Soldotna police officer David Bower found a woman on the floor bleeding and gasping for breath, and a young man standing nearby screaming as the officer entered their home in response to a 911 report of a stabbing, he told a Kenai jury in the murder trial of 24-year-old Adam Israel on Friday.
Bower was the first emergency responder to arrive at the scene of the stabbing, and an audio recorder he carried with him into the residence captured a slice of the chaos he encountered as he entered the home of 43-year-old Dorothy Israel and her son, Adam, who has been charged with first-degree murder in her stabbing death on Jan. 29, 2005.
“Hurry up, now, now, now ... where’s the f-ing ambulance?” Adam is heard screaming in the recording, which was played to jurors Friday.
A dog barks and a busy signal is heard buzzing from a phone in the background as Bower ascends the stairs to the house’s second floor, where he finds Adam and his mother, who lay beside a bloody kitchen knife on the kitchen floor.
Bower asks Adam what happened, but Adam doesn’t answer.
“Just f-ing kill me ... ,” Adam is heard saying in the recording. “I can’t believe that just happened, man.”
Shortly after Bower arrived, a second Soldotna officer, a trooper and Central Emergency Services medics also arrived, he said.
Adam was handcuffed and led from the house to a patrol vehicle parked outside, while medics worked to save Dorothy’s life.
Bower said that when he arrived at the scene, but had not yet entered the house, he noticed a young boy, later identified as Adam’s 8-year-old brother, Corbin Schoeffel, sitting in the passenger seat of a Ford Explorer parked in the driveway.
Testimony heard earlier in the trial suggests Corbin was waiting in the truck for his mother, who was planning to take him to the Caribou Hills for a weekend of snowmachining.
After Adam was handcuffed and led from the house, Bower intercepted Corbin, who was climbing the stairs to the second floor of the house, Bower said. Trying to shield Corbin from seeing his dying mother, Bower ushered him out of the house to a patrol vehicle.
After Dorothy was taken to Central Peninsula General Hospital, and Adam was taken to the Soldotna Police Department, officers did not immediately find any family members to care for Corbin and he was also taken to the Soldotna Police Department.
Officer Jared Meyer, who watched over Corbin as he tried to locate family members, was the first to tell Corbin that his mother died.
In his testimony Friday, Meyer fought back tears as he described Corbin’s reaction to learning his mother had died.
At the time, Corbin had been playing games on a computer in the police station, he said.
When Corbin learned his mother had died, he cried, angrily stood up, asked for a club and tried to go down a hallway that led to where Adam was being held in an interview room, Meyer said.
“I had to stop him from walking down the hallway,” he said in a strained voice.
Dorothy was declared deceased at about 1 p.m., a little less than an hour after dispatch received Adam’s 911 call reporting the stabbing at 12:13 p.m.
A forensics examiner who later conducted an autopsy on Dorothy’s body, and also testified Friday, told jurors the knife wound that caused her death had sunk approximately five inches into her body and had punctured one of her lungs.
The knife wound was on the left side of Dorothy’s back below her shoulder and three inches to the left of her body’s midline, said Franc Fallico, a chief medical examiner for Alaska.
The 2 1/4 inch-long knife wound caused Dorothy to bleed and obstructed her breath as blood leaked into her lungs, but blood loss was likely the primary mechanism that led to her death, he said.
A single knife wound was found on her body and no offensive of defensive wounds, such arm and leg bruises, were found, he said.
Earlier in the trial, jurors were told Dorothy had been wearing multiple layers of clothing, including two sweaters, a shirt and a jacket, when she was stabbed.
On Friday, District Attorney June Stein asked Fallico how much force it would take to drive a knife through the layers of clothing found and create the five-inch-deep wound.
Fallico said it’s hard to quantitate the force that may have been used in a case such as this, but guessed that the wound would have required a moderate to large amount of force.
In opening arguments Tuesday, Stein told jurors Adam is a controlling man and that his need to control led him to intentionally kill his mother.
Public defender Marvin Hamilton, however, argued Adam had been battling internal demons when the stabbing occurred and had intended to kill himself rather than his mother.
Patrice Kohl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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