Trial of ex-Oklahoma volunteer deputy ends, jury to get case

AP News
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Posted: Apr 26, 2016 8:57 PM

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The second-degree manslaughter trial of a former Oklahoma volunteer deputy charged with killing an unarmed man is set for closing arguments and jury deliberations starting Wednesday.

Prosecutors and the defense wrapped up their cases Tuesday in the trial of Robert Bates, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge in the April 2015 death of Eric Harris, by offering competing views on Harris' cause of death.

Trauma Dr. Mark Brandenburg testified for the defense that Harris suffered a heart attack caused by elevated adrenaline and a high level of methamphetamine in his system when he was shot.

Brandenburg said the medical examiner's opinion that Harris Bled to death is "absolutely untrue."

Cardiologist James Higgins also testified that the gunshot did not cause Harris' death, saying the bullet didn't hit the conduction system of Harris' heart so it had no effect on its electrical function.

Emergency room Dr. Gajal Kumar testified for the prosecution and maintained the medical examiner's opinion that Harris died as a result of blood loss from the gunshot wound was correct.

Kumar said she performed a medical procedure on Harris when he arrived at St. John Medical Center, "but at that point he'd lost too much blood to do anything about it."

And Dr. R. Douglas Ensley, a cardiologist, said he reviewed Harris' medical records and found that Harris' heart was described as "flat" or "flaccid" and said that is not typical for a person who is dying from a heart attack.

Bates, who has said he mistook his gun for his stun gun when he shot Harris, said in court he would not testify and, in response to a question from Judge William Musseman, said he is satisfied with his attorneys.

"Absolutely, I'm tickled to death," Bates said.

The jury is to return Wednesday morning and hear closing arguments before beginning deliberations.