Pathologist shows jurors what caused Steamboat woman’s death
August 9, 2017
Members of the Darin Dickey jury on Wednesday saw graphic autopsy photos that showed the massive bleeding in Sarah Lay's head that caused her death.
Dickey has been charged with a single count of manslaughter related to Lay's July 2016 death.
Prosecutors believe Dickey became upset when he found Lay, 39, passed out in his brother's bed early in the morning of July 4, 2016.
Prosecutors are arguing that Lay hit her head on an armoire when she was yanked off the bed by Dickey, and the impact caused the fatal injury.
An ambulance was not called for Lay until about 10 a.m. when she was unresponsive.
In addition to testimony from Dickey's brother, Doug Dickey, jurors heard from forensic pathologist Michael Burson, who performed Lay's autopsy.
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Burson told the jury he found numerous bruises on Lay, which he believed Lay had received at different times.
In addition to Lay's brain injury, Burson said the biggest finding was Lay's liver.
"She had a very fatty liver, which corresponds to alcohol abuse," Burson said.
Lay, who was a known alcoholic, had a blood alcohol content of .225 when it was measured at the hospital.
Bursen said alcohol intoxication could have contributed to the events leading up to Lay's injury.
Jurors were shown a picture of a bruise on the underside of Lay's scalp and of the half cup of blood from a hemorrhage.
"This is a lot of blood," Burson said.
The cause of Lay's death was a subdural hemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the head. The manner of death was undetermined.
When a death is classified as a homicide, it is clear that someone else caused the death.
Dickey's attorneys are trying to argue that Lay hit her head another time, which could have caused the hemorrhage.
"It was a very significant bleed from the beginning, and it was very fresh," Burson said.
Testimony is expected to conclude Friday, and then the jury will begin deliberations.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@Steamboat Today.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland