Defense Rests in Wlasiuk Trial

By Julianne Sweeney

July 22, 2010 Updated Sep 24, 2008 at 7:30 PM EDT

Closing arguments will begin tomorrow in the retrial of Peter Wlasiuk in Chenango County.

He was found guilty of murder in 2002, but the verdict was thrown out on appeal.

Action News Reporter Julianne Sweeney tells us why a defense witness says the evidence is not there to convict Wlasiuk again.

The Chenango County District Attorney claims Peter Wlasiuk suffocated his wife Patricia at their Oxford home.

Then staged a truck accident in Guilford Lake, off Route 35, to make it look like she drowned.

But a forensic pathologist testified for the defense.

Dr. Michael Sikirica did not perform the autopsy on Patricia.

He did review the files, and says he believes Patricia Wlasiuk died of asphyxiation by drowning.

Sikirica says Patricia sustained hemorrhaging in her lungs, which is consistent with a drowning death.

The man who did perform the autopsy, Dr. James Terzian, testified he found very little water in Patricia's mouth and lungs.

Terzian said that would suggest Patricia died before she went into the lake.

Sikirica also looked at photographs that show abrasions and contusions on her body..

He said those injuries are consistent with a motor vehicle accident.

Patricia also had bruising around her lips and a fractured sternum.

Sikirica says it could have been caused by emergency responders trying to resuscitate Patricia.

Closing arguments will begin 8:30 tomorrow morning.

Jurors will then be sent into deliberation.

Stay tuned to Action News for the latest update.

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