Prosecution, defense rests in Tyshawn Lee murder trial
Cook County prosecutors called the medical examiner as their final witness and the defense rested without calling any witnesses. Closing arguments are expected Thursday.
Her voice flat and her expression deadpan, Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar offered a chilling picture Wednesday of the last seconds of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee’s life.
The final witness called by prosecutors in the trial of two men charged with the fourth-grader’s 2015 murder, Arunkumar stood beside a courtroom monitor showing autopsy photos, drawing jurors attention to one that showed the boy’s left hand posed beside wounds on the right side of his head. The thumb was nearly severed by a bullet, and fragments of the shell cut his face. Tiny powder burns on Tyshawn’s hand indicated he was shot at close range.
“One explanation [for the fragment wounds] could be the bullet went through the thumb and there was fragmentation of the bullet,” Arunkumar said, suggesting that the boy had thrown up his hands in a futile attempt to protect himself as he was shot. Tyshawn also was shot twice in the right hand.
Jurors had seen glimpses of Tyshawn over 12 days of testimony: a school portrait, a photo of the boy smiling in his school uniform and backpack; his body slumped in an alley across from a South Side park where he’d been shot. Wednesday, they showed little reaction as Arunkumar cataloged the boy’s wounds: A gunshot wound to the right temple that passed through his brain and out the left side of his skull; a superficial wound to his forearm; a graze wound across his upper back. Police found seven .40-caliber shell casings at the scene.
Prosecutors made the case over the last three weeks that Tyshawn was lured from the playground into an alleyway near his grandmother’s house, where alleged gunman Dwright Boone-Doty shot the boy in retaliation for a shooting a few weeks earlier that had killed a brother of Boone-Doty’s co-defendant, Corey Morgan, and also wounded Morgan’s mother.
The defense teams for both Boone-Doty and Morgan also rested Wednesday, calling no witnesses. Closing arguments are expected to begin Thursday morning.