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First rebuttal witness presented in Thomas trial

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The prosecution presented their first rebuttal witness Dec. 19 in the Kelly Thomas trial, who said that the video showed a "compelling" case of mechanical asphyxia.

Dr. Anthony Juguilon, the Chief Forensic Pathologist for the Orange County Coroner's office, testified that the cause of death was mechanical chest compression with blunt facial injuries, which included a nose fracture. Juguilon said that these injuries contributed to a lack of oxygen to Thomas's brain and organs.

Juguilon said that the nose fracture can cause blood aspirations, which can block an airway.

"The evidence for asphyxia is compelling in this case," he said under questioning from Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

Michael Schwartz, Jay Cicinelli's attorney, asked Juguilon under cross examination how there could be asphyxia from the nose fracture when no blood came from the oral pharyngeal tube place in Thomas the day of his encounter with police. Juguilon said that Dr. Michael Lekawa noted aspirations of blood and also in the airway.

The court will be in recess until the beginning of the year, when the prosecution is expected to present more rebuttal witnesses.

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