Whoever killed 9-year-old Clinton Kastanis stabbed the boy 18 times and hit him with a hammer five times.
Edward Leis, an assistant medical examiner, described each of the wounds to a 3rd District jury Wednesday morning. He also detailed bruises and cuts the boy received on his hands while trying to fend off his attacker.Leis said he believes these "defensive wounds" show that the child tried to grab the killer's knife. One finger on the boy's right hand was nearly amputated.
Leis also said the boy's brain was bruised and said some of the stab wounds entered Clinton's lungs and the sac surrounding his heart. Each of the wounds was inflicted when the boy was alive or just shortly after his death, Leis said. A collapsed lung and other injuries would undoubtedly have left the boy in a great deal of pain.
"I would anticipate that if a small child is having pain or if he's being injured by another individual that he would be screaming," Leis said.
Sam Kastanis told police he was outside in an unattached garage the morning of Nov. 17, 1991, the day his family was killed, yet heard no sounds coming from his house. He is charged with four counts of capital murder but insists he did not kill his family and said his depressed wife must have killed their children and then herself.
Tuesday, 3rd District Judge Dennis Frederick chastised defense attorney Ron Yengich after the attorney became angered with a prosecution witness.
"I recognize emotions are high in this matter, but I want it to calm down," Frederick said.
Yengich was questioning FBI serologist Robert Spalding when Spalding raised questions about the credibility of a book written by authors whom Yengich intends to call as defense witnesses. Yengich became angered at the comments, and the judge said the attorney's actions were "uncalled for."
Prosecutor Kent Morgan accused Yengich of badgering the witness and using a "menacing tone of voice." Yengich asked that Spalding be instructed to only answer his questions and not expound and overstate his answers.
Yengich also argued that the judge made comments whenever he favored motions raised by the prosecution but didn't comment when sustaining defense motions. "I think if there's commentaries it should go both ways," he said.
Frederick said if Yengich wanted more comments from him about sustained objections, he could ask for them. Most of the exchange between the judge and attorneys was made outside the presence of the jury.
The jury was dismissed and the trial postponed early Tuesday afternoon after one of the jurors suffered an allergic reaction to a bee sting during the lunch hour and reported she could not return until Wednesday morning.
Earlier Tuesday, Spalding testified that he believed investigators properly handled the jacket that Sam Kastanis was wearing the morning his family was killed. The day before, however, he agreed with Yengich that the jacket may have been mishandled.
Yengich said police officers often folded the jacket and implied that that could cause any wet blood still on it to transfer to another part of the jacket and cause more stains.
The defense attorney also asked state criminalist Pilar Shortsleeve to show the jury the inside of a paper bag that police had used to store the bloodied nightshirt of Christine Kastanis, 6. The blood from her nightshirt - apparently still wet - transferred onto the paper bag.
Shortsleeve said it is possible that such blood transfers could change the shape of blood stains but later said there was no evidence the jacket had any wet blood. The inside of the bag it was kept in had no blood stains.
Spalding also said Tuesday that he saw no "mirror images" on the jacket that would indicate blood had been transferred by someone folding it.
Yengich also asked Shortsleeve why she did not analyze fingernail scrapings from any of the children or Margaret Kastanis, even though the scrapings were collected. "Did you turn your back on the evidence and put blinders on? Is that a part of the procedure?" he asked.
"No," Shortsleeve replied.
An analysis was performed on fingernail scrapings from Sam Kastanis, but the results were inconclusive. No other scrapings tests were requested, she said.