Ramsey County Medical Examiner Michael B. McGee could not determine with any degree of medical certainty whether Barbara (Bobbi) Winn's death on May 8, 1981, was an accident, a suicide or a homicide.
After an extensive autopsy, McGee ruled in June 1981 that the manner of death was "undetermined," he told jurors Monday in the Aaron W. Foster murder trial.
"Has your mind changed at all since June 1981?" defense attorney Earl Gray asked.
"No," McGee replied.
Foster, 56, is charged with third-degree murder in Winn's death. He has contended all along that she killed herself.
Jurors were shown photographs taken during Winn's autopsy of the fatal gunshot wound in her chest and of bruises found on her face and arm that McGee called "fresh."
Another photo showed a soot mark and two small bruises on Winn's left palm, just below her pinky finger, that McGee said likely came from a firearm.
"I think this hand was holding or was in contact with the cylinder on the firearm," he said.
The forensic pathologist also said Winn's blood-alcohol content at the time of her death was 0.13 percent. At that time, the legal limit for driving was 0.10; now it is 0.08.
Winn had been at the Tipsy Tiger bar in St. Paul in the hours before her death. After a confrontation with Foster at the bar, she told him to move out of her Maplewood town home.
Among the witnesses Monday was John Kilty, a retired forensic scientist with the FBI, who said he analyzed swabs taken from Winn's and Foster's hands for gunshot residue.
The residue was found on swabs taken from Winn's hands, indicating that she fired a gun or was in close proximity to a fired gun. "No significant amounts" were found on swabs from Foster's hands, Kilty said.
But under questioning from prosecutor Andrew Johnson, Kilty said gunshot residue is "easily removed," by washing or wiping hands or even putting hands in a pocket.
"Is gunshot residue analysis capable of distinguishing between a suicide or a close-range homicide?" Johnson asked.
"No," Kilty replied.
Brenda Jones, a longtime friend of both Winn's and Foster's families, testified Monday that Winn said she was going to get a restraining order against Foster after their confrontation at the Tipsy Tiger.
Although Jones said Maplewood investigators never contacted her about Winn's death, she admitted she never contacted them either.
Testimony is expected to be completed today.
Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551