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11 a.m.: Closing arguments to begin next week
The attorney for Derek Chauvin concluded his presentation in defense of the ex-officer this morning. Earlier this morning, Chauvin declined to testify in his murder trial.
Prosecutors then recalled an expert from whom the jury earlier heard. Dr. Martin Tobin, an expert in pulmonary and critical care medicine, was brought back to counter arguments presented by the defense and was the final witness in the trial to testify.
The Loyola University professor disagreed Thursday morning, April 15, that carbon monoxide exposure played a role in George Floyd's death. Tests taken of Floyd's blood after he died showed oxygen saturation levels of 98% which, according to Tobin, is "normal."
He confirmed to prosecutor Jerry Blackwell that the test meant only 2% of Floyd's blood contained carbon monoxide at the most, which he said would also be normal. A day earlier, retired Maryland medical examiner Dr. David Fowler said during his testimony as an expert witness for the defense that carbon monoxide exposure could have factored into Floyd's death, which he attributed to the sudden failure of his heart.
That was because Floyd was being held to the ground near a running police vehicle in the moments leading up to his death, according to Fowler, who later agreed with Blackwell on Wednesday, April 14 that no signs of carbon monoxide poisoning were uncovered by Floyd's autopsy.
Tobin also told Blackwell that applying pressure to the neck can constrict the hypopharynx. Prosecutors have argued that by kneeling on Floyd's neck the night of May 25, 2020, Chauvin fatally asphyxiated him.
Blackwell on Wednesday asked Fowler if "pressure on the soft side of the neck also narrows the side of the upper airway, the hypopharynx," but the doctor said he had "not seen any literature that indicates that that happens."
Tobin testified for a second time in a limited capacity and was dismissed shortly before 11 a.m. He faced few questions under cross-examination from the defense.
Following his dismissal, Judge Peter Cahill told jurors that closing arguments in the trial would begin Monday, April 18.
9:30 a.m.: Chauvin takes Fifth
Derek Chauvin will not testify in his murder trial. The ex-Minneapolis Police Department officer invoked his Fifth Amendment right moments ago.
"I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today," Chauvin told Judge Peter Cahill.
Chauvin, who is accused of murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd, spoke only briefly, answering a series of questions from his attorney, Eric Nelson. Nelson asked Chauvin to confirm that he had been counseled on his constitutional right against self-incrimination and that he understood the decision about whether to invoke it was his alone to make.
The judge asked Chauvin to confirm as much to him. The question of whether he would testify in the trial has been the subject of much media speculation.
8:15 a.m.: Witness testimony meant for Wednesday expected today
A witness who Derek Chauvin's defense attorney intended to call upon yesterday is expected to testify this morning.
Jurors will hear from the witness a day after Dr. David Fowler, the former chief medical examiner for the state of Maryland, testified as an outside expert for the defense. Fowler shared conclusions on George Floyd's death that differed somewhat from those of other experts heard from in the trial.
Fowler was the only witness on the stand Wednesday.
Court is scheduled to resume at 9:15 a.m. today, Thursday, April 15.