Bodden murder trial jurors review autopsy photos

MINDEN - Jurors looked at autopsy photos and listened to a detailed explanation of DNA on Monday as the trial of a Johnson Lane woman accused of murdering her husband entered its second week.

Dr. Katherine P. Raven, forensic pathologist for the Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office, testified that Robin Bodden's body was in such advanced decomposition she was unable to determine which of two .22-caliber bullets killed the 50-year-old airplane mechanic.

His wife, Karen Bodden, 45, is accused of killing her husband in August 2006 and dumping his body in the desert off Johnson Lane where it was found Sept. 10, 2006.

District Judge Dave Gamble advised the jury of 10 women and two men the pictures were graphic.

"This is the part of the trial that is very difficult to look at," Gamble said. "They are admitted because they have probative (evidentiary) value."

He told jurors they would be able to examine the photos when they are deliberating.

Raven said Bodden's body weighed 135 pounds when it was discovered, fully clothed and taped and wrapped in several layers of plastic and a quilt.

At the time he disappeared, Bodden weighed 260 pounds, according to family members and witnesses.

She said the advanced stage of decomposition correlated to the dates Aug. 15-16 when officials allege Karen Bodden shot her husband to death at his airplane hangar at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

She said the gunshot wounds - one in the back of the head above the neckline, and the second above the right ear - were inflicted at close range.

Raven said the wound to the back of the head indicated the shooter was an inch or less from the target. The bullet above the ear was fired from 1-12 inches, she testified.

Raven also testified the date of death could have been later, depending on temperature and other conditions.

She said the shot to the back of the head would have been fatal immediately.

Bodden pleaded not guilty to a charge of open murder with a deadly weapon in October following her indictment by the Douglas County grand jury.

Prosecutor Mark Jackson said evidence would show Bodden began embezzling money from her husband's business and personal accounts 10 months before he died and continued to take money after his death.

Jackson said Bodden was afraid her husband would turn her in to authorities and she would go to prison for a 2004 embezzlement conviction for which she received probation.

Karen Bodden was convicted of embezzling $44,000 from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Her attorney, James Wilson Jr., said prosecutors can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she committed the crime.

The trial, now in its second week, is expected to last up to three weeks.

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