CAMP VERDE -- Two pathologists have differing rulings in the death of 22-year-old Krystil Wilson back in 2007. Both were expected to appear at a two-hour evidentiary hearing in Superior Court in Camp Verde Friday afternoon.
The woman drowned at Beasley Flats in Camp Verde. Her death was originally ruled an accident. Defense attorneys for 34-year-old Jack Rider have asked the court to exclude a statement by the current medical examiner.
Former Yavapai and Maricopa County Medical Examiner Dr. Phillip Keene was on hand to give testimony, but Dr. Mark Fischione, who is now in that role, was not available and is expected to be subpoenaed in August.
During the original autopsy, Keene had said the evidence was consistent with drowning and that Wilson's death was considered accidental until 2012 when Richard Fisher was arrested for multiple vehicle arsons in Prescott Valley. At that tme he told his attorney that the death of Wilson was not an accident and that she was intentionally killed by Jack Rider.
With the new information, current pathologist Fischione had changed the cause of death to homicide and
Rider was indicted and arrested where he was then living in Florida.
Co-defense attorney John Sears, in presenting background for the case Friday, told the court that Richard Fisher was also at Beasley Flats that July 19, 2007. He was Wilson's boyfriend at the time, but could not swim and did not go into the water.
Sears presented the information from the original "accident" report, comparing it with the statement Fisher was to make five years later in 2012 after his arrest on arson charges.
Fisher originally said Rider and Wilson were playing up and down the rapids. The water ranged from only deep enough to cover her feet to just below her neck. Suddenly there was the cry, "she's going under." Fisher ran to make a call to 911 and the operator told him to make sure they were doing CPR and he confirmed that Jack was doing CPR.
Five years later, Sears showed, Fisher's statement said the water was waist deep and that "Jack was holding her over and slammed her head into the ground. When she would try to get up, he would do it again."
Under questioning, Keene said he would have changed his ruling to "undetermined" but not homicide. He said she had only a single blunt force trauma to the head near the hairline.
"I am certainly not going to call it a homicide if it is not clearly a homicide. I would expect to see more."
But Keene did admit that the woman could have been knocked unconscious and drown after a single blow to the head. He said she could have fallen due to the speed of the rapids.
Sears questioned the credibility of Fisher, but also tried to zero in on the process the two pathologists used, in hoping to eliminate the "homicide" ruling of Fischione.
The date of the Fischione testimony is not final. Judge Joe Butner set dates for the second part of the hearing during scheduled trial which now may be vacated.
The defendant was excused from the hearing.
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