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Forensic Pathologist Testifies Kayla Dunlap Died from Drug Toxicity in Shaun Long Trial

Thursday, January 16, 2020 @ 12:01 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

gavel-2a-1-Shaun-LongVENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – A forensic pathologist testified that Kayla Dunlap died from drug toxicity during Day Three (Wednesday) of the Shaun Long trial.

Shaun Long accused in Kayla Dunlap’s death remained stoic through Wednesday afternoon as the defense questioned two witnesses.

Long chose not to take the stand.

The third day of the trial opened again with additional testimony from Corporal Christopher Balcik, the lead investigator on the case.

The defense questioned Balcik on O’Day’s interview on October 3, during which Balcik reported O’Day stated Dunlap was given five “bags” of fentanyl at Long’s residence. Balcik testified that O’Day initially reported she told Dunlap to only use one bag because of the strength of the drugs. He testified that O’Day then stated Dunlap “didn’t listen” and used two bags.

According to Balcik’s testimony, O’Day also initially reported that she took the remaining bags from Dunlap after her overdose.

The remainder of Balcik’s testimony was in regards to a report on the messages found on O’Day’s phone after it was seized by police.

The messages included a message asking “do you want the whole bun” and message in return stating the individual wanted “to buy at least a cpl,” which Balcik said he believed referred to a couple of bags. He testified the messages led police to believe O’Day met the individual and completed a drug transaction on August 29.

Further messages included mention of “bags” and referring to “brown” or “white,” as well as amounts of money, which Balcik said, again, led police to believe O’Day was involved in drug transactions.

One specific message, from August 20, 2017, also stated: “My friend Kayla fell out the other day.”

During the questioning, Balcik was asked if police found any evidence of the bed sheet that O’Day claimed had been in the vehicle with Dunlap’s body and had then been burned outside the trailer. Balcik said state police found no evidence of a burned bed sheet.

Under cross examination by the prosecution, additional text messages from O’Day’s phone were read, including one from Long stating: “Keep your paws off my ice” and another from Long that stated he “made three bricks for a guy,” and had left “a bun for us.”

Forensic Pathologist Testifies

The second and final witness for the defense was Dr. Todd Luckasevic, a forensic pathologist with the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, who also takes on legal reviews, expert reports, and private autopsies.

Luckasevic was asked to review the autopsy report from Dr. Rozin, as well as the toxicology report.

Luckasevic disagreed with some of Rozin’s findings, specifically with the particular drugs listed as causing Dunlap’s death. While Rozin concluded Dunlap died as a result of combined fentanyl and amphetamine toxicity, Luckasevic testified that he concluded Dunlap died as a result of combined fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, and methamphetamine toxicity.

During his testimony, Luckasevic went over the toxicology report and noted the different substances and levels found in Dunlap’s blood sample and explained that in this case, the amphetamine found was a metabolite, or a secondary substance that was broken down from the “parent substance,” which was, in this case, methamphetamine.

He went on to testify that the level of fentanyl was 25 times the accepted lethal dose, and the level of methamphetamine was three times the accepted lethal dose.

The defense called Dr. Rozin’s testimony into question, asking Luckasevic about where he found the information on the accepted lethal dose of methamphetamine, since Rozin testified that he was unable to find information on a lethal dosage. Luckasevic reported he found the information in a book commonly used by forensic pathologists.

Luckasevic also testified that even if the fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl had not been present, Dunlap still would not have survived due to the lethal level of methamphetamine. However, he also agreed to the reverse, noting the levels of fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl would have been lethal without the methamphetamine.

On cross examination, Luckasevic agreed that while his and Rozin’s findings differed in the specific drugs named in the cause of death, the essential findings, that Dunlap died due to combined drug toxicity, were essentially the same. He also testified that the fentanyl was a substantial factor in her death, that would have led to death regardless of the other drugs in her system.

District Attorney Shawn White gave Luckasevic a description of what happened to Dunlap, from the prior testimony, and asked if it sounded more like an opiate overdose or an overdose on an “upper” like methamphetamine, and Luckasevic stated it sounded more like an opiate overdose.

Following Luckasevic’s testimony, the defense rested its case.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 16, with the closing statements.

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