Medical examiner details cause of death in first day of murder trial testimony
Nov. 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Presiding Judge: District Judge Skipper Koetter
Defense attorney: Jerry Clark
Prosecutor: Victoria County Assistant District Attorney Eli Garza
William Lance Ponton's left lung was punctured, and he was stabbed through the heart, Travis County Chief Medical Examiner David Dolinak told a Victoria County jury Monday.
Dolinak testified at the trial of Daulton Jakob Buffum, 21, of Kenedy, who is charged with murder in the stabbing death of 20-year-old Ponton at a house party in August 2010.
While Dolinak described Ponton's injuries, Victoria County assistant district attorney Eli Garza, who is prosecuting the case, showed pictures of Ponton's body to the jury on a large projector screen.
The medical examiner also said alcohol and marijuana were present in Ponton's system.
"(Ponton) had some troubles in his past. Some tattoos, and yes, I told you he had some drugs in his system," said Garza during opening statements. "I ask that you find this defendant guilty of what he did - that's murder."
Ponton died the morning of Aug. 4, 2010, after being stabbed the previous night during a house party in the 1500 block of West Beck Road.
Jerry Clark, Buffum's attorney, told jurors during opening statements that his client stabbed Ponton in self-defense.
Ponton, who was wearing brass knuckles, became angry after Buffum tried to stop him from flirting with a girl at the party, said Clark.
"(Ponton) had them. He showed them around. He talked abut what a bad (expletive) he was. Then he proved it by using them," Clark said about Ponton and the brass knuckles.
"On Aug. 4, 2010, a horrible tragedy occurred. A homicide. But it wasn't murder."
Several witnesses also testified about the crime scene, which contained alcohol bottles and blood spatter.
Garza said Buffum's cousin Ethan Kole Ender is expected to testify.
A co-defendant in the case, Ender, 21, is charged with aggravated assault for holding Ponton down during the stabbing.
Garza said a plea bargain is on the table for Ender.
Clark said his client also plans to take the stand in his own defense.
"He's going to look you in the eye and tell you what happened," said Clark. "He's going to tell you what was going through his mind."