Defense rested its case in Erik Sackett homicide trial

Local News

The Defense called its final two witnesses to the stand Tuesday afternoon in the Sackett homicide trial.

Erik Sackett is accused of killing Erin Somvilai, whose body was found in a lake in June of 2018.

The first witness was Joy Quick who testified to seeing Somvilai on June 4th– the day she was reported missing.

The Prosecution previously argued Somvilai had already been killed by that point.

The second witness was a pathologist who said she would not have labeled Somvilai’s death the same way the doctor who performed the autopsy did.

“Based on the evidence that you’ve reviewed— Does Ms. Somvilai’s death meet the criteria for a finding of homicide by homicidal violence?,” asked Chris Zachar, defense attorney.
“No,” said Lindsay Thomas, a forensic pathologist.

Dr. Thomas went on to say how she would have determined the findings of the death.

“Could this same evidence have been used to make a determination of suicide by drowning?,” Zachar asked.
“Yes,” Thomas said.
“Would you as a pathologist with all of your experience have felt comfortable making that finding?,” Zachar asked.
“Yes,” Thomas answered.

The Defense also asked Thomas how helpful it is to know about potential suspects when performing an autopsy.

“It doesn’t honestly matter to us who the suspect or suspects might be, that’s not really our job,” Thomas said.

The Defense didn’t just call upon Dr. Thomas’s expertise as a pathologist, but also about what’s appropriate between a doctor and a patient relationship.

“There’s a differential in terms of power, so that’s inappropriate,” Thomas said. “A physician shouldn’t take advantage of a patient in that way and it’s just against the law.”

The alternative suspect, Dr. David Onsrud, is known to have had a relationship with Somvilai.

The Prosecution asked Thomas about all potential manners of death she found possible.

“It’s your position that drowning is possible?,” asked the Prosecution.
“Yes,” Thomas said.
“And also an amphetamine death is possible?,” the Prosecution asked.
“Yes,” Thomas answered.
“And a homicide is possible?,” the Prosecution questioned.
“Yes,” Thomas said.

With all those possibilities, Dr. Thomas maintained her stance she would not have labeled this death a definitive homicide.

The Prosecution called its rebuttal witnesses to the stand Wednesday morning. Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning.

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