Widmer defense calls expert anatomical pathologist

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LEBANON, OH (FOX19) -  An expert anatomical pathologist took the stand for the defense on Thursday, the 12th day of testimony in Ryan Widmer's third trial.

Widmer is on trial for killing his wife, Sarah, in the bathtub of their Hamilton Township home in August of 2008.

Dr. Gregory Michael Balko, an anatomical pathologist with subspecialties of neuropathology and forensic pathology, took the stand on Thursday. He testified in the first trial but not the second. He is one of the expert witnesses that was approved to be paid for with taxpayer money, because Widmer is broke from paying legal fees for two trials.

Balko said he has an agreement with the court on what he will be paid, but it will not exceed a certain amount. When asked by defense attorney Jay Clark why he was helping Ryan on a reduced rate, the question was objected and sustained.

Balko testified that he believed that adequate samples from Sarah Widmer's brain and heart were not taken during an autopsy by Warren County coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove, and therefore it would be nearly impossible to determine if she suffered from a cardiac or neurological event that would have caused her death. He demonstrated how it could be difficult to determine this by dissecting two pigs brains on the stand. He agreed during cross examination that he would have conducted the autopsy Dr. Uptegrove differently, as well as the autopsy conducted by Dr. Werner Spitz, who performed a second autopsy for the defense before Widmer's first trial.

He said it was possible Sarah suffered from Andersen Towil syndrome, a type of Long QT syndrome and rare genetic disorder. Some symptoms include migraines and a cleft palate, which Sarah had as a child.

Court did not start Thursday until 1:30 p.m. due to the scheduling of Dr. Balko. He is the only witness expected to testify Thursday.

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