Medical examiner takes the stand in Sanders-Galvez trial

The trial will continue Monday

Keokuk, Iowa - The first week in the trial of a Missouri man charged with murdering a popular Burlington teen wraps.

Testimony from the medical examiner concluded Kedarie Johnson was shot to death despite finding something stuffed down his throat.

Prosecutors say the defendants killed him because they found out he was a young man while thinking he was a girl by the way he was dressed.

Before the jury stepped foot back into the courtroom, day four of a trial in the case of Kedarie Johnson's murder was underway. 

The judge returned the case early to rule on a defense motion to exclude 11 recorded conversations of the defendant Jorge Sanders-Galvez and his girlfriend.

Defense attorney Curtis Dial argued they're prejudicial to his client because of comments his girlfriend made about the case and remarks Sanders-Galvez made to her.

Judge Mary Ann Brown said, "Portions of those conversations, the possible prejudice does outways the pertinent value because of the tone and nature of the comments that have nothing to do with this case."

The ruling is a partial win for the defense, with only one to be heard in its entirety and parts of two others.

These conversations occurred while Sanders-Galvez was in jail and after his girlfriend finished taking part in grand jury investigation.

The state then continues making its way through witnesses, calling medical examiners who handled the remains of 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson.

This included showing the jury several photos of his remains, all while family and friends look on.

It showed a plastic bag down his throat with signs he struggled to breathe, but the medical examiner says that was not the cause of death.

Medical examiner Marcus Nashelsky, M.D. said, "Mr. Johnson died of gunshots wounds to the chest."

State Attorney Laura Roan said, "He did not die of asphyxia?"

Nashelsky said, "That's correct."

The ME noted two close-range gunshot wounds and possible graze marks from bullets on the right side of his head. 

Lead Investigator Burlington Detective Eric Short also retook the stand, reviewing surveillance video of co-defendants Sanders-Galvez and Jaron Purham, along with Johnson at a grocery store shortly before he died.

Short says they came within 20 feet of each other but never interacted.

He also detailed a search of the place the defendants were living, where some of Johnson's belongings were found.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday.

Sanders-Galvez has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

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