Jury shown ‘gruesome’ photographs

Jessica Rothschuh

RAVENNA – Jurors saw Renee Bauer’s autopsy photos and heard the conclusion of Special Agent John Saraya’s testimony yesterday in the capital murder trial of James E. Trimble at the Portage County Court of Common Pleas.

Before the prosecution displayed the autopsy photos of Renee Bauer’s 13 gunshot wounds, Judge John A. Enlow warned the audience of the photos’ graphic nature.

“They can at times be gruesome,” Enlow said. Trimble shook and appeared to be mumbling to himself when the photos were displayed. His lip quivered, and he swallowed repeatedly, sometimes averting his eyes.

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 7-year-old 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.

The jury also learned the results of Renee Bauer’s toxicology test. She was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.173 when she was killed.

Her autopsy photos were the first shown during George Stervenz’s testimony. Stervenz is the chief deputy medical examiner for the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office, which conducted the autopsy.

The jury also learned of several bruises on her arms and legs, which Stervenz said could have been new or healing. Stervenz’s testimony will continue today in the trial’s seventh day of testimony.

Public Defender Dennis Lager also finished the cross-examination of Saraya, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation agent.

The defense made a motion for mistrial when Saraya mentioned a prior conviction of Trimble’s, but Enlow overruled the motion and instructed the jury to disregard Saraya’s statement.

Saraya testified he left six bullets lodged in various locations inside Positano’s home during his investigation.

Lager asked about measurements of several bullet holes and the angles of their trajectories at Positano’s 3729B Ranfield Road residence.

“You had the capacity to measure this angle?” Lager asked, pointing to a bullet hole with a probe in it.

“Yes sir,” Saraya answered.

“Did you?” Lager asked.

“No sir,” Saraya answered.

Lager further questioned Saraya about how he determined the path of a bullet shot into the Positano residence by a SWAT team sniper.

“I did make the measurements that I found necessary,” Saraya said.

The jury also saw Trimble’s empty prescription bottles of lorazepam and hydrocodone that were found at the Ranfield Road location. Lorazepam is a generic of the anti-anxiety medication Ativan, and hydrocodone is a generic of the painkiller Vicodin. The two prescription bottles each held 60 pills.

The instructions on the prescription of hydrocodone were to take one pill every eight hours as needed. It was filled on Jan. 12. The lorazepam was filled on Jan. 2.

Saraya also testified that a white powder found in Trimble’s wallet, initially testing positive at the scene for methamphetamine, was later lab-tested and found to be crushed lorazepam.

Contact public affairs reporter Jessica Rothschuh at [email protected].



ƒ-S James E. Trimble, 45, is charged with killing 42-year-old Renee Bauer, her 7-year-old son Dakota, and 22-year-old Kent State student Sarah Positano.He is indicted on 17 counts, including three counts of aggravated murder.

ƒ-S If he is convicted of these charges, he could face the death penalty.



Jan. 21 – Neighbors hear gunshots at 880 Sandy Lake Road. Police find Dakota and Renee Bauer dead. After fleeing police while shooting at them for more than two hours, Trimble breaks into Sarah Positano’s Ranfield Road home and holds her hostage.

Jan. 22 – Just after midnight a gunshot is heard at Positano’s residence. Later that morning, Trimble is taken into custody.

Feb. 7 – Trimble is arraigned and pleads not guilty by reason of insanity.

July 12 – Originally scheduled trial date, which was postponed.

Sept. 19 – Jury selection begins.

Sept. 20 – Trimble retracts his not guilty by reason of insanity plea.

Sept. 29 – Jury selection is complete.

Sept. 30 – Attorneys present opening statements.

Oct. 3 – Witnesses begin their testimonies.