Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The murder trial of Kim A. “Junior” Norquay Jr. Enters its fifth day today in state District Court in Havre, with the prosecution continuing to call witnesses to testify. Norquay is charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with physical evidence, both felonies, in the death of Lloyd “Lucky” Kvalstad in the home of Mellissa “Missy” Snow on Nov. 25, 2006. He is accused of participating in the assault that resulted in Kvalstad’s death, and with washing blood off of his shoes after the assault was committed. Snow has pleaded guilty and been sentenced for tampering with evidence and James Joseph Main Jr. Awaits trial on a charge of deliberate homicide stemming from the incident. The courtroom has been reserved through Nov. 26 for the trial, which started with a full day of jury selection on Wednesday, Nov. 12. Judge Laurie McKinnon of Shelby, who is presiding over the trial, told the jury pool during selection that the hope was to finish the trial within two weeks. Dr. Walter Kemp, who performed the autopsy on Kvalstad at the state Crime Lab in Missoula, testified Monday. He said his findings were that the likely cause of death was by blunt force trauma or strangulation by a ligature, or cord, although he could not rule out manual strangulation being strangled by a person’s hands or drowning. Kemp described photographs he took during the autopsy, showing abrasions, lacerations and contusions on Kvalstad’s face and also showing a cord tied tightly around the victim’s neck, which left furRows on his neck when the cord was removed. The cord has been identified as possibly being the drawstring from the hooded sweatshirt Norquay was wearing the night of Kvalstad’s death. Norquay originally told officers he did not pull the drawstring from his sweatshirt, but that Main had pulled it out when Norquay tried to stop him while Main was scuffling with Kvalstad. After being told of the statement of another witness, Norquay amended his story, saying he did pull the drawstring out but threw it in a trash bag in Snow’s kitchen. Kemp testified that, although the trauma to Kvalstad’s head would not generally be enough to cause death, because the victim had been drinking that night, combined with alcohol the trauma could have led to his death. Kemp also testified that he checked for possible drowning because there was suspicion that Kvalstad’s head may have been held inside a toilet. While he found some liquid in the victim’s sinus cavities, including a mixture of blood and mucous, that was inconclusive, Kemp testified. Kemp said he also could not rule out that Kvalstad had been strangled by hand. Kemp said he found hemorrhages on Kvalstad’s eyes due to capillaries bursting, which is consistent with strangulation. When cross-examined by Norquay’s attorney, Vince Van Der Hagen, Kemp testified that hemorrhages such as what he found on Kvalstad’s eyes can be caused by other factors, even lifting weights. Kemp testified that there was no evidence that Kvalstad had struggled when the cord was tied around his neck, or if he was strangled by hand, due to a lack of abrasions or bruises that would likely have occurred while he struggled. Kvalstad was likely unconscious or otherwise incapacitated when strangulation occurred, Kemp said. He said he listed four possible causes of death because, from the evidence, he could not conclusively say what had caused Kvalstad’s death and the victim could have died before the sweatshirt drawstring was tied on him. “Yet, if you tie that cord around anyone’s neck, they would die,” he said. Kemp also testified that he found a bloody, patterned imprint on the back of Kvalstad’s sweatshirt. The Crime Lab found that the pattern consistent with treads on a tennis shoe could have been made by the shoes worn by Norquay that night, a court document said. The expert at the Crime Lab said the prints “were from someone repeatedly lifting his foot and putting it back down in the same vicinity, as opposed to one footprint.” A bruise was also found on Kvalstad’s back, Kemp said, testifying that he did no work to correlate the mark on the sweatshirt, which was sent to another department of the Crime Lab for analysis, with the bruise. Under cross-examination by Van Der Hagen, Kemp testified that the marks could have been made by the victim falling or being shoved against a patterned fixture or area if he contacted the item with enough force to bruise his skin.