Doctor: Patricia Wlasiuk Was Smothered

By Lindsay Nielsen

June 14, 2012 Updated Jun 14, 2012 at 7:46 PM EDT

Norwich, NY (WBNG Binghamton) During day six of testimony in a murder trial, a doctor tells jurors how he believes Patricia Wlasiuk died in 2002.

This is the third murder trial of Peter Wlasiuk who is accused of killing his wife.

A plant could be the main link to what happened to Patricia Wlasiuk the day she died.

Burdock was found in her hair and on her clothes.

Thursday morning, Lourdes Hospital Forensic Pathologist Dr. James Terzian took the stand.

"I said go find an expert who can tell you where these things generally grow, where they come from and go look for them. They found them right away in the yard," said Dr. Terzian.

Officers found a burdock bush at the Wlasiuk's home that had hair on it.

Dr. Terzian told jurors he ruled Patricia's final cause of death as asphyxiation from being smothered.

The jury viewed photos of Patricia Wlasiuk that were taken during Dr. Terzian's autopsy.

The photos showed Patricia's face, arms, back, shoulder and neck covered with scratches and bruises.

She also had bruising underneath her upper lip, which Dr. Terzian said was consistent with someone who was smothered.

"Well I think she was asphyxiated, she was smothered. Probably with a hand over the nose and mouth and it probably wasn't very hard to do because she's not a very big woman, she wasn't. Then I think it was covered up by putting the body in the truck and letting the truck go into the water and then claiming it was a drowning," said Dr. Terzian.

Dr. Terzian says he believed the person that killed Patricia knew that drowning is something that's hard to determine.

His initial ruling before taking a second look was drowning.

The doctor says before making a final determination, he went down to the Guilford Lake scene himself and saw no evidence of an accident.

The trial continues in Chenango County Court on Monday.

The prosecution is expected to continue presenting its case into next week.