Judge denies motion to dismiss medical examiner testimony in Zutten Murder trial
The murder trial for Michael Zutten is moving forward after a judge denied the defense’s motion to prevent the medical examiner and forensic anthropologist from testifying.
Zutten is charged with the murder of his fiancée back in 2015. Prosecutors say he posted memes about hiding bodies to Facebook after his fiancée’s death.
The judge ruled on Thursday that the medical examiner can call the death a homicide when testifying. The judge said the expert witnesses are credible and their opinions will not prejudice the jury.
Zutten’s attorney filed a motion to limit what the medical examiner and forensic anthropologist expert witnesses can say in court.
The testimony on Thursday was at times graphic and grim, but necessary, all centering around the remains of Heather Grimshaw.
The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide in 2015. Soon after hikers found her remains in a remote area of Picayune State Park. The medical examiner could not determine how she died.
Nonetheless, Collier County detectives arrested her live-in boyfriend Michael Zutten three years later.
On Thursday, the judge listened to arguments about whether the medical examiner can say Grimshaw’s death is a homicide.
In court, the medical examiner, Dr. Manfred Gorges, said, “I think the totality of the information from law enforcement led me to believe this happened under very suspicious circumstances”
The defense also questioned if a forensic anthropologist uses reliable techniques to determine the time frame of death, which was determined to be several days to several weeks from when the body was found.
The defense argued that the prosecution is not offering medical nor scientific evidence, and suggests there are other possibilities for her death.
Prosecutors responded saying the defense wanted to remove the expert witnesses because they didn’t like the testimony that they would give.
Opening statements for the case are set to begin on Friday morning at the Collier County Courthouse.