Medical examiner testifies cause of death for Chelsea Bruck

Medical examiner testifies cause of death for Chelsea Bruck
(Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The jury in the Daniel Clay murder trial learned what the medical examiner ruled as the cause of death for Chelsea Bruck Thursday.

Wayne County medical examiner Doctor Leigh Hlavarty testified that she believed blunt force trauma to the head was the cause of death for Bruck. The fractures found on Bruck's face and jaw led her to that conclusion.

Hlavarty also testified that she could not rule out asphyxiation as a cause of the death because of the decomposition of Bruck's remains, which is key for the defense's case.

In opening statements the defense said Bruck had a past that included erotic asphyxiation during sexual intercourse.

However Hlavarty explained in medical terms erotic asphyxiation is not a cause of death.

"Erotic asphyxiation is something that does not result in death so that is not something that myself as a forensic pathologist would use as a cause of death and it is something that involves more than one person specifically the victim no longer has control over the pressure placed on their neck or the release of that pressure," Hlavarty said.

Both the defense and prosecution questioned Hlavarty for over an hour and didn't stop until the judge finally ordered no further questions.

The jury was also released early for lunch due to the defense making an objection to a video prosecutors wanted to show to the jury. The objection was overruled and the jury watched the three-hour long video.

The video is of an interview that Clay had with detectives Preadmore and Sroka after he was arrested in July 2016.

Clay was arrested after a positive DNA matched with his DNA found on the costume Bruck was wearing the last time she was seen alive.

In the beginning of the interview Clay denied that he knew Chelsea Bruck or even seeing her at the Halloween party. During the interview Clay confidently offered giving a DNA sample to the detectives.

However later in the interview, Clay would eventually admit to knowing Bruck and having rough sex with her multiple times. He went on to say that at one point he believed Bruck stopped breathing and he "freaked out" and carried her body into a wooded area in Ash Township.

He also said he was a self proclaimed ladies man and that it was possible that he had sex with women other than Bruck the night she died.

The jury will continue watching more of the interview video on Monday.

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