The People vs. James Worley jurors warned about graphic testimony before coroner took stand

FULTON COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - Jurors were subject to disturbing testimony Tuesday morning in the trial of The People vs. James Worley.

It was a volunteer member of the search party looking for Sierah who lead police to the corn field where the 20-year-old was found in a shallow grave.

Lucas County deputy coroner Dr. Cynthia Biser, the coroner who performed Sierah Joughin's autopsy, took the stand.

The judge warned the jury that what they were about to see and hear would be graphic.

Sierah's family, who have been following the proceedings, were also warned that if the testimony would cause them to get emotional, that they should leave the courtroom.

Some of her family members did heed this suggestion.

Dr. Biser not only described the condition of Sierah's body, but also showed the jury pictures of how Sierah look when her body arrived at the coroner's office.

Dr. Biser explained that Sierah had two injuries to her head. However, despite one of the fractures being severe, she said those injuries did not contribute to her death.

Instead, Biser said it was a yellow dog toy placed in Sierah's mouth that was secured with a rope. The coroner said the toy was about the same size as the inside of Sierah's mouth and that Sierah simply could not breath.

Dr. Biser ruled Sierah's cause of death as manual obstruction of the mouth.

Sierah went missing on July 19, 2016. Dr. Beisser explained to the jury her exact time of death may never be known.

"So again your time of death July 22 at 9 p.m. is the time the body is found so you have no way of telling us a reasonable time of death," Defense Attorney Mark Berling asked Dr. Biser.

However, it was the testimony of Fulton County Major Matt Smithmyer's testimony where the prosecutor laid out a theory tying the evidence together.

"We had positive indications that James Worley DNA was found at the abduction site, it was at the residence, and his DNA and Sierah's DNA was found at the burial site on a rubber glove," Major Smithmyer said.

Dr. Biser was also questioned as to if Sierah was sexually assaulted or raped. Biser told the jury Sierah showed no signs of being assaulted in this way.

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