Pathologist testifies in Wilkinson murder trial

CORTLAND, N.Y. — Jurors in a Cortland murder trial heard testimony Tuesday from a forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on the body of Terry Walker, the man who was allegedly bludgeoned and stabbed to death by Randy Wilkinson.

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Dr. James Tursi, a self-employed pathologist based in Binghamton, took the stand Tuesday in Cortland County Court, at times going into great detail to describe the gruesome injuries inflicted on Walker.

Randy Wilkinson (Photo: City of Cortland Police Department)

Randy Wilkinson (Photo: City of Cortland Police Department)

Wilkinson is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Walker’s death at the Northcliffe Apartments in Cortland on Dec. 20, 2014.

According to court documents and police reports, the two men got into an argument over drugs at Wilkinson’s apartment. The fight escalated, and Wilkinson grabbed a cutting board to bludgeon Walker over the head before fatally stabbing him with a knife.

Cortland County District Attorney Mark Suben showed Tursi photographs of Walker’s body and asked him to describe the injuries. Tursi was then asked to put on latex gloves and closely examine a crucial piece of evidence in the case—a thick, wooden cutting board that Wilkinson allegedly used to strike Walker in the head.

“Being struck with this would produce the injuries we saw in that photograph,” Tursi said.

He also examined the knife that prosecutors say was used to fatally stab Walker in the heart. Tursi said Walker’s stab wound injury would have been “rather difficult” to inflict without a sharp, pointed metal object to break through the breast bone.

“This was a fatal wound,” he said. “It would have been fatal within 1 or 2 minutes after being afflicted.”

Kristin Snyder, chief assistant public defender, asked if it would be possible for Walker to become “aggressive” and throw punches after being stabbed. Tursi said it was unlikely “but it’s not impossible.”

Wilkinson’s attorneys argue that their client acted in self-defense out of fear for his own life.

The prosecution declined to call another witness to testify Wednesday morning. The defense will now have the opportunity to call witnesses to take to the stand.

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