Was 17-month-old Ella Vanleeuwen's death a homicide or accident? Lawyers for both sides in the Megan Martzen trial grilled a forensic pathologist for an answer and explanation. Michael Chambliss took the stand. He said, “Those injuries are still unexplained, so they stay in the category of a homicide, unexplained."
But the defense was quick to try and challenge Chambliss' claim and reminded him of his testimony four years ago. Back in April 2009, Chambliss said he believed Ella's death was accidental. He took that statement back, Wednesday.
Chambliss examined injuries to Ella's chest, ribs, abdomen and head. The 17-month-old girl died in 2009 while in the care of Martzen. Prosecutors are accusing her of beating and killing Ella.
The defense claims Ella accidentally fell off a bed. They say evidence shows a number of prior injuries, including the fall led to Ella's death.
The pathologist suggested a sitting child cannot receive fatal injuries from falling off a bed onto padded carpeting. Chambliss said he also couldn't explain the serious bruises in the back of Ella's head and they appeared older than the ones Martzen claims Ella received from falling off a bed. Chambliss also said he didn't have anything to indicate a weapon was used on Ella.
Martzen remains free after posting $2 million bail.