Day three of the Ish trial began with a tearful testimony from the key witness who told police she saw the whole incident happen that fateful night of June 14, 2009.
Heather Davis lived across the street from the Duffy’s parking lot at the Faun Apartments, and said she happened to step outside right before everything happened to unfold.
“I just remember him telling me to go back inside and lock the door,” Davis told the court.
But she didn’t listen to him.
She said right then, Eugene Lorne Red Elk was approached by a man in the parking lot, she thought she heard what sounded like a gunshot, and said she saw Red Elk collapse. She said that’s when a car pulled-up, that individual got in the car, and the car sped away.
The court had asked her why her recollection of the incident was inconsistent over the years, drawing on several of her testimonies to police. However, the description of the man she saw, has remained the same every time.
The man she claimed to have seen was tall, skinny, and was wearing a black do-rag along with a woman’s tank top that showed his belly.
Ish was wearing a red skull-cap, a sweatshirt, khaki cargo pants, and has a large, stalky build.
The two doctors who operated on him that night also took the stand. The first, was Dr. Dennis Minister, the ER doctor who was working at Portneuf Medical Center that night.
He told the court he found a significant portion of liquid in his airway, which caused a gurgling sound as Red Elk struggled to breathe.
He said they found most of that liquid was blood, but couldn’t find the source of the bleeding. They immediately noticed his brain was functioning at the lowest level possible and had massive swelling, and life flighted him to EIRMC to be seen by a neurologist.
That’s when Dr. Robert Cash took the stand. He was working as the only neurosurgeon in the area that night and found such bad swelling, they needed to remove part of his skull to relieve the pressure. He said, with swelling to that degree, the brain wouldn’t have enough blood to survive.
The results of Red Elk’s CAT scan showed a linear fracture down the left side of his skull, but both Minister and Cash said there weren’t any lacerations or cuts on the skin. Cash said, whatever he struck, had to have been so dull, it didn’t break the skin or dent the skull (such as, being hit with a hammer).
He told the court, in the 25 years he’s been practicing, he typically sees this type of injury if someone hits the concrete or a wall.
Once they removed part of the skull, Cash said the brain started to swell outside of the head.
“The brain swelling was so significant, there was no way to put the piece of skull back on,” Cash noted.
The prosecution mentioned Cash had no prior knowledge of any information leading-up to his injury prior to his procedure that night.
During a meeting with prosecuting attorneys, he mentioned the extreme similarities between Red Elk’s injury and that of a former patient who had been hit by a car while standing in a parking lot.
On Thursday morning, the trial will continue, with the possibility of introducing the first responders to take the stand for the first time.