A Spokane man died last May of a single knife wound to the neck, a forensic pathologist testified Wednesday.
Dr. George Lindholm said David Miller, 47, had no other wounds that indicated he was involved in a struggle with his attacker.
Prosecutors say Miller was murdered by his roommate and lover, Brian Grimm.
The convenience store clerk is on trial in Spokane County Superior Court for second-degree murder. If convicted, he faces at least 12 years in prison.
Lindholm’s testimony may prove to be significant, since the 32-year-old Grimm says he killed in self-defense after Miller attacked him with a kitchen knife in their 1303 W. Wabash home. No one else witnessed the May 20 stabbing.
Lindholm told jurors Miller died from a downward thrust of a knife that started at the right edge of Miller’s chin and entered his neck.
It sliced the carotid artery, causing death within several minutes. Police found his body about two blocks from his home, face down on the sidewalk.
The autopsy Lindholm performed showed no other clear signs of knife attacks to “target areas” - such as the chest and neck, Lindholm said in reply to a question from defense attorney Maryann Moreno.
Lindholm insisted that his autopsy report neither supports nor refutes the prosecution claim that Grimm angrily attacked Miller with the knife and meant to kill him.
The witness testified that Miller’s palms had no “defensive cuts” - marks indicating he had fought off a knife-wielding attacker.
Lindholm said Miller died with a blood-alcohol level of .18 percent - nearly twice what Washington considers drunken driving.
Grimm was also intoxicated at the time, Moreno said in her opening statement Monday. She indicated the roommates consumed a case of beer before an argument between them turned deadly.
The defendant is expected to testify this afternoon in Spokane County Superior Court.