CALGARY — A jury has seen graphic photographs of numerous injuries inflicted on a man whose body was found at the side of a rural highway west of Calgary.
Forensic pathologist Enrico Risso testified at the trial of Tewodros Kebede and Yu Chieh Liao, who also goes by the first name Diana.
The two have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the July 2017 death of Hanock Afowerk, in whose burned-out vehicle the bodies of three others were found dead days earlier.
In May 2018, Risso peer-reviewed an autopsy report completed by another forensic pathologist, Bamidele Adeagbo.
Risso said he agrees that the primary cause of death was multiple blunt-force brain injuries, and that three gunshots were contributing causes.
He said two of the bullets lodged in Afowerk’s shoulder and hit no vital organs, while the third went through his spine.
There was also evidence there had at one point been pressure on the man’s neck, he added.
“Those injuries are undoubtedly lethal, even if they occurred in front of a hospital,” Risso told court Tuesday of the blows to Afowerk’s head.
Duct tape was wrapped around Afowerk’s neck, but it was not tight by the time his body was discovered, the jury heard. There were cuts and bruises on his hands, arms and head.
The Crown’s theory is that Afowerk was held for ransom and tortured before he was killed and that the three others were killed because they were witnesses.
Liao has also pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact in the killings of Cody Pfeiffer, 25; Tiffany Ear, 39; and 36-year-old Glynnis Fox.
Kebede has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact in the slaying of Pfeiffer, who the jury heard was present when Afowerk was killed and his body dumped.
The remains of Pfeiffer, Ear and Fox were found on July 10, 2017, in a burned-out Chevy Cruze belonging to Afowerk, who was 26, at a suburban Calgary construction site.
Police have not charged anyone with those three homicides.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2019.
Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press