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Forensic pathologist testifies in Caluskinski trial


Melissa Calusinski

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Updated: April 11, 2011 4:46AM

The forensic pathologist who autopsied 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan testified about what he told police the day after the toddler was allegedly murdered at a Linconshire day care center in 2009.

Dr. Eupil Choi was the last witness defense attorneys Paul DeLuca and Dan Cummings called in the hearing to quash the arrest of their client, Melissa Calusinski. The hearing started in September.

Associate Judge Christopher Stride previously ruled that the defense could only question Choi about the timeframe involved in Benjamin’s Jan. 14, 2009, death. The boy died of blunt force trauma to the head with force equivalent to a fall from a 1- to 2-story building, according to previous testimony.

Choi’s testimony on Wednesday contradicted previous testimony from Investigator Adam Hyde. Hyde previously testified that Choi told him that the injury that caused Benjamin’s death was inflicted 30 minutes to three hours before the boy died.

“As far as timing what happened, I don’t remember giving Det. Hyde the 30 minutes to three-hour time frame,” Choi said. “I don’t recall what I told him about the exact time frame.”

DeLuca had stated that establishing the time frame is “critical” to determining exactly when Calusinski was placed under arrest Jan. 16, 2009.

“(Wednesday’s testimony) shows a disagreement between the pathologist and the police,” Cumming said.

Choi’s testimony came after heated debate between prosecutors and defense attorneys on Tuesday.

Assistant State’s Attorneys Stephen Scheller and Christen Bishop objected to Choi’s testimony on the grounds that it was irrevelant.

“He does not recall exactly what he said. It was a few years ago,” Bishop said at Tuesday’s hearing.

She said Tuesday that Choi agreed with the timeline that officers testified to that the injury was inflicted 30 minutes to three hours before the boy died,

The most specific Choi was Wednesday was that the injury was “fresh” and “very recent.”

Calusinski is due back in court Feb. 18. She remains in custody at Lake County Jail.

Judith Katz, former owner of the Minee-Subee day-care center, was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly thwarting police investigations. Katz is due back in court for status on May 11.

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