ALL NEWS

Chauvin won’t testify at murder trial in Floyd’s death

Apr 15, 2021, 8:40 AM
In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, defendant, former Minneapolis police ...
In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, defendant, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, right, listen, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over motions in the trial of Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV, via AP, Pool)
(Court TV, via AP, Pool)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The defense at the murder trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd rested its case Thursday without putting Chauvin on the stand, wrapping up after two days of testimony to the prosecution’s two weeks.

Chauvin informed the court that he will not testify, saying he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to take the stand.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — George Floyd died of a sudden heart rhythm disturbance as a result of his heart disease, a forensic pathologist testified for the defense at former Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, contradicting prosecution experts who said Floyd succumbed to a lack of oxygen from the way he was pinned down.

Dr. David Fowler, a former Maryland chief medical examiner who is now with a consulting firm, said Wednesday the fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system, and possibly carbon monoxide poisoning from auto exhaust, were contributing factors in the 46-year-old Black man’s death last May.

“All of those combined to cause Mr. Floyd’s death,” he said on the second day of the defense case.

Fowler also testified that he would classify the manner of death “undetermined,” rather than homicide, as the county’s chief medical examiner ruled. He said Floyd’s death had too many conflicting factors, some of which could be ruled homicide and some that could be considered accidental.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson is trying to prove that the 19-year Minneapolis police veteran did what he was trained to do and that Floyd died because of his illegal drug use and underlying health problems.

Prosecutors say Floyd died because the white officer’s knee was pressed against Floyd’s neck or neck area for 9 1/2 minutes as he lay on the pavement on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind him and his face jammed against the ground.

Fowler listed a multitude of factors or potential ones: Floyd’s narrowed arteries, his enlarged heart, his high blood pressure, his drug use, the stress of his restraint, the vehicle exhaust, and a tumor or growth in his lower abdomen that can sometimes play a role in high blood pressure by releasing “fight-or-flight” hormones.

Fowler said all of those factors could have acted together to cause Floyd’s heart to work harder, suffer an arrhythmia, or abnormal rhythm, and suddenly stop.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell launched an aggressive cross-examination, attacking Fowler’s findings down the line. He got Fowler to acknowledge that even someone who dies from being deprived of oxygen ultimately dies of an arrhythmia.

He also got Fowler to admit that he didn’t take the weight of Chauvin’s gear into account when he analyzed the pressure on Floyd’s body. Blackwell further accused Fowler of jumping to conclusions and suggesting to the jury that Floyd had a white pill in his mouth in the video of his arrest. Fowler denied saying that.

Blackwell also attacked Fowler’s testimony about carbon monoxide, which displaces oxygen in the bloodstream.

In his original testimony, Fowler said carbon monoxide could have contributed to oxygen depletion in Floyd, noting that he was facing the tailpipe end of a squad car. But Floyd’s blood was never tested for carbon monoxide.

“You haven’t seen any data or test results that showed Mr. Floyd had a single injury from carbon monoxide. Is that true?” Blackwell asked.

“That is correct, because it was never sent,” Fowler said.

Blackwell also noted that the squad car was a gas-electric hybrid and that Fowler had no data on how much carbon monoxide was actually released. And he suggested that the witness assumed the engine was running at the time. Fowler said he believed it was.

The prosecutor also got Fowler to agree that it would take four minutes to cause irreversible brain damage if the brain is starved of oxygen, and that insufficient oxygen can cause the heart to stop.

“And if a person dies as a result of low oxygen, that person is also going to die ultimately of a fatal arrhythmia, right?” Blackwell asked.

Fowler responded: “Correct. Every one of us in this room will have a fatal arrhythmia at some point.”

Fowler further agreed that Floyd should have been given immediate attention when he went into cardiac arrest because there still was a chance to save him at that point.

A number of medical experts called by prosecutors have said Floyd died from a lack of oxygen because his breathing was constricted by the way he was held down. A cardiology expert rejected the notion that Floyd died of heart problems, saying all indications were that he had “an exceptionally strong heart.”

But Fowler said that Chauvin’s knee on Floyd was “nowhere close to his airway” and that Floyd’s speaking and groaning showed that his airway was still open. He also testified that Chauvin’s knee was not applied with enough pressure to cause any bruises or scrapes on Floyd’s neck or back.

And he said that Floyd did not complain of vision changes or other symptoms consistent with hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen to the brain, and that he was coherent until shortly before he suddenly stopped moving.

“The bottom line is, moving air in and out, and speaking and making noise is very good evidence that the airway was not closed,” Fowler said.

Blackwell ended his cross-examination by getting two questions before the jury: Whether Chauvin’s actions played a role in Floyd’s death, or whether Floyd’s death was coincidental and unrelated. But the defense objected, and Fowler was not permitted to answer.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death after his arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 at a neighborhood market. The video of Floyd gasping that he couldn’t breathe as bystanders yelled at Chauvin to get off him triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious examination of racism and policing in the U.S.

The defense hasn’t said whether Chauvin will take the stand.

___

Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd

___

Webber reported from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press video journalist Angie Wang contributed from Atlanta.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

House Bill...
HUGO RIKARD-BELL

Bill permitting pregnant people to use HOV lane passes House

A bill allowing pregnant women to use the HOV lane has passed the House. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
9 hours ago
KAHRAMANMARAS, TURKIYE - FEBRUARY 6: A view of the destroyed building after 7.4 magnitude earthquak...
Rhea Mogul, Gul Tuysuz, Isil Sariyuce, Kareem El Damanhoury and Rob Picheta, CNN

More than 1,500 dead as powerful quake hits southern Turkey and Syria

One of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in a century shook residents from their beds at around 4 a.m. on Monday, sending tremors as far away as Lebanon and Israel.
9 hours ago
This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk and Southern freight train that derailed ...
Hannah Sarisohn, CNN

Evacuations ordered amid fears of an explosion as an Ohio train continues burning days after derailment

Residents near the site of a train derailment that sparked a massive fire in East Palestine, Ohio, were urged to evacuate immediately Sunday night.
9 hours ago
GOSHEN, CA - JANUARY 16: Tulare County Sheriff crime unit investigates the scene where six people, ...
Cheri Mossburg, CNN

2 arrested in central California shooting that left 6 dead, including mother clutching 10-month-old son

Originally Published: 03 FEB 23 16:30 ET Updated: 05 FEB 23 22:44 ET     (CNN) — Two suspects were taken into custody, one after a shootout, in a “cartel-style” massacre last month that left six people dead in central California, including a young mother and her 10-month-old son, authorities announced Friday. The suspects, identified in charging […]
9 hours ago
A woman wearing white sitting in front of a light box...
Michelle Lee

Winter blues: light therapy and lifestyle changes can help

SALT LAKE CITY – With the chilly weather and the shorter days, many people are prone to experience the winter blues. In the latest Let’s Get Moving with Maria podcast episode, host Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Jason Hunziker from the Huntsman Mental Health Institute about ways people can overcome the winter blues. Seasonal depression […]
1 day ago
little cottonwood canyon pictured, avalanche risk there is high...
Devin Oldroyd

Backcountry skier dead after fatal fall in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A backcountry skier is dead after "tumbling a significant distance," according to the Unified Police Department. The incident occurred near Lisa Falls.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Chauvin won’t testify at murder trial in Floyd’s death