The prosecution on Monday wrapped up its case against alleged Motel 6 strangler Tracey Raynard Bradley with testimony from a well-known longtime forensic pathologist.
Dr. Isidore Mihalakis -- who performed the autopsy on homicide victim Lee Choppin -- told jurors the man suffered injuries indicative of being asphyxiated, including a 4-inch-long abrasion on his neck and a broken bone near his Adam's apple.
Choppin also suffered other bruising and abrasions all over his body, including the inside of his lips, his tongue, his temple, the bridge of his nose and his left hand and forearm, Mihalakis testified.
Some of those injuries can be interpreted as defensive wounds, the Allentown-based pathologist told jurors.
Choppin, 72, was found dead in his motel room on May 26, 2010, but former Northern York County Regional Police Detective Sgt. David Steffen told jurors on Monday that he was able to narrow time of death to between 7:43 a.m. and 7:52 a.m. May 24, 2010.
Time of death: Steffen, now chief of Northern Lancaster County Regional Police, said to determine time of death, he used records of electronic key card entries to the motel room, a receipt the victim had from McDonald's that morning, and a phone call requesting no service for the room.
That call came from Bradley's cell phone, police said, although Bradley denies making it.
Choppin, of Roanoke, Va., formerly lived in the York area, did a bit of traveling and was in York County for surgery, police said.
After the prosecution rested its case, defense attorney Kevin Hoffman called his first witness to the stand -- Dr. Jonathan Briskin of Bryn Mawr, also a forensic pathologist.
Briskin was expected to tell jurors he can't rule out the possibility Choppin died of natural causes.
Craver case: Briskin also testified for the defense in the murder trial of Michael and Nanette Craver, the former Fairview Township couple accused of murdering their Russian-born adoptive son, Nathaniel.
A jury acquitted the Cravers of murder, instead finding them guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 7-year-old's death. They were released after the verdict after spending 567 days in county prison.
Nathaniel died at Hershey Medical Center on Aug. 25, 2009, after being removed from life support. He suffered more than 80 external injuries and died of complications due to traumatic brain injury, police said.
In that trial, Briskin testified there was no way to say with medical certainty whether the Cravers caused Nathaniel's injuries, whether the boy injured himself or whether the injuries were accidental.
The Cravers maintain Nathaniel was a very ill boy who suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and other issues that caused him to frequently injure himself, both accidentally and deliberately.
Bradley's background: Bradley, 48, who was homeless at the time of Choppin's death, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery and related offenses for the incident at the 323 Arsenal Road motel in Manchester Township.
He's accused of strangling Choppin inside the victim's motel room while robbing him.
Also on Monday morning, jurors finished listening to Bradley's three-hour videotaped police confession.
On the videotape, Bradley admits to stealing and using Choppin's credit card after knocking him out by using a "sleeper hold."
"Honestly, I didn't mean to kill this dude," Bradley said on tape.
Bradley told investigators he felt forced into committing the robbery because his family had no money and had been evicted from their apartment by York City officials due to its uninhabitable conditions. Bradley's children are adults.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.