Surgeon and amputee scheduled to testify at Norwich 'Goth' trial
A man who had his legs amputated two years ago under suspicious circumstances is expected to begin testifying Thursday at the trial in New London Superior Court of his former roommate, Kristopher P. Prudhomme, who is charged with inflicting the life-altering injuries.
Michael Lovering, then 35, and Prudhomme were living in an apartment on East Main Street in Norwich and were involved with the Goth scene, according to court documents and testimony. Prudhomme is accused of strangling Lovering with the string of a leather corset after learning that Lovering had sex with Prudhomme's girlfriend, Lauren Muskus. The state alleges Prudhomme left Lovering in an unnatural position in his bedroom that resulted in Lovering losing circulation to both legs.
Prudhomme, 30, now of Houston, Texas, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, first-degree strangulation, intentional cruelty to persons and tampering with physical evidence. He turned down a plea offer that involved a seven-year prison sentence and opted for a jury trial.
Lovering, now living in the Baton Rouge, La., area., traveled to New London this week with his mother. Prosecutor Stephen M. Carney told Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed on Wednesday that he hopes Lovering will begin testifying Thursday and finish on Friday so that he and his mother can fly home as scheduled this weekend, before the Thanksgiving travel rush.
Before calling Lovering to testify, emergency room physician Melissa Lin Monte, who treated a "very sick" Lovering at The William W. Backus Hospital, will finish testimony that she began Wednesday, followed by testimony from the vascular surgeon at Hartford Hospital who performed the amputation.
Prudhomme had called police about 5:35 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2016, a Saturday afternoon, to say Lovering had tried to commit suicide by strangling himself and was not doing well. As the trial began Tuesday, police officers and a paramedic who went to the men's apartment testified they found Lovering lying on his back in his bedroom with his legs bent at the knees and his feet tucked under his buttocks. They said he had red marks on his neck and appeared to have been strangled but that there was no rope or other ligature visible in the apartment.
Police allege Muskus took the leather corset to her home in Monroe. She also faces criminal charges and it is unclear whether she will be called to testify at Prudhomme's trial.
Lin Monte, the emergency room physician, said Lovering had an elevated heart rate, high temperature and was breathing rapidly when he arrived at Backus. She started him on fluids and antibiotics and eventually received his permission to intubate and sedate him in order to stabilize his vital signs. She said laboratory tests indicated he was in kidney failure and liver shock and suffering from muscle breakdown. Though he was able to tell her he had a couple of drinks the previous night, no alcohol was detected in Lovering's blood and he also tested negative for cocaine, opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and other substances, according to Lin Monte.
Lin Monte said she noticed neck markings consistent with strangulation, and that Lovering had a pattern of redness to the back of his legs that was strangely symmetrical. She said he had a pulse in his lower legs, though his calves felt hard instead of being soft and squishy.
Once he was stabilized, Lovering was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit but sometime later his lower legs became mottled and blue and no longer had a peripheral pulse. Lin Monte said she arranged for him to be taken to Hartford Hospital by LifeStar helicopter.
The jury was sent out of the courtroom for more than a half-hour Wednesday as defense attorney Damon A.R. Kirschbaum challenged whether Lin Monte should be able to offer her opinion that the strangulation marks on Lovering's necks were related to his other injuries and that it appeared Lovering was "hanging" in a position for a prolonged period of time with his legs folded beneath him.
The judge is expected to rule on the defense objections when the trial resumes.
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