Thursday, January 17, 2013

Was pathologist joking or challenging?

Assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz seems to have a unique sense of humor that didn't go over well in court recently. Testifying on the witness stand, he appeared to almost want to physically challenge assistant Macomb prosecutor Bill Cataldo.
Diaz and Cataldo discussed the potential of a killer, such as quadruple murder defendant James Brown, to manually strangle or suffocate his alleged victims, during a Jan. 9 hearing in 41A District Court in Sterling Heights. Diaz twice referred to Cataldo’s “slight” build in depicting hypothetical scenarios.
“Mr. Cataldo is of a slight build. I think I could take him. (a slight pause) Maybe not. Maybe he’s a martial artist,” Diaz matter-of-factly told defense attorney Jeffrey Cojocar, moments after Cataldo completed his questioning.
Cataldo didn’t react and may not have even heard the commentary. He was busy talking to colleague Therese Tobin.
Diaz, a stocky man, probably was joking. But he wasn’t smiling. I couldn't tell if Cataldo irked him in some way. Or perhaps that’s the sense of humor of a veteran forensic pathologist who has performed 6,000 autopsies.


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