The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 6, 2012

State rests in case against Sixkiller

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The state rested its case Thursday morning in the trial of a 26-year-old Enid man on manslaughter and DUI charges.

Vincent Blaine Sixkiller was charged Nov. 18, 2010, in the death of Robert Ukena, and the severe injury of Michelle Schartz, caused by a four-vehicle crash at about 2:04 a.m. on West Willow five days earlier.

He was charged with first-degree manslaughter, punishable by no less than four years imprisonment, and DUI with great bodily harm, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for one to five years.

Thursday’s defense testimony focused mainly on expert testimony in the field of blood-alcohol testing.

Defense attorney Josh Lee called Dr. Joseph Citron to testify about the tests conducted on Sixkiller’s blood taken following the Nov. 13, 2010, collision.

Citron said after reviewing documents about the testing, he was “enormously concerned” about the testing conducted by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation that returned a 0.23 blood-alcohol reading of Sixkiller’s blood.

Citron said the samples could have been contaminated, allowing bacteria to get into the sample. The bacteria would then consume sugar in the blood, creating alcohol as a byproduct and falsely increasing the reading of alcohol in the blood.

He said the way the blood was drawn also could lead to problems, such as hemolysis, or the damage of red blood cells. The damaged cells’ contents get into the blood, including alcohol, falsely increasing a test.

Upon cross examination, Asai asked Citron if he examined any of the samples from the case himself. Citron said he had not.

“I gleaned my opinions from  the written materials I got,” he said.

Asai then asked Citron how much he was being paid to testify for the dense. Citron initially said he had not calculated the expense, but gave an estimation of “not more than $2,000, including travel expenses.”

Dr. Jimmy Valentine, an expert in pharmacology and toxicology, testified next.

He said OSBI failed to follow proper laboratory protocols in its testing of Sixkiller’s blood.

Lee asked the doctor if he’d formed any opinions about the testing.

“The opinion is that the test is not valid,” he said. “The test is not valid because of the way it was run.”

Valentine said baseline testing of equipment showed indications of the presence of alcohol.

“Is this proof from their own test something is wrong?” Lee asked the doctor.

“Yes,” Valentine said, “there is some problem going on here. There appears to be some type of contamination.”

Asai asked Valentine about one of the last statements he made during his testimony: “No doubt Mr. Sixkiller had alcohol in his blood. The concern here is the level.”

She asked him if this is what he’d told the court. “Yes, ma’am,” the doctor replied.

Defense attorney Evans Chambers called registered nurse Kari Knouse, who was working at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center when Sixkiller came in to have blood drawn.

She said she saw Sixkiller for “only a few seconds” and testified he did not seem drunk. Knouse also said she did not smell an odor of alcohol on Sixkiller ,and said he did not slur his speech when she briefly spoke with him.

Chambers then called Dr. Jeffery Stuart to testify about Sixkiller and Schartz’ conditions following the collision.

Stuart said Sixkiller had a past history of concussions and said Sixkiller suffered another in the 2010 collision.

Chambers asked the doctor about the effects.

“I would be almost certain he had some cerebral dysfunction,” Stuart said.

Chambers asked Stuart if after reviewing medical records for Schartz, if it was his opinion she suffered “great bodily harm.”

“The patient (Schartz) was showing steady improvement,” he told the court. “There is no way I was able to say this patient was disabled.”

Asai asked the doctor if he made his evaluations without examining either patient, and Stuart said he did.

“I did not examine the patient at any time,” he said. “Again, my opinion is based upon the review of the medical record.”

Asai then asked Stuart if he would disagree with the testimony of Dr. Joseph Knapik, who testified earlier that Schartz suffered great bodily harm in the collision.

“He has examined the patient,” Stuart said, “I can’t argue with it.”

Several character witnesses were called, including Sixkiller’s former middle school principal and boss.

Tonya Miller was as the defense’s first witness. She told the court she was attacked by Schartz last September while shopping with her son at Walmart. She said the attack on her was unprovoked.

“She started yelling at me and cussing at me about the accident,” Miller said of Schartz. “When I turned about she punched me on the right side of the face.”

Miller said she was a friend of the defendant and knew who Schartz, was but did not know her personally.

The trial resumes at 9 a.m. today.