On Tuesday, prosecutors rested their case in the murder trial of John Salvi, accused of murdering two women in an attack on two abortion clinics in Brookline, Mass. They concluded their case with graphic testimony from Dr. Richard Evans, the chief Massachusetts medical examiner, describing the damage to the bodies of Lee Ann Nichols, shot 10 times, and Shannon Lowney, shot twice. The jury was prevented from seeing part of a videotape showing Lowney’s body shortly after the shooting.
The defense opened its case with the testimony of Harvard University psychiatrist Dr. Donald Goff, an expert on schizophrenia who described the disease’s symptoms. Dr. Goff has not examined Salvi. Defense lawyers say Salvi was insane at the time he committed the crimes, and they are expected to bring in half-a-dozen mental health workers. Prosecutors will rebut with state psychiatrists testifying that Salvi is sane by legal standards.
If convicted, Salvi would face a mandatory life sentence in prison. An acquittal by reason of insanity would confine him to a mental hospital, but he could be released if authorities later conclude he is sane.