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Murder accused weeps as autopsy photos of wife shown in court

Forensic pathologist testifies about Deena Brooks' final moments and death
Brooks trial Beretta
Court exhibit photo of 9mm Beretta entered at first-degree murder trial of Mitchell Brooks

A man accused of murdering his wife dabbed his eyes with a tissue, looked away and wept as autopsy photos were shown in Barrie court.

Mitchell Brooks, 51, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree-murder in the death of his wife Deena, 50, a lab technician at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

The jury has listened to a recording of a dramatic 911 call Mitchell Brooks made on May 24, 2013 to say his wife had been shot in their New Lowell home, west of Barrie. 

"My wife's been shot," Brooks is heard on the recording. 

The call-taker asks Brooks where his wife was shot, with what and who shot her.

 "In the chest," Brooks replies. "A gun. Uh, we were fighting over it."

"What do I do?  What do I do?" he cries in a frantic voice. 

In the nearly 20-minute recording, the call-taker instructs the sometimes sobbing Brooks on how to do CPR on his wife who he says is "all blue" and "so cold."

"She's making weird noises, gurgling," he says to the call-taker, who keeps Brooks on the line until emergency crews arrive. 

"What about my kids?" he wails at one point and tells the call-taker one of his daughters is in Europe and the other is at the prom.

The 911 call was released to the media on Monday as testimony focussed on Deena Brooks' final moments and the cause of death. 

Dr. Toby Rose, the Deputy Chief Forensic Pathologist in Ontario who has performed more than 5,000 autopsies in her career, testified as an expert witness. 

Dr. Rose did the postmortem on Deena Brooks and told the jury Deena died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

As photos of Deena's body were shown on large video screens in the courtroom, Brooks grimaced and appeared to cry as Rose testified about his wife's fatal wound.

"The bullet passed right through the right side of her chest" and exited out her back, Rose testified.

"It was not a contact wound," Rose testified but said the range was indeterminate. 

"Can you say how long it would take for her to die?" Crown attorney Mary Anne Alexander asked.

"A minute to a few minutes," Rose testified. 

Rose told the court that Deena also had blunt force trauma including two broken ribs on her left side and bruising on her left wrist, that "could have been from a forceful grab."

Earlier in the day two OPP officers testified about searching Mitchell Brooks' wood shop and finding three handguns. 

Court heard that two handguns wrapped in blue plastic were found hidden in large industrial tools and a third handgun was located inside a locked gun case. 

The jury has already seen a photo of the handgun used to kill Deena - a 9mm Beretta. 

Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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