Friday, May 24, 2013
Medical Examiner: Bonnie Craig Was Murdered
Dr. Norman Thompson testified that the young college student had lacerations on her head, including one to the base of her skull, which he says was likely the deadly blow.
ANCHORAGE—The state called to the stand today its first expert witness, Dr. Norman Thompson, who performed the autopsy on Bonnie Craig’s body in late September of 1994.
Thompson said Craig had suffered 11 lacerations on her head and defensive wounds on her hands—all caused by blows from “a metal bar like an iron bar of the size of a jack handle or tire iron,” he said.
Because Craig’s death was suspicious, Thompson said he also conducted a sexual exam and found another laceration on her vagina.
Thompson said Craig’s cause of death was “multiple blunt impact injuries to her head and as a consequence sustained brain injuries.”
Craig’s manner of death was homicide, he said.
“I could think of no other explanation for this pattern of injuries than to assume they'd been inflicted by another person,” Thompson said.
According to the state, that person is former Fort Richardson soldier Kenneth Dion, who says Craig had consensual sex with him, then died of an accidental fall, which the forensic pathologist said is unlikely.
“If somebody were falling off that cliff and impacted that cliff and sustained a laceration my expectation would be that the body would rotate away from the cliff and if that were the case then I would expect a distribution of those injuries over other parts of the body,” Thompson said.
But the defense pointed out during cross-examination: there is no blood spatter evidence at McHugh Creek that Bonnie had been struck repeatedly on the head.
For Craig’s mother and younger sister, the autopsy photos and testimony are simply more painful reminders of a loved one’s sudden and violent death nearly 17 years ago.