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Derek Chauvin Trial, April 9: ME Who Ruled Floyd's Death A Homicide Testifies

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- There were more medical experts taking the stand Friday in the Derek Chauvin trial, including the doctor responsible for George Floyd's autopsy, Dr. Andrew Baker. He faced some tough questioning from defense attorney Eric Nelson, but said that he classified Floyd's death as a homicide.

"Had Mr. Floyd been home alone in his locked residence, and no evidence of trauma, and the only autopsy finding was that fentanyl level then, yes, I would certify his death as due to fentanyl toxicity. Again, interpretation of drug interactions is very context-dependent," Baker said.

Before Baker's testimony, packets of autopsy photographs were passed out to each juror and the parties. Chauvin carefully went through what appeared to be the photographs, taking notes before putting them on his desk.

Baker testified Floyd had narrowing of arteries surrounding the heart.

"Floyd had a heart that weighed more than it should, so he had a heart that needs more oxygen than a normal heart by virtue of its size," Baker said.

Baker's autopsy lists law enforcement restraint and neck compression as part of the cause of death. It also lists contributing factors, including heart disease, fentanyl intoxication, and methamphetamine use.

Under cross-examination, Baker was asked about once describing the level of fentanyl in Floyd's body as a lethal amount.

The chief medical examiner who ruled Floyd's death a homicide was the second expert to testify Friday. Earlier, forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas testified it was definitely the police restraint causing a lack of oxygen that caused Floyd's death.

"There is no evidence to suggest he would have died that night except for the interactions with law enforcement," Thomas said.

For the first time since the start of jury selection, Chauvin actually had someone in the courtroom for him. The woman was described by a pool reporter as a woman of Asian decent with curly hair, who at times spoke to Chauvin but did not give her name or her relationship to Chauvin when pool reporters asked.

Someone from Floyd's family has been in the courtroom throughout the trial.

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