Five witnesses continued testimony at the capital murder trial of Michael Brandon Kelley, 29, of Moody, who is accused of the Nov. 16, 2008, capital murder and sexual torture of the 23-year-old Leeds woman.
Dr. Valerie Green, a pathologist with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, gave expert — and disturbingly graphic — testimony about the injuries revealed in Milling’s autopsy.
Green outlined her findings of the numerous external and internal hemorrhages, bruises and abrasions found on Milling’s head and body.
“There were findings indicative of asphyxia, where the flow of blood and oxygen is cut off to the brain,” she said.
Green testified that great force was applied to Milling’s neck which resulted in fractured cartilage. “I think the injuries were inflicted antemortum, or before death, because of the hemorrhage seen in the area and the presence of bruising around the injuries,” she said.
Green said some of the internal injuries would likely have needed surgical repair, had Milling survived.
Green testified that in her medical opinion, Milling’s injuries were consistent with what might have been caused by an object of the shape and type of the toilet plunger with red-brown stains submitted into evidence.
“I would think they would be extremely painful,” she said. “But I wouldn’t know which one was the most painful.”
Green testified Milling’s cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation and estimated the time of death to be within a two- to three-day period before her body was found.
“It is possible for one individual to do to her what was done,” she said.
Green said she could not testify whether Milling was conscious and aware when she received the injuries, but that the blows to the head and hemorrhaging would not necessarily have caused her to lose consciousness.
Green also testified it was possible the head and face injuries could have been sustained in a fall out of a doorway onto concrete. “The toxicology report showed the presence of Methadone and ethanol (drinking alcohol) in her blood,” she said.
Green testified the level of Methadone in Milling’s blood was in the therapeutic level range as prescribed for pain relief or for heroin addiction and was not in a toxic or lethal category by itself.
“Methadone can be taken orally or injected, but I did not see needle puncture marks (during the autopsy),” she said.
Green testified she could not tell if the Methadone was ingested voluntarily or not.
Torey Williams, with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, testified as an expert in the field of DNA forensics about evidence recovered from Kelley’s vehicle, residence, and the dumpster site in Moody where Milling’s clothing and other items were recovered.
Williams testified that the swabs and evidence all tested presumptive positive for blood (either animal or human blood), but not all samples were analyzed for DNA and matched against samples of DNA from Milling and Kelley.
“There was more than one test done on the toilet plunger,” she said. “I took a swabbing from the handle area (top) and from the handle near the plunger end (bottom). Both were presumptive positive for blood, but no semen, and both matched Emily Milling with DNA testing.”
Williams testified six random samples taken from Kelley’s vehicle and residence and evidence and tested for DNA all matched Milling’s DNA. “The significance of the match is how rare the (DNA) profile is,” she said.
Williams testified Milling’s DNA profile would be found in one in 36 trillion Caucasians and in one in 55 trillion African Americans, and that in 2008 there were approximately 6.5 billion people on earth.
“I can say with a high degree of confidence that Emily Milling, or her identical twin (who would share the same DNA) is the person the DNA came from,” she said.
Sgt. Renee Reaves, a detective with the Leeds Police Department, testified about her involvement in investigating Milling’s missing person case and her contact with Kelley.
London Pearce, a forensic scientist with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, concluded his testimony about processing evidence at four scenes, the location where Milling’s body was found, Kelley’s vehicle, Kelley’s residence, and a dumpster at a Moody business.
Michael Russo, of Moody, testified he sold Kelley the green Chevrolet Blazer Nov. 12, 2008, and about receiving a phone call in reference to that particular Blazer in which the caller informed Russo he could no longer keep the vehicle and told Russo where to get the vehicle and to keep the down payment.
The state rested its case Wednesday afternoon.
The trial is expected to continue at 8:30 a.m. today.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.