The prosecution rests and everything else you need to know from Day 5 of Ray Tensing's retrial

Key moments from Day 5 of Ray Tensing's retrial
Posted at 1:42 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 19:37:30-04

CINCINNATI -- After calling five witnesses to the stand in the Ray Tensing retrial Wednesday, the prosecution rested its case.

Tensing's defense team will begin calling witnesses Thursday, on the sixth day of Tensing's retrial for counts of murder and voluntary manslaughter. Tensing, a former University of Cincinnati officer, shot and killed Sam DuBose during a traffic stop in 2015.

Here are the most important moments from Wednesday, day five in the Tensing retrial: 

Tensing’s gear doesn’t indicate dragging, examiner says

Crime lab tests on Tensing’s flashlight and boots showed no sign of being dragged, one witness said Wednesday.

Testimony from Michael Trimpe, trace evidence examiner for the Hamilton County Coroner's Office, focused on testing for car paint on Tensing’s belt and flashlight.

PHOTOS: Day 5 of Ray Tensing's retrial

Based on Tensing’s account — Tensing said he was tangled in DuBose’s steering wheel and dragged by the car — the ex-officer’s flashlight should have shown some traces of automotive paint, Trimpe said.

Trimpe and the crime lab found no traces of auto paint on Tensing’s equipment.

Watch Trimpe's testimony below:


Trimpe said no scuffs or dirt were found on DuBose’s car door to indicate dragging, nor were Tensing’s boots scuffed.

“It doesn’t mean he wasn’t dragged,” Trimpe said during cross examination. “But I didn’t see any evidence of that."

Could DuBose be dead and move the car?

In Tensing’s first trial, Prosecutor Joe Deters addressed the possibility that DuBose could, in fact, cause his car to move after he was shot.

Dr. Karen Looman’s testimony wasn’t as definitive.

“(DuBose) would have no thought or movement when the bullet hit his brainstem,” Looman said. “He was not in control of his body.”

Toward the end of her testimony, Looman explained that DuBose’s body could have pressed down on the gas pedal.

“If his foot was hovering on the gas pedal when he was shot, with gravity he would have collapsed on the pedal,” Looman said.

Watch Looman's testimony in the player below:


Tensing shot DuBose from above

In the first trial, Deters used Looman’s testimony on the entry and exit wounds in DuBose’s head as a “silver bullet” of sorts.

When he was shot, the bullet entered DuBose’s head above the left ear and exited below the right ear, Looman said. That means Tensing was to the left and above DuBose when he shot him, Looman said.

Mathews asked if the placement of the shooting meant that Tensing was slighting in front of DuBose. Looman responded, saying that DuBose’s head was likely turned slightly, facing Tensing, when he was shot.

Defense tied back to pot, health whenever possible

When toxicology experts took the stand, defense attorney Stew Mathews took every opportunity to ask about two topics barred from both trials: DuBose’s health and drug use.

First, Brian Scowden from the Coroner’s Office testified regarding toxicology reports. He said the “gin” bottle in DuBose’s car didn’t actually contain gin, and confirmed that marijuana was found in DuBose’s car.

Scowden said some prescription medications — prescribed for DuBose — were also found in the car. He said he didn’t test the medications because they were prescribed to DuBose.

Watch Scowden's testimony in the player below:


Mathews pressed Scowden, asking for a reason behind the prescribed medications. He was not permitted to answer.

Scowden also said a cookie and a brownie were found in the car and were tested for THC. The cookie likely came into contact with marijuana but did not contain it, he said; the brownie tested negative for THC.

Later, Mathews asked Looman — who administered DuBose’s autopsy — about the contents of DuBose’s pockets; she revealed that DuBose had $2,600 in cash, two bags of marijuana, business cards and a state of Ohio ID card on his body when he arrived for an autopsy.

Mathews also asked if DuBose had marijuana in his system. He did — we know he did because of previous testimony from the Hamilton County Coroner’s Chief of Toxicology — but Looman couldn’t answer the question.
Then, Mathews asked Looman about DuBose’s health.

"Was Mr. DuBose in good health, besides the gunshot wound?" Mathews asked Looman.

The prosecution objected, which Judge Leslie Ghiz overruled.

“No,” Looman answered.

When Mathews asked what was wrong with DuBose’s health, Ghiz sustained the objection.

“Did Mr. DuBose have a tapeworm in his body?” Mathews then asked Looman.

Looman couldn’t answer.

Questions of DuBose’s health have hovered over both trials, but medical records were always barred from the trial. In the first trial, Judge Megan Shanahan made a vague comment on the medical records.

"It's a leap to say that his medical condition affected his behavior at the scene when he was stopped by the defendant,” Shanahan said to the defense.

Tensing killed DuBose with a hollow-point bullet

This detail didn’t get much attention in Tensing’s first trial: Tensing fired a hollow-point bullet into DuBose.

Firearms expert Kevin Lattyak from the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office said Tensing had hollow-point ammunition with his standard-issue service weapon.

Hollow-point bullets have a contentious history. The bullets are named for the small hole in their point, which allows it to expand when it reaches its target. In this case, the target was DuBose’s head.

Hollow-point bullets are ideal in situations where a bullet is meant to stop inside its target, such as on an airplane, according to this firearms blog. The bullets are marketed for "maximum stopping power" to prevent through-and-through shots, which can strike unintentional targets.

The State of Wisconsin considered a bill to criminalize possession of hollow-tip bullets, punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The bill died in committee after outcry from the hunting community.

The Wisconsin bill was proposed after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The shooter, Adam Lanza, used hollow-tip bullets because he wanted ammunition "designed to inflict the maximum amount of damage,” law enforcement officials said.

Cincinnati Police Department’s standard-issue ammunition for primary duty weapons are hollow-point bullets.

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