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Jury won’t hear of Xanax, Ambien ties in Kelley trial

  • Caryn Kelley is accused of shooting boyfriend Phillip Peatross
  • She claims the gun went off as the two struggled for it
  • Ambien and Xanax were found in her home, but doctor can't testify about possible effects
Caryn Kelley is on trial for manslaughter in death of Phillip Peatross

Caryn Kelley trial: 29 evidence photos

Caryn Kelley trial: 29 evidence photos

Woman insists boyfriend's death was an accident

Woman insists boyfriend's death was an accident

Prosecutors in the Caryn Kelley trial wanted a medical examiner to talk about the effects drugs may have had on Kelley the night her boyfriend Phillip Peatross was shot to death in July 2011.

Both Ambien and Xanax were found in her home after the shooting, and Kelley admitted in a jailhouse call that she had been on Ambien during the incident.

But, in a hearing outside of the presence of jurors, the judge ruled on Wednesday that testimony about the possible effects of those drugs wouldn't be allowed into the trial. The judge said that the defense didn’t have enough warning about this testimony to be able to prepare for it.

Read more: Expert says Caryn Kelley’s gun didn’t fire by accident

Dr. Jan Garavaglia, who testified in the Casey Anthony case and is also known as “Dr. G.,” told jurors during day three of Kelley’s manslaughter trial why she ruled Peatross’ death a homicide. She said the wound, located in Peatross’ right cheek, was in an atypical location. She also added that suicides are usually contact wounds, but the nature of this wound suggests the gun was about 3 to 6 inches from Peatross' cheek when the gun fired.

Garavaglia also said she based her conclusion about the manner of death on what the police told her they believed happened that night. The gunshot wound, she said, is consistent with a struggle in which the gun was pointed at Peatross before he was shot.

Read more: Get a peek inside the Caryn Kelley case files

Kelley covered her face as autopsy photos of Peatross were shown to the jury; his family looked down.

In another hearing outside of the presence of the jury, Kelley's attorney brought up a past incident in which Peatross allegedly threatened to kill himself in front of his ex-wife and was involuntarily committed. The ex-wife, who was in the courtroom at the time, stormed out.

The defense was asking the judge if Garavaglia could be questioned about this incident, but the judge ruled that prosecutors hadn't opened that door so the defense had to steer clear in the cross-examination.

Prosecutors say Kelley has changed her story several times, claiming that she fired the gun in self-defense and alleging that Peatross shot himself.

Read more: The Caryn Kelley trial: Who's who?

Kelley says the two struggled over the gun and it went off. But prosecutors say the gun can’t fire on its own, that someone had to pull the trigger -- and that someone was Kelley.

Kelley's defense lawyer says her client is eager to tell jurors her side of the events. She may take the stand this week.

Stay with for complete coverage of Kelley's trial.

In Session's John Alleva contributed to this report.

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