On the final day of the preliminary hearing in the Han family murder case, forensic pathologist Dr. Manny Montez took the stand to relay his findings in the violent deaths of Dr. Henry Han, wife Jennie Yu, and their 5-year-old daughter, Emily.
There were no details left to the imagination as Montez testified about the victims’ autopsies. Guided by prosecuting attorney Benjamin Ladinig, Montez began with Emily, who he discovered had sustained eight, small caliber gunshot wounds to her head. The courtroom fell silent as large photos depicting the trauma to Emily’s face and head were projected for Judge Brian Hill to view. Defendant Pierre Haobsh was the only person in the room to noticeably turn away from the images.
Montez explained six of the eight gunshot wounds were considered fatal and that Emily had breathed some blood into her lungs before dying. One wound on her forehead stood out as noticeably larger than the others with increased trauma to the skin around it. Montez testified the gun had been pressed directly against her head when it was fired.
Jennie and Henry Han’s autopsies were shown next. Both had sustained three bullet wounds to their heads. Montez testified that the lack of gunshot residue on the wounds suggested that a silencer was used on the weapon.
During her cross-examination, Senior Deputy Public Defender Christine Voss attempted to undermine Montez’s expertise and the conclusions he had made about the victims. She questioned his experience with small caliber firearms and gun silencers, given previous statements he had made about it being relatively uncommon to see both used in a case.
District Attorney Joyce Dudley watched intently as the final day of the preliminary hearing proceeded. While she has never sought the death penalty during her term in office, prosecutors have suggested that it might be on the table for Haobsh. That decision will be made after the preliminary hearing concludes.