Neal and sons, Ian, 3, and Devon, 7
Coroner depicts violent sword slaying in 2007 Rowland Heights murder
A county coroner's medical examiner detailed the brutal slaying of Neal Williams in court Thursday. Williams was slashed and stabbed 92 times with a Samurai sword.
Manling Williams admitted to killing her husband, Neal, with the sword in their home on Aug. 7, 2007. She also smothered her children Devon, 7, and Ian, 3, with a pillow that night. She faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.
Manling Williams' attorney acknowledged in court during opening statements that the 30-year-old woman killed her family, but denied she planned the slayings.
Deputy medical examiner Dr. Vadims Poukens said Neal Williams lost the tips of two fingers on his right hand and broke several fingers while defending himself. He had 22 wounds on his hands, Poukens said.
Neal Williams also suffered a fatal wound when he was stabbed through the heart, damaging his right ventricle and his aorta, which takes blood to the brain, Poukens said.
"He would die within 10 minutes,'' Poukens said.
Both of Williams' lungs were punctured and filled with blood - as much as 500 cubic centimeters in the right lung and 200 in the left, the medical examiner said.
He also suffered a "through and through'' wound from his back through his neck and thyroid gland, Poukens said.
One of the other most damaging stab wounds went through his small intestine, he said.
A "chop'' wound was also apparent on the back of Neal Williams' neck where the sword strike was able to fracture the skull and cause bleeding in the brain, according to testimony.
The other wounds were classified as "incisive'' wounds whose cuts across the skin are longer than the depth of the wound, Poukens said. The most apparent was one that spanned across Neal Williams' chest from end to end, according to testimony.
Two toxicology experts also testified Thursday.
The first testified that Neal Williams had not taken any drugs on the night of the slayings.
County criminalist Mark Schuchardt said Neal Williams had a small amount of alcohol - about 0.02 percent - in his system, but not enough for an official "positive'' result.
Manling Williams, in her confession, said her husband had passed out drunk on the night of the killings.
A small amount of alcohol was found in both his blood and urine, but Schuchardt said it was either from fermentation of fluids or because Neal Williams had drank that night, but was close to being completely sober by the time he died.
Also on Thursday, a second juror was excused for health reasons. The jury has eight alternates, and two will be substituted before deliberations to fill vacancies.
There will be no testimony Friday and the trial will reconvene Monday when the prosecution will call its remaining witness before resting its case.