Murder trial shown image of victim's torso
A shocking image of the partial torso of murder victim Rigat Ghirmay was shown Tuesday on large screens at the murder trial of her accused slayer Adonay Zekarias.
The 46-year-old Eritrean — who is accused of killing, dismembering and disposing of his former roommate — closed his eyes as Dr. Toby Rose testified about the decomposing body displayed on the screen.
The severed torso was wrapped inside black garbage bags stuffed into a duffle bag only 500 metres from Zekarias’ Humber Blvd. home on May 24, 2013, court heard.
Rose told Justice Michael Brown that she couldn’t determine the exact cause of Ghirmay’s death by examining the dissected torso — from above the belly button to the knees.
That was the only trace of Ghirmay available when Rose conducted her autopsy in May 2013.
Ghirmay’s skeletal remains — including an intact skull and jawbones — were discovered by avid bone collector Michael Paquet. He was trolling along Lavender Creek Trail when he made the startling find on April 27, 2016. Ghirmay’s two feet and right hand — excluding a few small bones — were never found.
Another forensic pathologist, Dr. Magdaleni Bellis, conducted an autopsy on the skull and bones and reached the same conclusion as Rose: no cause of death could be determined.
Zekarias, 46, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the May 15, 2013 slaying of Ghirmay, 28. The prosecution is asserting Zekarias eliminated Ghirmay because she figured out Zekarias had fatally stabbed fellow Eritrean Nighisti Semret on Oct. 23, 2012.
He was convicted of first-degree murder in the 55-year-old hotel maid’s death in 2015 and is now serving a life sentence.
Ghirmay accompanied Zekarias with his bleeding hands to the hospital, only hours after Semret’s homicide, court heard.
On May 6 2013, police revealed that the killer’s DNA evidence was gleaned from Semret’s crime scene and the culprit likely injured his hands.
The trial resumes Wednesday.