BUFFALO, N.Y. - Jurors in the manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti saw a compelling piece of evidence Friday.
The prosecution brought pieces of Corasanti's vehicle into court. Jurors got a chance to look at the car up close and hear testimony about the damage caused when Corasanti hit 18-year-old Alexandria Rice last July.
Members of the media were also allowed to take photos and shoot video of the evidence presented to jurors.
The damaged front end of Dr. Corasanti's dark blue BMW sat just feet from the jury box. The car still showed the impact dents from July 8, 2011, when Dr. Corasanti struck and killed 18-year-old Alix Rice on Heim Road in Amherst.
The hood of the BMW, according to a prosecution witness, had buckled eight inches. Part of the metal side panel was bent 90 degrees outward, and there were cracks and damage to the bumper cover.
Prosecutors are using the evidence to convince the jury that Dr. Corasanti knew, as he drove away, that he had just struck a person that July night last summer. Corasanti's attorneys intend to prove otherwise, as they indicated during opening statements last week.
How Alix died led to one of the most emotional moments of the trial Friday. Medical Examiner Dr. Jonrika Malone took the stand, describing the cause of death as " internal decapitation." Dr. Malone testified Alix's "neck was broken," her "legs were broken," her trachea was cut in half, and that Alix suffered "brain injuries."
Prosecutor Chris Belling asked the medical examiner, "What kind of force is needed for that to happen?" Dr. Malone responded, "Blunt force impact."
During cross examination, Defense attorney Joel Daniels asked Dr. Malone, "Would you agree that her death was almost instantaneous? Dr. Malone said, "Yes."
The judge allowed prosecutors to show the jury Alix's autopsy photos on display screens, although none of the photos showed her face. The images brought tears to the eyes of Alix's parents and the rest of her family. Dr. Corasanti kept his head down and showed little-to-no expression.
The prosecution will continue its case when the trial resumes Monday morning.