Medical examiner says cop’s son went into ‘shock,’ bled out after being shot
A Mercer County medical examiner testified Thursday that a slain city cop’s son was healthy and his body went into shock after he was shot by a city man outside a Trenton home in February 2013.
James Austin, 18, the son of retired Trenton cop Luddie Austin, was shot once in the chest Feb. 26, 2013, outside his girlfriend’s East State Street home, following a fight with another man, Raheem Currie.
Currie and his cousin, Robert Bartley, returned to the home with two others minutes after Currie and Austin smashed each other’s car windshields.
Bartley admitted fatally shooting Austin, in pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter, and is expected to testify this afternoon.
Currie is on trial, accused of conspiring with his cousin to retaliate against Austin, which ended in his death.
Prosecutors called ballistics and medical experts to testify this morning. The ballistics experts examined a .32-caliber handgun and a shell casing recovered at the murder scene and concluded it was came from the handgun used to kill Austin.Forensic pathologist Raafat Ahmad took the stand afterward and described how she performed an autopsy on Austin. She examined his body, the bullet hole in his chest, and determined his manner of death was homicide.
Jurors were shown photos of Austin, laying face-up on a gurney inside the medical examiner’s office. A victim advocate warned family members before the gruesome, graphic photos were put up on an overhead projector.
After removing his shirt, which had a bullet hole and drops of blood, and opening up his chest cavity during an internal examination, Ahmad found Austin’s left lung had collapsed after it was pierced by a bullet that never left his body.
About three-fifths of his blood was inside his chest, causing massive internal hemorrhaging that forced Austin’s body into “irreversible shock,” Ahmad said. He lost so much blood that the his organs were pale and shut down, the medical examiner testified.
Austin was rushed to the hospital, into emergency surgery, but doctors could not save him. He lived less than a half-hour after being shot by Bartley.
Ahmad said Austin was healthy, other than the fatal gunshot that cost him his life.
“Was there any way that James Austin could have survived these injuries?” Assistant Prosecutor James Scott asked.
Ahmad said that Austin did not stand a chance.
Andrew Ferencevych, Currie’s attorney, questioned the doctor about her autopsy report, toxicology reports and Austin’s tattoos.
Luddie Austin, James’ father, rubbed his forehead and kept his eyes downcast as Currie’s attorney asked about his son’s tattoos but didn’t seem to tie it into the murder conspiracy case against his client.
Austin’s mother, Yvonne Maxwell, rubbed Luddie’s shoulder, in a consoling manner.
Ferencevych turned his focus to the toxicology results, questioning the doctor about what they showed.
“He had a slight amount of marijuana in his system,” Ahmad said, raising her voice. “But it didn’t cause his death.”