It was 26 blows to the head that ultimately killed Roxanne Louie, but bruises across her body show she endured more violence in her final hours.
As week two of Grace Robotti’s second degree murder trial got underway, jurors heard from a variety of experts who pieced together evidence that gave them a clearer view of what happened to Louie on Jan. 4, 2015.
Among them was Dr. James Stephen, a forensic expert who specializes in post mortem pathology.
He conducted the autopsy of Louie after her body was recovered Jan. 11, 2015, from an embankment in Naramata.
Reading from notes taken during that process, Dr. Stephen told a Supreme Court jury that Louie suffered multiple blows to her face and head, most of which were on her right side.
Her right leg and foot had multiple bruises from her ankle to her thigh.
Some of the wounds her body incurred would have been post-mortem, and some of them weren’t significant, said Stephen. But others, like the injuries to her hands and wrists, told a different story.
“When someone is being struck they may assume a posture to protect their face or head or eyes. This exposes certain parts of their body to the blows they are protecting themselves from,” Stephen said.
These injuries to forearms, wrists and hands are defensive in nature and appear “often enough” in his work, which is heavily focused on victims of crime.
This testimony fits in well with the what Crown counsel John Swanson told the jury in his opening remarks.
Robotti and Louie, 26, had a strained relationship due to differing opinions on the upbringing of Louie’s three-year-old son.
These differences reached a tragic peak Jan. 4, 2015, when Louie was killed by Robotti during a fight while staying over at Robotti’s Penticton home.
According to Swanson, Louie tried to hit Robotti with the small crowbar when her brother Pier stepped in and restrained Louie.
Robotti told a police officer that she “lost it” and that’s when she fatally attacked the 26-year-old.
Once she died they moved her body down an embankment off a forestry road in Naramata where it had been dumped by Robotti’s brother, nearly a week later.
At the start of the trial, Crown counsel said they would call 17 witnesses to testify.
They are around halfway through that list.
Robotti already pleaded guilty to interfering with a body.
The trial is expected to continue until mid-April.