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How this murder victim died

Alex Levesque died from blunt force trauma and close head injury, a forensic pathologist told the jury in the trial of Jason Richard Tessier.
Alex Levesque died from blunt force trauma and close head injury, a forensic pathologist told the jury in the trial of Jason Richard Tessier.

Levesque's badly beaten body was found July 29, '02, in a second-floor apartment in a Sturgeon Falls house on Levesque Street.

Tessier, 30, of Sudbury, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

Dr. Nihad Ali-Ridha, a forensic pathologist at the Centre for Forensic Sciences, in Toronto, took the stand at Tessier’s trial Wednesday.

Photos of deceased used in testimony

Ali-Ridha had conducted the autopsy on Levesque’s body and gave the jury his findings.

Photos of the deceased taken during the autopsy were used to illustrate Levesque’s injuries.

Levesque’s cheeks were severely swollen and his nose, eyes, ears, neck and shoulders badly bruised. There were lacerations on the inside of his lips.

The injuries, Ali-Ridha said, “were consistent with blunt force trauma, but I don’t believe an object like a hockey stick, a steel bar or a ruler, was used.”

Skull and nose not broken

When Larsh asked how the injuries might have been inflicted, Ali-Ridha said they could have come from punches and blows to the head, nose and lip, or by Levesque’s head being smashed against a “flat, hard object or surface.”

Ali-Ridha said Levesque’s brain had flattened somewhat, indicative of blunt force trauma.

A neurological pathologist had examined Levesque’s brain as part of the autopsy, Ali-Ridha said.

“He found there had been intraventricular hemorrhaging consistent with cerebral trauma,” Ali-Ridha said.

Brain swells and bleeds

Levesque’s brain had also swelled because of the injuries, and had bled through to its base, Ali-Ridha said

Larsh asked him whether the bleeding and swelling in Levesque’s brain could have led to his death.

“When blood continues to accumulate in the brain cavity it increases the inter-cranial pressure, and the constant pressure affects the brain mechanism,” Ali-Ridha said.

“This affects the brain’s ability to control vital organs such as the heart and respiratory system.”

Official cause of death

Ali-Ridha’s autopsy resulted in two major findings, he said: evidence of blunt force trauma with soft tissue haematoma to the head and neck, torso and upper lips; and close head injury with bleeding at the base of and within the brain.

The official cause of death,” Ali-Ridha said, was “blunt force trauma with close head injury.”

Defence attorney Andrew Buttazzoni pointed out that, espite the severity of the wounds, Levesque’s nose had not been broken by it nor his skull fractured. His teeth suffered no damage either.

Ali-Ridha agreed with Buttazzoni that Levesqe could have suffered similar head injuries if he’d fallen against “a round solid edge of a countertop.”