Medical examiner explains Orozco’s death due to gunshot
KINGMAN – Mohave County Medical Examiner Archiaus Mosley took the stand in the trial of Gerald Richardson Tuesday afternoon, fielding questions related to his autopsy of the body of Jessica Mae Orozco.
Richardson, 58, is charged with manslaughter in the October 2018 shooting death of 31-year-old Jessica Mae Orozco. His jury trial began Monday, June 10, with a focus on his justification defense of thinking it was a home intruder at his door the night of Oct. 27, not Orozco.
Richardson told detectives he was asleep on his couch when Orozco arrived to bring a child home from a birthday party. He wasn’t expecting anyone and believed the person trying to enter his residence through the front door was an intruder.
He fired one shot from a handgun that struck Orozco, who was transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
Mosley said he determined the cause of death to be a single gunshot wound to the torso. The bullet entered in the area below Orozco’s left shoulder blade and exited under her right breast. He listed organs and parts of Orozco’s body damaged or bleeding by the bullet. That included bleeding of skin, the left lung, spleen, diaphragm, aorta, vena cava and liver.
“So mechanistically, she’s dying because she’s not getting enough oxygenated blood to her brain, not enough to keep her brain alive,” he said. “To me, that is when there’s irreversible brain damage, when the brain cannot be recovered. That happens sometimes when there’s tremendous blood loss.”
Mosley specifically noted the bleeding of the aorta twice, which he called a “devastating injury to recover from.” The aorta, according to the American Heart Association, is the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
“In addition to bleeding, the mechanics of breathing are damaged by that bullet,” Mosley said. “The chest needs to have negative pressure, it relies on not having any holes in it to work right. It’s got holes in it now. That’s a problem when it comes to putting oxygen into blood.”
Richardson’s attorney Robin Puchek asked since Orozco became unconscious within minutes does it mean she didn’t suffer. The medical examiner replied that she likely suffered for a few minutes while conscious.
Puchek also asked if it is possible, since the bullet’s trajectory was back to front and left to right, that Orozco was, more or less, using her left shoulder to help open the door, i.e., her back was not completely to the door while she stood outside the residence.
Mosley said there’s “nothing about my exam that would exclude that as a possibility.”
Mosley also addressed a toxicology report, which he said showed traces of THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, in Orozco’s blood. Since the parent drug was found, Mosley said Orozco could have used marijuana within a few hours of the incident. He later noted that the level of THC in Orozco’s body was not high, though above the threshold reporting limit, and that he couldn’t say if it had an effect on her.