Victim had alcohol level five times legal limit

By Vicky Wedig

Staff Writer

A planned four-day homicide trial of an East Troy man continued Tuesday with testimony from police officers and medical examiner’s staff.

Tyler Odell, 23, is on trial for first-degree reckless homicide as a party to a crime in the Jan. 2, 2017, death of David Bauspies at Odell’s East Troy apartment.

Robert M. Sterling, 32, of McHenry, Ill., who is believed to have pulled the trigger in the shooting death of Bauspies, pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and is serving 15 years in prison.

On the second day of Odell’s trial Tuesday, the jury of 13 women and one man heard from witnesses including Village of East Troy Police Officer Jeff Price, Chief Jeremy Swendrowski, medical examiner’s office investigator Gina Carver and associate medical examiner Zelda Okia. Sterling was expected to testify Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning or both.

Price was the second police officer to arrive at the scene of the shooting at 2090 Emery Court after officer Aaron Hackett, who testified Monday. Price was in charge of containing Sterling, who was the only person in the apartment where the shooting occurred besides Bauspies when police arrived, while Hackett secured the scene and assessed Bauspies’ condition.

He said Sterling was covered in blood, smelled like alcohol and was crying uncontrollably.

“He was hysterical,” Price said.

He said Sterling was difficult to understand because of his emotional state but he said, “They all left. That’s my best friend.”

Price said police ascertained “they” referred to Odell and Richard Pryor, who had been in the apartment when Bauspies was shot.

District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld asked Price whether Sterling made any statements about what had occurred in the apartment.

Price said Sterling indicated Bauspies’ gunshot wound was not self-inflicted and identified Odell as the shooter. Sterling told police the men were playing Russian roulette, Price said.

Price took Sterling to the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office to be interviewed while Swendrowski took Odell to be interviewed separately, the officers testified. Price also assisted in interviewing Pryor, he said.

During the interviews, photographs of all three men were taken including close-up shots of their hands, faces, clothing and shoes. The photos were shown to the jury Tuesday.

Price pointed out dried blood on Sterling’s hands, under his fingernails and in his cuticles, on the thigh of his pants leg, back pocket of his jeans and on the soles of his shoes.

Swendrowski pointed out a small amount of blood on Odell’s left boot, and no blood was visible on Pryor.

Price said despite life-saving measures he saw Hackett performing on Bauspies, Bauspies injury was clearly fatal, and the medical examiner’s office was summoned.

Gina Carver, who testified Monday, came to the scene as the lead investigator for the medical examiner’s office. She pronounced Bauspies dead at 1:09 p.m. – 42 minutes after the 911 call came in.

Bauspies’ body was taken to the medical examiner’s office where Zelda Okia performed an autopsy that began at 3:12 p.m.

Okia testified that Bauspies’ death resulted from a gunshot that entered his left nostril and exited the right side of the back of his head. She said “stippling” – tiny dots of gun powder – was present around the entrance wound, which typically occurs when a gun is held 12 inches to 20 or 30 inches away when it’s fired.

Okia said the autopsy showed the bullet travelled through Bauspies’ midbrain, which is part of the brain stem and controls respiratory factors, then through his cerebellum before exiting his skull. She said injury to the midbrain results in rapid death and is unsurvivable.

The bullet traveled from left to right and upward from the entrance to the exit, Okia testified.

An analysis of Baupsies’ blood and urine was also done during the autopsy. Toxicology results showed Bauspies blood contained .385 grams per 100 milliliters of alcohol, and his urine contained .477 grams per 100 milliliters, Okia testified.

Wiedenfeld pointed out the legal alcohol limit to drive is .08 grams per 100 milliliters. Baupsies’ blood contained nearly five times the legal limit.

Okia said the higher level in his urine indicates his body was metabolizing the alcohol.

Bauspies’ urine also tested positive for the presence of cocaine, but Okia said she was not able to obtain enough blood from Bauspies to test for both alcohol and drugs.

Odell’s defense attorney, Stephen Govin, referred to a section in Carver’s investigation report that obtained Bauspies’ social history from his family. In the report, Bauspies’ parents said he smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol all the time. Govin asked Okia whether developing a tolerance for alcohol would allow Bauspies to better function at a higher alcohol level than less frequent drinkers.

Okia said a person with a tolerance to alcohol would exhibit less overt signs of intoxication but would have the same physiological effects.


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