After being stabbed in the heart, Travis Alexander may have had a few minutes to fend off his attacker before losing consciousness, according to the doctor who preformed his autopsy.
Medical examiner Dr. Kevin Horn took the witness stand in the Jodi Arias trial Tuesday detailing the brutal attack that killed Alexander.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez walked Dr. Horn through Alexander’s wounds by displaying a series of photos to the jurors showing knife wounds to Alexander’s neck, chest and hands.
The photos caused members of Alexander’s family to immediately begin crying, and they eventually left the courtroom.
Dr. Horn said that Alexander sustained three injuries that would have been “rapidly fatal” and he ultimately died from blood loss.
Dr. Horn testified that it was likely that Alexander’s first life-threatening injury was to his heart. The “sharp-edged object” pierced his chest cavity, the tissue surrounding his heart and a major vessel of the heart, said Dr. Horn.
Read more: Highlights: Week 1 of Jodi Arias trial
However, as Alexander bled internally and possibly even externally from the wound to his chest, he may have had a few minutes to fight off his attacker before losing consciousness and eventually dying from the wound. In fact, Dr. Horn explained that Alexander even had knife wounds on both hands that were “consistent with defensive wounds.”
Dr. Horn explained defensive wounds are based on location such as wounds to the hands, back of the hands or forearms that are consistent with someone fighting off an attack.
Another possibly fatal injury Dr. Horn detailed was the injury to Alexander’s neck that severed his jugular vein. Dr. Horn said the cut to Alexander’s neck went so deep it went all the way down to his spine. Dr. Horn says this wound would have caused Alexander to lose consciousness within seconds and die within minutes.
Alexander was also shot in the head. Dr. Horn said the bullet passed through Alexander’s skull, passing through his right frontal lobe, and stopped in his left cheek. Dr. Horn said the gunshot wound could have been a fatal wound, but there is a chance that Alexander was shot in the head after he had already died, because there was a lack of hemorrhaging in the brain.
As the Dr. Horn testified, Arias avoided directly looking at the photos of Alexander's wounds, and she cried during most of the testimony.
Shortly after Alexander’s body was found in June 2008, Arias told police she was not involved in Alexander's death. She later changed her story and told investigators that she witnessed two intruders break in and kill him. She eventually admitted to killing Alexander in self-defense.