Prosecution begins wrapping up case in Danziger trial

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 13 at 5:39 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS - The prosecution appears to be wrapping up its case in the Danziger post-Katrina police shooting trial.

Ballistics experts and forensic pathologists took the witness stand Wednesday.

Prosecutors are using their last few witness to help connect the dots and to prove that the former and current New Orleans police officers used unjustified deadly force on the Danziger Bridge.

Evidence indicates that there were a lot of bullets flying on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005.

A state police ballistics expert used science to link three of the officers now on trial to guns fired at civilians that day.

Patrick Lang told the jury that shell casings found at the bridge matched guns fired by defendants Ken Bowen, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso.

Lang said there were nine AK-47 casings from Villavaso’s assault rifle, nine casings from Bowen’s AK-47, four shotgun shells from Faulcon’s shotgun and five casing from a missing M-4 long rifle.

Lang also testified about bullet slugs recovered from some of the civilians shot by police on the bridge.

Six were recovered from James Brissette and two from Ronald Madison – both men died on the bridge and one bullet was found in Jose Holmes, who was severely wounded.

Only one of the bullets could be traced to a gun shot by defendant Bowen.

"That may be somewhat irrelevant because I would anticipate that those three defendants, if and when they testify, will acknowledge that they fired their weapon," said Donald "Chick" Foret, WWLTV legal analyst and former prosecutor. "The whole issue that the jury is going to have to deal with is why did they fire their weapons."

A forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on James Brissette also took the witness stand Wednesday.

Dr. Diana Troxclair showed a diagram of the victim’s gunshot wounds. She said four bullets struck Brissette from behind, two in the head, one in the right arm and one in the buttocks.

The forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on victim Ronald Madison later testified that Madison died as a result of seven gunshot wounds.

Dr. James Traylor showed the jury pictures showing that five of the bullets entered Madison’s back and back shoulder.

"The two victims that were fatally wounded in the Danziger casae were both shot in the back," Foret said. "Neither Ronald Madison nor James Brissette posed a threat to any of these five defendants or certainly the four defendants who were present on the Bridge during the Danziger Bridge shooting."

Court wrapped for the day about 90 minutes early. We are told the prosecution may only have three or four more witnesses left to testify.

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