murray’s face rarely drifted from the witness stand. No tears rolling down her cheeks a day after some were shed during testimony.

    First, the court in Murray’s bench trial heard from Sergeant Keith Egan, a state trooper called to Murray’s Blackstone home in 2014.

    "I was assigned to the second floor back bedroom, I was in SCBA, self-contained breathing apparatus, basically head to toe covering my body," MSP Sgt. Keith Egan said. 

    Using a small shovel, Egan testified he and another sergeant trudged through trash, bugs, and dirty diapers until reaching the back bedroom where they opened a closet.

    "We opened the box and we discovered the human remains," he said. 

    The bodies of two infants would be discovered in boxes, a third infant, possibly stillborn, was also found wrapped in sweats.

    State anthropologist Dr. James Pokines testified about discoveries he made studying the teeth of the deceased babies. Pointing out the neonatal line, a growth line seen in sections of enamel.

    But during cross-examination, defense attorney Keith Halpern questioned the doctor’s expertise and reliability of the science he used in his report.

    "You don't know of any controlled study that has ever been done that examined the neonatal lines in the teeth of babies that had died within a month of birth," he said, asking the doctor to provide a study to back his claim. 

    As Murray looked on, Halpern also aggressively questioned Dr. Robert Welton, who performed autopsies on two of the babies’ remains.

    "Based solely on the remains, only, were not able to make a determination of whether or not the child was stillborn?" Halpern asked.

    "Yes," Welton replied. 

    At one point, the judge called attornies over before allowing questions to continue.

    Friday, audio and video from Erika Murray's statement to police will be played in court. 

    Murray’s two other children are on the witness list but the prosecutor wouldn’t say today if he’s planning to call them to the stand.


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