The homicide detective who investigated the death of former adult film actress Felicia Lee said in court Tuesday that injuries on Lee's arms and legs appeared to be defensive wounds, but a judge ruled that that information could not be presented to the jury.
Outside the presence of the jury in the trial of Brian Lee Randone, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Detective Brian Schoonmaker told Superior Court Judge Dorothy Shubin that the wounds on Lee's forearms, elbows, hands, shins, knees and feet showed signs that she was trying to defend herself.
Schoonmaker said it appeared from the wounds that Lee was trying to cover her face and torso with her appendages to protect herself.
Mark Overland, one of Randone's attorneys, argued that Schoonmaker did not have the expertise to back up his statements and said would have been the appropriate person to testify about the nature of the wounds.
"The pathologist was not asked those questions precisely because he couldn't tell whether they were defensive wounds or not," Overland said.
Shubin ruled that Schoonmaker could not testify about the wounds being defensive because prosecutor Philip Wojdak had not established that Schoonmaker was an expert in identifying such wounds. She left open the possibility, however, that the detective could testify about the topic in the future if the court was presented with evidence showing his expertise.
Randone is charged with murder and torture for allegedly beating Lee and smothering her to death inside his Monrovia apartment in 2009. A medical examiner , but Randone's attorneys have and that the wounds on her body came from a drug-induced seizure.
Schoonmaker later took the stand after the jury was brought in and pointed out wounds throughout Lee's body in photographs that Wojdak had displayed on a projector screen. Lee had 320 separate blunt force trauma wounds on her body at the time she died, Wojdak has said.
"The number of injuries was extensive, even in my experience," Schoonmaker said, noting that he only counted the scratches and abrasions on Lee's body, not the myriad bruises on her limbs, torso and face. "I just didn't even count the bruises."
Schoonmaker also addressed some scrapes throughout Lee's body that were in the shape of two parallel lines, wounds that the defense has suggested were caused by a broken door frame in the bedroom closet where blood stains were found.
Holding up a piece of the doorframe that was admitted into evidence, Schoonmaker said he compared the frame with the woulds and determined that it could not have caused the injuries.
Wojdak also questioned Schoonmaker about samples of Lee's fingernails that were collected by investigators the day of her death. Schoonmaker said he did not have the fingernails tested for DNA because he would expect Randone's DNA to be under her nails since they lived together.
"I would expect her DNA to be under his fingernails and his DNA to be under her fingernails because they were living together," Schoonmaker said before Shubin sustained Overland's objection and had the answer stricken from the record.
"It was a deliberate decision on my part not to have them tested," Schoonmaker later added.
Wojdak also asked Schoonmaker about a dryer machine that authorities testified was running at the time they responded to Randone's emergency call. Schoonmaker said there was a pillow case in the dryer with stains that appeared to correspond to similar blood stains on a pillow found on Randone's bed.
"At least one of the pillowcases had a stain on it in the exact same location as the pillow," Schoonmaker said.
During his cross examination of Schoonmaker, Overland noted that the detective had never been involved in an investigation where the deceased person tested positive for GHB, which is commonly known as the date rape drug.
The detective will resume his testimony Wednesday morning.