Jurors witness chilling reenactment in woman's murder

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Prosecutors reenact moments before woman was killed, Kevin Quinn reports. (KTRK)

Prosecutors attempting to convince a jury that a Missouri City man shot and killed his wife in 2014 reenacted the chilling scene in court.

Stephanie Politte was shot in the back of the head while in bed inside the couple's home on March 11, 2014. Attorneys for her husband, Dan Politte, say the shooting was a tragic accident as he attempted to take a gun from her that night while she was in bed and drunk.

Daniel and Stephanie Politte

In court, after convincing Judge Maggie Jaramillo the demonstration would help the jury visualize what they believe the evidence showed at the crime scene, prosecutors Amanda Bolin and Mark Hanna set up a table on which a staff member was asked to lie down on her left side, her head on a pillow.

Evidence showed Stephanie Politte was shot in the back of the head from at least 12 inches away with a revolver later found near her body. In this demonstration, Hanna held a mock gun at a specific angle in an effort to show the jury that the shot, which entered Stephanie Politte's head in the upper right rear section of her skull, could only have been fired while the victim was on the bed in that position on her side, facing away from the gun.

RELATED: Court hears graphic 911 call during husband's murder trial

One prosecution expert testified that Stephanie Politte's head may have even been held against the pillow when she was shot. The bullet never fully exited her face, the pressure keeping the round inside her cheek.

"Her left cheek has to be in hard contact with pillow, that puts her head in a very definitive position," said Crime Scene Investigator Celestina Rossi, a blood spatter expert.

Only a small fragment of the bullet casing exited the wound. It was found on the pillow where Politte was shot. There was only one spent shell casing inside when it was found. Bolin asked Rossi if she had ever heard of "Russian Roulette".

Dan Politte's attorney Stephen Doggett is attempting to place doubt in the minds of jurors, reminding them that only someone who was there the night of the murder would know exactly what happened. He says the gun must have fired when Politte and his wife wrestled over the gun, suggesting that no one can say definitively who pulled the trigger and whether it went off intentionally or accidentally.

Investigator Rossi testified, however, that Stephanie Politte could not have fought over the gun and been shot at the trajectory which the evidence showed. Dogett and defense attorney Katherine Scardino have suggested Politte had a memory lapse and does not remember the gun going off. They say proof of that can be found in Dan Politte's call to 911 in which he never mentioned a gunshot.

He only told a dispatcher his wife was vomiting blood.

Prosecutors also showed the jury a picture discovered by detectives on Stephanie Politte's phone following her death. Investigators say the data on the phone indicates it was taken about 20 minutes before she was shot. The picture shows her sleeping in bed, in the same position as prosecutors say she was when killed.

Related Topics:
murdertrialMissouri City
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