Michael Baden to Testify Before Ferguson Grand Jury

Forensic pathologist Michael Baden, who conducted an autopsy on Michael Brown at the request of his family's attorney, has been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury investigating Brown's shooting death.

According to the lawyer for Brown's parents:

Baden had only limited access to information and has asked to review several other pieces of evidence before he testifies.

Among the items Baden did not have access to when he performed his autopsy:

Baden said there was no gunpowder residue on Brown's body, indicating he was not shot at close range, though he said at the time he wasn't given access to Brown's clothing and the residue could be there.

It's not known when the grand jury will be finished. The prosecutor has said "sometime this month."

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    What he'll probably be asked about (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by toggle on Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 07:21:38 PM EST
    Michael Baden conducted an autopsy on Brown's body in August at the request of the teen's family and concluded then that the teen could have been shot from as far away as 30 feet. A leaked copy of the St. Louis County medical examiner's autopsy report says microscopic particles of gunshot residue were found in a deep layer of skin, showing that the teen was shot once in his thumb at close range.

    Baden said he wants a gunshot residue report, as well as several pieces of evidence, to draw his own conclusions. He said is willing to testify about his findings before a grand jury deciding whether to charge the officer who shot Brown.

    "Gunshot residue can look very similar to ordinary dirt on the ground, and his hand, for four hours, was on the ground," Baden said. "So dirt on the ground, the body being moved when they were putting him in the body bag could create the microscopic appearance of gunshot residue."

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/29/browns-family-pathologist-questions-leaked-auto psy/18154107/

    Is there any chance... (none / 0) (#18)
    by unitron on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 02:29:46 AM EST
    ...that the SLC examiner actually took some of those microscopic particles and put them under a microscope and determined whether they were dirt or gunpowder residue?

    Seems like the kind of thing a competent autopsy would include.

    Otherwise I'd expect the county's report to say "Microscopic particles which might be gunpowder residue".


    I'm pretty sure (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 12:02:40 PM EST
    Baden has stated his findings were   subject to the caveat he lacked all the information, samples, etc. examined by the official ME.

     I know he has asked for a chance to review such things prior to testifying before the GJ.

      Moreover, as I have said before, I don't believe that whether Brown was shot at close range at the vehicle is dispositive as to the question of Wilson's state of mind/intent when he fired the fatal shot[s] which everyone seems to agree were not fired at close range.  


    Well, "close range" needs to be defined (none / 0) (#34)
    by leftwig on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 01:33:54 PM EST
    Baden made his statement about the shots not being at close range due to no stipling or gun shot residue being found on the skin.  That means Brown was roughly 1 meter or more away from the gun or, a little more than an arms length for the average man.  We don't know whether it was 1 meter or 20 meters from the information we have.

    What I am saying is (none / 0) (#36)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 02:06:41 PM EST
     even if Brown was shot at close range at the vehicle, and either due to proximity and Brown's actions and demeanor at the time that shot was fired  Wilson was justified in shooting or that shot was  an unintentional discharge during a struggle, it does not inexorably follow that Wilson was justified in  later shooting Brown from (by all accounts) a much greater distance.

     What exactly happened at the vehicle is a relevant factor to consider in assessing Wilson's state of mind at the time of the subsequent shots  but a "close range" shot at the vehicle does not by itself necessarily mean the later shots were justified.



    Sorry, I hit enter too soon (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by leftwig on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 09:06:33 AM EST
    I wanted to comment that I am in complete agreement with you that the activity and shots at the SUV does not necessarily mean the later shots were justified.  I agree that it certainly can factor into the decision making process of the officer, but if Brown was surrendering and complying with police orders, then the earlier activity would not justify the subsequent shooting.  IF Brown was not complying and moving toward the officer, then the activity that occurred at the SUV would certainly be a consideration in the officers judgment and the shooting is most likely to be deemed justified.

    I wasn't talking about "close range" (none / 0) (#50)
    by leftwig on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 08:59:00 AM EST
    only in regards to the one shot in the SUV.  I was referring to all of the shots.  IT was commented that Baden stated that none of the shots were at "close range" due to lack of stippling.  I am pointing out that "close range" is less than 1 meter so that Baden was merely stating that in his opinion, none of the shots occurred at a distance less than 1 meter (he's backtracked on the distance estimate for the thumb wound at the SUV). You mentioned that the last shots were from a "much greater distance" and I am pointing out that Baden has only said that these shots were from more than 1 meter away.  

    When you say the other shots were from "a much greater distance", how far is that distance and what is the source for that estimate?  I think I recall a witness or two mentioning 25-30 feet but they also had Brown moving toward Wilson.  


    I used "much greater" (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 10:12:05 AM EST
      deliberately, because I lack sufficient information to assert more than that. I don't (and neither does anyone commenting here) no the precise distances at which any stage of the contfontation took place.

     I agree it's not only the distance that matters. If someone is already running toward me and is  25 feet from me he's going to reach me significantly sooner than he would if he is standing still at the same distance.

     Standing, walking, running, etc. are also important factors that we really don't  have knowledge to determine. I've heard vague reports which could be construed as supporting any of those.


    Fair enough (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by leftwig on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 01:38:34 PM EST
    I just haven't seen any information that provides any details of the distance between Brown and Wilson other than it was more than 1 meter and wasn't sure what you meant by a much greater distance.  I didn't know if you had information that put the distance at say 50 feet, or a hundred feet.  I recall witnesses mentioning 25-30 feet.  If Brown previously attacked Wilson and was acting as if he was going to again, 30 feet would be within a reasonable distance to exact deadly force (something you have pointed out).

    used photos of the scene to piece together many of the locations and distances relevant to the shooting.

    Not 100% guaranteed accurate, of course. For example the cones they think are marking Wilson's ejected shells, and therefor Wilson's location while he was shooting, might well be marking something completely different. But still interesting, nonetheless.


    KNOW (none / 0) (#53)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 10:12:33 AM EST
    not no

    Like fishcamp, I'm self-appointed. (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Angel on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 08:31:21 AM EST
    But, unlike fishcamp, I've no backing.  I do, however, have the belief that it's my duty to call out adults when they're acting childish or bullying others.  

    Knock it off you guys. (4.50 / 6) (#33)
    by fishcamp on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 01:12:19 PM EST
    You're just taking up space with childish arguments that nobody cares about.  And BTW, I'm self appointed, with Hells Angels backing.

    Even Ruby approves of this (3.50 / 2) (#42)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 11:28:29 PM EST

    Oh sure, (4.00 / 3) (#43)
    by NYShooter on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 02:15:35 AM EST
    but, where were you, my dear, "Ruby," when my voice, a very lonely voice I might add, was complaining week in, and, week out, that we were graduating these prepubescent brats waaay too fast from potty training class?

    Just because they've learned to spastically pound the keyboard with their chubby little, peanut butter drenched fingers, they're a long way from mastering the ultimate goal, "poopy in, poopy out."

    While they seem to have the "poopy out" thing down pretty well, it's the "in" part they can't seem to overcome.

    Poor things; maybe a few more months with the chimps would help.


    Wow. Great rant. (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by oculus on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 08:28:35 AM EST
    If you need some more pearls (2.00 / 2) (#49)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 08:44:28 AM EST
    For clutching the next time I comment here, please let Jeralyn know, or you can probably borrow some from Jim,

    Whatever happened to your sense (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by oculus on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 10:24:22 AM EST
    of humour?

    I dunno (none / 0) (#55)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 10:47:11 AM EST
    Maybe it rolled under the dinner table again.

    I've been lurking here (4.63 / 8) (#58)
    by Ruby on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 11:51:28 AM EST
    And while I enjoy most of the comments, there are a few commenters who take the level of discourse down.  I don't usually agree with jim, but some people around here make me want to defend him because they lose their minds at every comment he makes and those who do are actually worse for the conversation than jim.

    I like that there are a few voices around here that don't toe the Democratic party line, yet there are others who want to jump on anyone like that and call them childish names, "You're a Republican!"  (ooh, scary!) and down rate them.  C'mon guys - grow up! How boring would this blog be if everyone agreed??  That's not a conversation - that's a Rush Limbaugh audience!

    But for the most part, I'm just gonna lurk for a while.


    thank you Fishcamp (3.00 / 2) (#63)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Nov 16, 2014 at 06:49:23 AM EST
    I've deleted Mordigan's sniping/insulting comments. Mordigan, go to timeout for a few days and then come back with a smile and be polite when you disagree. Thanks.

    gunshot residue, ie, what Baden was discussing, with stippling and tattooing, ie, a completely different subject which you apparently want to discuss....

    Or this: (4.20 / 5) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 12:01:55 AM EST
    Or this: (4.00 / 4) (#10)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 12:03:52 AM EST
    OK, one more, just for kicks: (4.20 / 5) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 12:12:52 AM EST
    suo: hand washing (none / 0) (#23)
    by Uncle Chip on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 08:32:59 AM EST
    GSR particles can be removed from the hands by contact with other objects or by hand washing.

    Are you suggesting that Mike Brown got up and washed his hands before his autopsy???

    Did he also wash behind his ears was he was at it???

    You're too much --


    Baden said there was no gunpowder residue (3.67 / 3) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 12:37:29 PM EST
    Baden said there was no gunpowder residue on Brown's body, indicating he was not shot at close range
    fwiw, it has apparently been confirmed that Brown's body was cleaned before Baden looked at it at the funeral home.
    Brown's body had been washed after the first autopsy, a standard procedure

    Gunpowder residue doesn't wash off human (2.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 06:23:30 PM EST
    skin very easily, so I doubt that the funeral home washed any such traces away.

    Huh. Didn't know you were such an expert (3.40 / 5) (#5)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 08:34:27 PM EST
    in this area. I guess you'll be invited to testify to the GJ next.

    I know Chip. You, after denying so many (3.00 / 2) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 09:55:13 PM EST
    times that the body was washed before Uncle Baden gave it his once-over, are bummed to find out that you were wrong. Again.

    GSR (3.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Uncle Chip on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 07:44:05 AM EST
    When police apologists have to stretch a piece of dirt from the street into smoke from a gun in order to give any degree of credence to some mythological struggle for a gun, then they are really desperate.

    Politics I'm sure not science got that little piece of dirt into the autopsy report as most logical minds would have ignored it and moved on.

    And yet even the CME couldn't have her arm twisted far enough to refer to that microparticle of nothingness as GSR.

    Linkage (2.00 / 1) (#16)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 12:32:55 AM EST

    Oy. And now there is a pathology blog (1.00 / 1) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 11:50:31 AM EST
    that has done some research into Baden's "work."

    Apparently, Parks, the Brown's family lawyer, made a statement on 8/15 indicating that this 2nd autopsy had already been performed.

    However, Baden did not arrive in Ferguson until 8/17.

    It looks like perhaps Parks was referring to Baden's assistant, Parcells, who was in Ferguson on the 15th.

    Parcells said, according to the pathology blog, that he took photos of the body on the 15th because the body was going to be imminently embalmed because the funeral home did not have a cooler in which to store the body.

    So while I don't see that this is 100% conclusive, it looks like there is a reasonable probability that Baden's "work" was done on not just a cleaned body, but also an embalmed body.

    Browns body had been embalmed (none / 0) (#35)
    by leftwig on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 01:49:20 PM EST
    before Baden was able to examine it, this much we know.  How much of Badens report came from pictures taken by Parcells versus his actual examination is unknown, but having been embalmed would certainly hamper his chances of finding any GSR on the body.

    Baden is a character, for sure. (3.50 / 2) (#38)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 02:50:46 PM EST
    Him telling the world that he found no GSR was a major point of his presser.

    If he had said that he found no GSR, however the body had previously been cleaned and embalmed before he viewed it, maybe people would have a little more respect for him.


    Embalmed (none / 0) (#37)
    by Uncle Chip on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 02:32:05 PM EST
    having been embalmed would certainly hamper his chances of finding any GSR on the body.

    So would the fact that the St Louis County ME who had the body first before him didn't find any GSR either.


    Not sure why you'd make such a statement (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by leftwig on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 02:13:15 PM EST
    Dr. Mary Case, the St. Louis County medical examiner, said Thursday through a spokeswoman that her office is confident of an autopsy finding that material consistent with gunshot residue was on Michael Brown's right thumb.

    I see this as a hopeful development... (none / 0) (#3)
    by magster on Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 07:01:28 PM EST
    for the prospect of Wilson being held accountable for some wrongdoing.

    suo/GSR (none / 0) (#19)
    by Uncle Chip on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 07:21:29 AM EST
    So then, suo, you are missing the point:

    The St Louis County ME didn't find any GSR on the thumb, fingers, hand, wrist or anywhere else where it should have been if that microscopic particle actually came from the gun.  

    And as good scientists, after their search team secured a microscope powerful enough to find this tiny micro-particle under the skin of the wound, they would have checked and rechecked for GSR on all the skin around it -- alas finding nothing more.

    And this was BEFORE they then washed the body [if they did at all] and sent it out to Dr Baden.

    Did you get that: BEFORE -- PREwash -- they found nothing -- no GSR anywhere else on the hand where it should have been.

    I'm sure they went over that hand with a search team of hound dogs looking for GSR to vindicate the shooter -- but they found nothing but a micro-particle in a wound that lay in contact with the street for 4 hours.

    When you only find a miniscule microscopic particle in the wound but nothing around it where there should be a lot more GSR, then you have to conclude, like Dr Baden, that that wound was likely contaminated by the street that it lay in contact with for 4 hours under his body before being collected and tested.

    That little particle is much ado about nothing and the ME and the police and the prosecutor know it.


    Haw. You funny. In a kind of sad way. (1.00 / 1) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 10:58:08 AM EST
    Like the actual autopsy report said, the particles forcefully imbedded below the surface of the skin of Brown's thumb are "consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm."

    iow, burnt gunpowder, primer, etc., and not pieces of dirt or leaf litter or whatever else.


    SUO (none / 0) (#29)
    by Uncle Chip on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 11:41:46 AM EST
    particles forcefully imbedded below the surface of the skin of Brown's thumb are "consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm."

    The key words are: "consistent with".

    It didn't say "are products" -- just "consistent with products".

    IOW the autopsy used wiggle words to imply what they are unwilling, unable, and afraid to say for fear of getting caught in a lie that will end their professional career.

    The dirt and asphalt under Brown's body is also "consistent with" the products discharged from the barrel of a gun as well as the particulate matter  found in that wound, but there is greater likelihood that that it came from the street than the barrel of a gun.

    Afterall there is no question that his body lay on that street for 4 hours with his hand under his body in contact with the street while we still have no evidence that there was any kind of struggle for the gun.

    If you doubt me then just check what Dr Baden said in the article you posted from the PD yesterday.

    You should read what you post rather than posting what you don't read.


    Pathologists/coroners ALWAYS use ... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Yman on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 06:43:47 AM EST
    IOW the autopsy used wiggle words to imply what they are unwilling, unable, and afraid to say for fear of getting caught in a lie that will end their professional career.

    ... qualifiers and other descriptive terms for the sake of accuracy.  Using phrases such as "consistent with" is extremely common in autopsy reports (or scientific studies) because they can't state with 100% certainty that the particles were from the barrel of a gun.  It doesn't mean they're trying to paint a deceptive picture and avoid getting caught in a lie.  They will be able to testify as to the probability/improbability that they came from some other source.  


    Another thing people need to understand (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 11:19:08 AM EST
      Part of the autopsy is collecting samples and documenting chain of custody of materials which will then be examined by a different type of expert. The autopsy report will note the ME's observations describe the material gathered and the location from which it was obtained and then bag it so it can be delivered to someone else for testing.

      The ME is not a chemist, serologist, ballistics, etc. expert.



    suo/GSR (none / 0) (#21)
    by Uncle Chip on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 07:30:40 AM EST
    GSR particles were removed by washing, wiping, or other activity before the samples were collected.

    Are you saying that the SLC ME or any ME anywhere in the civilized world would deliberately wash or wipe away the evidence of GSR on a body in a criminal case before it got a chance to collect it and process it???

    You can't be serious --

    Wha?? No, that is not at all what I said. (1.00 / 1) (#28)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 11:05:24 AM EST
    As you well know.

    Not stippling (none / 0) (#41)
    by toggle on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 08:28:33 PM EST
    Stippling is, as you might assume from the name, a pattern of burns on the skin caused by close proximity to the muzzle when the gun is fired. Obviously you can't wash it off.

    However, there won't be any stippling if the muzzle was in contact or near contact with the skin when it was fired, because the flames and particles from the gun don't have any time to spread out before they hit. You would normally be able to see a distinctive "star" type pattern, but this was a grazing wound.

    Gunshot residue is lead particulate and propellant from the cartridge. It gets thrown everywhere around the gun when it's fired. You would find it on the person who shoots as well as the person who's shot, if he's shot at close range. GSR has a peculiar and distinctive appearance on a microscopic level and it's easy to spot. Plus you ain't going to find lead particulate in dirt on the ground.

    Finding gunshot residue inside a wound, but not stippling around it, is very strong evidence that the wound was inflicted with the muzzle touching the skin or very close to it.

    Gunshot residue CAN be washed off the surface the skin, though it isn't necessarily all going to come off. I find it hard to believe that it could be washed off such that Dr. Baden couldn't find it inside a wound if he looked. But, frankly, I doubt he did. He doesn't sound all that competent or thorough to me anyway. Maybe it's just because he's acting as a hired gun here and not a neutral analyst. It's also possible the affected skin was removed during the prior autopsy.

    c'mon, Mord, we know your a good guy, (none / 0) (#61)
    by fishcamp on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 07:29:13 PM EST
    please don't let us down by getting all mad.

    How do you know he/she is a (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 10:03:21 PM EST
    good guy"?