FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Jurors in the murder trial of a South Florida man accused of killing his girlfriend heard testimony from his ex-girlfriend, his daughter and a crime scene investigator Wednesday, but a judge has yet to decide whether a penis will be on display to the jury.
Richard Patterson, 65, of Margate, is charged with second-degree murder in the choking death of his girlfriend, Francisca Marquinez, 60, in 2015.
Patterson's attorney claims his client accidentally choked Marquinez during oral sex. To prove it, attorney Ken Padowitz wants a Broward County judge to allow Patterson to show his penis to the jury.
In court Wednesday, Margate police crime scene technician Jennifer Briere described the condition of Marquinez's body when she examined it.
"She was already starting to decompose," Briere testified for the prosecution.
Briere described a bathroom next to the bedroom in disarray.
Jurors also heard a wiretapped conversation between Patterson and an ex-girlfriend in the days after Marquinez was killed.
"Were you arguing?" ex-girlfriend Holly Graff said in the recording as she sat on the witness stand.
"Holly, it doesn't matter what happened," Patterson said in the recording. "I'm not telling you what happened because you don't need to know. Period."
Graff's testimony provided more clarity about her conversations with Patterson.
"He told me that the police were there in the middle of the night and took DNA and looked at his body," Graff testified.
Patterson's daughter read jurors a text message she received from her father days after Marquinez was killed.
"Your dad did something really bad last night," Amanda Schneider said while reading the text message from a projector screen for the jury to see. "I'm so, so sorry."
Schneider said he never answered her when she asked him what he did.
Judge Lisa Porter heard from Padowitz and assistant state attorney Peter Sapak before Monday's jury selection as they debated whether Patterson's penis would be flaccid or erect if and when it is presented to the jury.
"Do we do it in the back? Do we do it in open court?" Sapak asked. "How is the defendant going to be erect when the jury views it? Because a flaccid penis, whether it be a picture or the jury actually seeing it, is completely irrelevant. It needs to be erect."
Padowitz chastised Sapak for jumping to a conclusion that the penis is relevant only if it is erect.
"He's telling the court, as if he's a medical expert in his argument, that it matters whether the penis is erect or not," Padowitz told Porter. "But he's merely speculating here since he's never asked that question to Dr. (Ronald) Wright in definition, and he doesn't, obviously, know, actually, what the expert opinion is what is needed or not needed in order for a human being to choke."
Padowitz said in a motion filed earlier this month that he intends to call Wright, a former Broward County medical examiner, as an expert witness to testify that Marquinez's death "is consistent with being accidentally sexually asphyxiated during oral sex."
Padowitz said his client's penis was not measured by Wright, but he said he provided two photographs to prosecutors -- one of Patterson's penis next to a tape measure, and the other a frontal view of Patterson's naked body with his penis exposed.
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