Daniel Greco was confronted in court on Monday with an autopsy photo of the unborn child he allegedly killed in March 2016.
But the jurors who are to decide whether Greco is guilty of capital murder did not get to see that photo on Monday. The photograph became another hill in the battle Greco’s defense attorneys are fighting to assert that Anjanette Harris’ own drinking could have killed the unborn child growing inside her and not simply Greco’s admitted strangulation of the woman.
During a hearing without jurors present, Greco’s defense attorneys asked Judge Jonathan Bailey to keep the photo out of the record and away from jurors.
Attorney Caroline Simone told the judge that showing the autopsy photo would be prejudicial and that it would do nothing to help the jury make any decisions on whether Greco killed both Harris and the child at the same time. Assistant District Attorney Michael Graves told the judge the photo was relevant because the defense is contesting what caused the death of the child.
While the attorneys went back and forth with case law, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office pathologist whose testimony was to be aided by the autopsy photo sat quietly in the witness stand Monday afternoon.
The witness, Dr. Marc Krouse, opined after his colleague, Dr. Allison Mautone, finished the March 7, 2016, autopsy that the unborn child died at about the same time as, and as a result of, Harris’ death. They found no evidence the unborn child died due to Harris’ drinking. Krouse even said the woman would have had to drink herself to death in order to kill the fetus with alcohol.
Krouse eventually got to say all this to the jury, but held out of sight was the photo of the 18-week fetus with which Greco was confronted.
Whether the photo itself plays a role in the verdict might just be impossible to tell without interviewing all 15 jurors (there are three alternates). But from the opening statements, Greco’s defense attorneys have sought to manage any potential emotional reactions the jurors might have to the evidence presented in court.
Simone outright told jurors during opening statements they’d see a lot of damning photos but to cast aside any emotions and pay attention to what evidence the Denton County District Attorney’s Office does not present.
Bailey told the attorneys they would need to make their arguments for and against the photo being admitted to the record in front of the jury on Tuesday, when the trial resumes at 8:30 a.m. in Denton County’s 431st District Court. Bailey said he would rule on that objection Tuesday.
The judge indicated the state would likely call its final witness, Texas Ranger Clair Barnes, on Tuesday or Wednesday and rest its case.
Barnes, who got Greco to confess to accidentally killing Harris during a sexual encounter by strangling her, was seen in the court’s hallway on Monday afternoon, but he did not get to testify before Bailey dismissed the jurors at about 4 p.m.