Jury views autopsy

Ryan Loew

RAVENNA – James E. Trimble looked away while prosecutors showed photos depicting high velocity bullet wounds to 7-year-old Dakota Bauer’s head and neck, but the jury’s eyes stayed focused on the screen.

Jurors saw autopsy photos of Dakota Bauer in Trimble’s capital murder trial at the Portage County Common Pleas Court yesterday.

The photos were accompanied by the testimony of George Stervenz, chief deputy medical examiner for the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office, which conducted the autopsy of Dakota and his mother Renee Bauer.

Testimony from Stervenz began Tuesday.

Judge John Enlow warned the courtroom of the photos’ graphic nature.

As the autopsy photos were shown on a large screen TV, Trimble appeared to be mumbling to himself and began crying.

Trimble, 45, could face a death sentence if convicted of aggravated murder for the Jan. 21 and 22 shootings of 42-year-old Renee Bauer, her son Dakota and 22-year-old Kent State student Sarah Positano, whom he held hostage in her home. He is indicted on 14 felony counts and three counts of aggravated murder.

Stervenz said Dakota suffered six individual gunshot wounds to the head, neck, torso and arms. One wound included a “perforating gunshot wound to the face,” or a grazing wound, the inspector said.

The jury also heard final questions from the defense on Renee’s autopsy.

Jonathan Gardner, a forensic scientist for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, testified on weapons evidence gathered during crime-scene investigation.

Gardner, who specializes in firearms, examined the weapons and bullet evidence collected from the Bauers’ residence at 880 Sandy Lake Road and Positano’s 3729B Ranfield Road residence.

Nineteen .223 caliber cartridges found at 880 Sandy Lake match an Olympic Arms AR-15 assault rifle taken by police, Gardner said.

During his testimony, Gardner explained to the jury about how firearms leave “finger prints” on bullet casings. He also demonstrated how to load the assault rifle and a Sig Sauer P239 9mm handgun also taken by police.

To further demonstrate weapons evidence, the prosecution displayed to the jury the sweater Positano was wearing when she died.

Gardner pointed out two holes caused by a 9mm bullet near the shoulder area of the stained, white zip-up sweater. Gun-powder particles also were found on the shirt, he said, leading him to believe that the weapon was fired within 12 inches of Positano.

Contact public affairs reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].