Vance Trial: UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Vance Trial: UPDATE

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There are horrors in this world, and one of them was sitting in a clean, well-lit courtroom, listening to a veteran emergency room doctor and a sexual assault examination nurse describe the injuries of KATV anchorwoman Anne Pressly.

WARNING: GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS TO FOLLOW

Earlier, Anne's mother, Patti Cannady, had described how she found her daughter in her rented house on Club Road in the early morning hours of October 20, 2008, lying in a fetal position on a bed soaked with her own blood. Cannady teared up at least once as she told how she tried to stop her only daughter's bleeding with towels retrieved from the bathroom -- how, when she looked up to pray as EMT's worked to save Anne's life, she saw that the attack had been so brutal that it left flecks of blood on the ceiling.

St. Vincent Infirmary ER doctor Theresa McBride and Carla Jackson, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, took the description of Pressly's injuries where a mother's mind would not allow itself to tread, and their account was -- in a word --  horrific.

Jackson, who examined Pressly for signs of rape as doctors worked to stabilize her, testified that Pressly's face and scalp bore signs of "massive trauma." Jackson said that there was a half-centimeter tear to the skin between Pressly's vagina and anus, which she said can be indicitive that a forcible rape has occurred.

McBride, an emergency room physician who has taught emergency medicine at UAMS, said that she was surprised that Pressly even made it to the hospital. When she first saw her, McBride said, Pressly was, "laying in a pool of blood on the gurney... She did not have a recognizable human face."

McBride testified that when she tried to put a tube down Pressly's throat to help her breathe, she found that the bones in Pressly's face were so shattered that they moved under the skin. Pressly's hair was matted with blood to the point that McBride said she first took her to be a redhead. Her nose was crushed beyond recognition. What McBride first took to be a laceration to Pressly's neck was actually her dislocated jaw, which had collapsed down onto her throat.

Given the chance to cross-examine McBride and Jackson, defense attorneys for defendant Curtis Vance gave the impression of grasping at straws, with attorney Katherine Streett seizing on the fact that McBride is a Doctor of Osteopathy, not an M.D., and questioning Jackson over the fact that she couldn't remember if she'd used one swab or two to collect evidence from Pressly's body. McBride countered that the D.O. and the M.D. degrees are recognized by medical licensing bodies as "equivalent degrees."  

Testimony resumes tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

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