Kevin Watkins Trial Day 3: Forensic pathologist says wounds indicate teens likely killed from behind

Author’s note: This story contains graphic descriptions of crime scenes and victims that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The repeated blows to the head that killed Timmee Jackson and Satori Dionne Williams most likely came from behind, according to testimony by the forensic pathologist who performed their autopsies.

Dr. Darin Wolfe was working at the Marion County Coroner’s Office in February and April 2016 when Jackson and Williams’ bodies were discovered – one near a pond on the east side, the other in a field in Shelby County.

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Wolfe was called upon to perform the autopsies on both teens. On Wednesday, he testified about his findings during day three of the trial of Kevin Watkins, the Indianapolis bail bondsman accused of murdering Jackson and Williams in December 2015.

Both teens, Wolfe said, died of “multiple chop wounds to the head.” The manner of death for both was ruled to be homicide.

Jackson’s autopsy was performed on Feb. 23, 2016. Wolfe testified that he found seven total wounds on Jackson’s body: two to the top of the head; three to the left side of the head; and two to the back of the head.

All but one of the wounds were forceful enough to fracture the skull. Wolfe said the wound most likely to have been the fatal blow was a “complete-thickness injury” to the top of the skull.

“This injury went all the way through into the brain,” Wolfe said.

Williams was also found to have seven injuries: three above the left ear; one behind the left ear; two to the back of the head; and one on the left side of his back.

PREVIOUS | Kevin Watkins killed two teens in self-defense, attorneys argue in trial opener | Bail bondsman faces ‘Mt. Everest of evidence’ in teens’ double murder trial

Wolfe said he believed the most likely fatal wound found on Williams was one of the injuries to the left side of his head. He noted that both teens sustained multiple potentially fatal wounds.

None of the injuries, Wolfe said, appeared on the front of either teens’ body.

“More likely than not, the injuries came from the back,” Wolfe said, “but there are other scenarios that could explain the placement of the injuries.”

One of Watkins’ public defenders, attorney Steve Lazinsky, seized on that statement in his cross-examination of Wolfe.

Lazinsky asked if the wounds could be consistent with blows coming from the front if the teens had ducked or lowered their heads. Wolfe said it couldn’t be ruled out.  

Lazinsky also questioned Wolfe about the number of “incapacitating injuries” each teen received. Wolfe said that while both teens received multiple likely incapacitating wounds, there was no way to know which wounds they had received first.

“Without knowing the order of the wounds, there’s no way to know at what point a person would have gone down?” Lazinsky asked.

Wolfe agreed that was correct.

Watkins’ chief public defender in the case, attorney Jeff Neel, told jurors in his opening statements on Monday that Watkins had acted in self-defense when he struck Jackson and Williams with a tactical tomahawk.

In the defense’s version of events, Jackson and Williams ran up to Watkins and pulled a gun on him while he was walking around his yard. Neel told jurors Watkins was on edge because of a recent burglary at his house. He said Watkins thought he was defending himself and his family.

Upon realizing the teens were dead, Neel said, his client decided to bury the bodies while still in “shock.”

Deputy prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth presented an alternate possibility about Jackson and Williams’ positions at the time of their deaths.

“Is it possible that Timmee and Satori were actually on the ground and the blow came down like this?” Hollingsworth asked, mimicking the motion of swinging a hatchet downward.

Like with Lazinsky’s scenario, Wolfe agreed it was possible.

Earlier in the trial, a crime scene investigator testified that blood spatter was found approximately 6 inches off the ground on an outside wall of Watkins’ home. Watkins’ defense will have the opportunity to present its own evidence after the state rests its case, which is expected to happen Thursday afternoon.

It was not immediately clear whether Watkins intended to testify in the trial. His attorneys declined Wednesday to comment on the case.

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