The prosecution and the defense in the Ali-Mohamed Mohamud murder trial rested Wednesday after jurors listened to a medical examiner describe the extensive injuries he is accused of inflicting on his 10-year-old stepson, Abdifatah.
Mohamud’s defense team did not call any witnesses, and Mohamud did not take the stand.
Of the nearly 70 blows inflicted on the boy, four were lethal, said Erie County Chief Medical Examiner Dianne R. Vertes.
The boy’s head was separated from his spinal cord during the beating, and the crushing of the boy’s head exposed the brain, she said.
Prosecutors have said Mohamud struck Abdifatah about 70 times with a hardwood baker’s rolling pin, shattering the boy’s skull, leaving bruises all over his body, breaking two ribs and damaging his internal organs.
The number and extent of Abdifatah’s blunt-force injuries were equivalent to someone falling from a four-story building onto cement, Vertes said.
“These were caused by a significant amount of force,” she said of the boy’s injuries during questioning from prosecutor Thomas M. Finnerty.
Vertes testified that she could not determine precisely how much time passed between the first and last blows to the boy.
“It didn’t happen in a short period of time,” she said.
The extensive bruising on the boy’s body indicates he was alive for much of the beating, she said.
Vertes also said she detected a stab wound on the boy’s left arm during the autopsy.
Fluid in his sinuses indicated a near-drowning, she said.
The boy’s vomiting during the beating, during which duct tape was placed over his mouth, indicates suffocation as well, she said.
Michelle Lillie, a forensic biologist, said testing showed the presumptive presence of Abdifatah’s blood on a steak knife and rolling pin that police recovered from Mohamud’s Guilford Street home.
A police detective testified Tuesday that Mohamud, a 41-year-old security guard, admitted fatally beating his stepson during an interview in Police Headquarters several hours after the boy’s body was discovered April 17 in the basement of the family home.
Closing arguments will be heard this morning, after which the jury’s deliberations will begin, said State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns.