Danziger surgeon: "One of the worst cases I've seen that has survived"

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 12 at 5:43 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS - Tuesday afternoon the jury in the Danziger case saw graphic pictures of the injuries to the four civilians wounded on the bridge during the post-Katrina police shooting.

The surgeon who treated the patients also described the life threatening gunshot wounds.

The pictures the jury saw Tuesday showed the violent nature of the wounds sustained by the civilians shot by police on the Danziger Bridge.

They had the jury and courtroom observers on the edge of their seats.

The Danziger case is not only about possible wrongdoing by New Orleans police officers. It is also about two people who died on the bridge – and four others severely wounded in the post-Katrina police shooting.

The jury saw a series of graphic pictures showing the injuries to Susan, Leonard and Lesha Bartholomew and Jose Holmes.

The surgeon who treated the victims that day at West Jefferson Hospital described the gravity of their wounds.

Dr. Craig Thompson testified that Holmes was the most severe case with massive gunshot wounds to the abdomen and neck. Susan Bartholomew had injuries to her legs and right arm that was nearly shot off by a bullet. Lesha Bartholomew had gunshot wounds to her abdomen. Leonard Bartholomew had superficial wounds to his scalp and legs.

“It was the most complex surgery I’ve done and certainly one of the worst cases I’ve seen that has survived,” Thompson told the jury.

An FBI agent who interviewed defendant Archie Kaufman three years after the shooting was also on the witness stand Tuesday Kaufman is accused of falsifying police records, manufacturing witnesses and lying to help cover-up the shooting.

Prompted by questions from prosecutor Cindy Chung, Kelly Bryson told the jury that some of the information Kaufman gave her “just didn’t make sense, just didn’t sound right.”

Bryson also called the fact that NOPD investigators didn’t collect evidence the day of the shooting and Kaufman’s claim that a gun was later found under the bridge, troubling.

Under cross examination by defense attorneys, Bryson admitted that she evacuated during Katrina and did not know firsthand the working conditions for law enforcers in the days after the storm.

Kaufman’s attorney Steve London asked her, “Nobody in the FBI has been tasked with an investigation like this during the worst natural disaster in this country’s history?”

“No, sir,” Agent Bryson responded.

Prosecutor Chung asked the FBI agent, “Would you fault someone for not picking up evidence that was right in front of them?”

“Yes,” Bryson said.

“Would you fault someone for leaving evidence behind and blaming the hurricane?” asked Chung.

“Yes. Kaufman said that he didn’t see anything wrong with what they had done that day and he had no reason to question the officer’s actions,” Bryson said.

The last witness to take the stand Tuesday was a state police ballistics expert who testified that shells were found at the bridge that matched guns belonging to defendants Kenneth Bowen, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso.

 

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