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Victim's injuries detailed in cold case murder trial

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 8:22 PM
Last updated 8:27 PM
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At 87, Pauline McCoy was still strong enough to hold a job and take care of herself and her little home in the Hyde Park community.



But few people could have survived the horrific injuries she suffered in December 1986. The doctor who performed her autopsy compared them to what happens to a person in a head-on crash in a vehicle without air bags.

But that wasn’t all she suffered, Dr. Kenneth Alonso testified.

She was stabbed at least 15 times. Most were superficial or shallow cuts to her chest, the front and back of her hands, under her right eye and genitals, Alonso testified. The only deep cut – and it nearly went through her body – was just above the pelvis, Alonso testified.

The inside of her body revealed more damage. Her sternum and ribs were fractured. There was hemorrhaging around her neck, likely caused by strangulation, Alonso testified. There was a hemorrhage on her heart. Her diaphragm was ruptured. Her lungs had bled on the inside. The large, resilient muscle that runs from the spine to the hip was significantly damaged, most likely by kicks to the back, Alonso testified.

More than a dozen possible suspects were interviewed and their fingerprints were compared to the one solid piece of physical evidence investigators had in 1986: bloody fingerprints left under a bathroom window. There were no matches. Jimmy Lee Riley was among those suspects.

It wasn’t that the original potential suspects were eliminated, testified Louis Cuendet, who was then the fingerprint examiner with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab. Too much was missing from the mystery print to make a match, he said.

The case grew cold and dormant.

In 2012, Richmond County Sheriff Investigator Ashley Pletcher was caught up on her violent crime case load and picked up the McCoy cold case file. She thought a good place to start was to have the original list of potential suspects ruled out by fingerprint comparison, Pletcher testified. She asked Investigator Tom Johnson of the department’s crime scene unit to help.

“Initially I didn’t have much hope for it,” Johnson said of the prints from the crime scene. But he scanned the prints and enlarged the one that provided the most detail, he testified.

Riley’s left index was a match. He asked co-worker Steve Fanning and Sgt. Jim Gordon to examine the enlarged crime scene print with Riley’s prints. Both verified the match.

The same material was sent to Cuendet at the GBI crime lab. This time, Cuendet also found Riley to be a match.

Two things changed between 1986 and 2012 that made the match possible, Cuendet testified: the crime scene prints had been chemically enhanced in 2004, and a newer set of Riley’s fingerprints proved to be more complete.

The prosecution is expected to rest its case this morning in Richmond County Superior Court.

The back story

COLD CASE ON TRIAL

BACKGROUND: On Dec. 21, 1986, the body of 87-year-old Pauline McCoy was found in her Golden Rod Street home. She had been beaten, strangled and stabbed.

DEVELOPMENTS:

• A single legible bloody fingerprint was left at the scene as, investigators believe, the killer crawled out the bathroom window.

• Jimmy Lee Riley, 53, was charged in June 2012 with murder, burglary and a weapon charge in McCoy’s death.

• Seven months after McCoy’s killing, an Augusta woman was raped in her home by Riley. He was convicted of rape and sentenced to five years in prison in October 1989.

TUESDAY’S ACTION: Fingerprint examiners, medical examiner and the detective who cracked the case in 2012 testified.

Comments (12) Add comment
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dichotomy
34491
Points
dichotomy 10/22/13 - 09:47 pm
8
0
A rapist and a murderer.

A rapist and a murderer. Sounds like needle time to me.

nocnoc
45086
Points
nocnoc 10/23/13 - 07:37 am
8
1
Why does the touchy-feely crowd protest

Death Penalty Executions of such animals?

The suspect is now in his mid 50's, he'll never see the needle with all the appeals he can and/or his lawyer will file.

Now he'll have a temperature controlled room, TV, 3 meals, snacks, clothing and medical care until he dies.

Someone please explain to me how justice has or will be done?

nocnoc
45086
Points
nocnoc 10/23/13 - 07:41 am
8
1
The 5 year Rape sentence.

Why just 5 years?
The Law: O.C.G.A. § 16-6-1. Rape.
b) A person convicted of the offense of rape shall be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, by imprisonment for life, or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life. Any person convicted under this Code section shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17- 10-7.

nocnoc
45086
Points
nocnoc 10/23/13 - 07:42 am
9
0
Major Kudo's

For Richmond County Sheriff Investigator Ashley Pletcher.

Austin Rhodes
2907
Points
Austin Rhodes 10/23/13 - 08:08 am
3
1
There is a fairly significant footnote to this case...

...and its absence in the story is odd...and disappointing.

nocnoc
45086
Points
nocnoc 10/23/13 - 08:10 am
4
1
Austin - leaves a Teaser

Tune in at 3pm for the Rest of the Story?

Marinerman1
5093
Points
Marinerman1 10/23/13 - 08:24 am
5
0
Nope...

A needle is WAY to painless and quick for THIS piece of excrement.

Fiat_Lux
15913
Points
Fiat_Lux 10/23/13 - 12:45 pm
3
0
nocnoc
45086
Points
nocnoc 10/23/13 - 03:26 pm
2
0
Our extended family still doubts the accidental death ruling

of the 1970's JC Penneys Night Mgr. Mr. Reyes who was died according to police, after accidentally falling down and elevator shaft?

Austin Rhodes
2907
Points
Austin Rhodes 10/23/13 - 04:32 pm
4
0
This was the case file...

...that sat in a heap of trash on the floor in Richard Roundtree's vacated apartment back in 2008. Had it been trashed or destroyed, as it very likely would have been if not for an unusually conscientious cleaning lady, Mr. Riley would have never been indicted, much less convicted as he was moments ago, in the murder of Mrs. McCoy.

LIFE +25 years.

nocnoc
45086
Points
nocnoc 10/23/13 - 06:44 pm
1
1
Austin please tell us

ONLY the paper case files were left behind.

An not the Physical evidence was left behind.

Otherwise we are looking at grounds for an appeal,
if the chain of custody was broken.

We don't need this animal walking ARC again.

JustLilMe
112
Points
JustLilMe 10/24/13 - 05:47 am
2
0
All these articles repeatedly

All these articles repeatedly show the face of this convicted animal, yet not once have we seen a photo of this reportedly gracious lady.
We need to show her face, and remind people that we value good (people) over evil (people).

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