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LAWRENCE COUNTY Testimony is denied in trial



Published: Fri, April 19, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The judge said the doctor's theories were based on opinion.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A forensic pathologist will not be permitted to testify about his theories in the trial of a man accused in the stabbing deaths of a Pulaski Township woman and three children.

Opening statements and testimony in the retrial of Thomas H. Kimbell, 40, were to begin this morning in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Kimbell's defense team has wanted Dr. Bennet Omalu of the Allegheny County Coroner's Office to talk about his findings after reviewing autopsies, crime scene photographs and police reports in the 1994 deaths of Bonnie Lou Dryfuse, 34, her daughters, Jacqueline, 7, Heather, 4, and her niece, Stephanie Herko, 5, at the Dryfuse mobile home in Pulaski Township.

Suspects family member

The forensic pathologist contends the murders were committed by a family member, not Kimbell.

On Thursday, however, Judge Dominick Motto ruled that Dr. Omalu's theories could not be offered at trial.

The judge said Dr. Omalu's theories are not based on scientific fact, but his own opinions, and are not permitted in court.

Kimbell, 40, faces the death penalty if convicted.

In 1998, a jury convicted and sentenced him to death, but Kimbell was granted a new trial by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court because his attorney at that time was unable to cross-examine a key witness in the first trial.

The trial is expected to continue two to three weeks.




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