ME: Evidence was destroyed in DOC detainee’s death

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Dr. Espinola says the jail cell where the victim was found was wiped clean of blood.

Guam – Not only is foul play involved in the death of a prisoner last week, but Medical Examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola believes that, based on his observations, an attempt was made to destroy evidence of the detainee’s beating.

According to Dr. Espinola, this is because the detainee, identified as 33-year-old Manson Ernest, had a fresh change of clothes on him and the cell he was in was wiped clean of blood. Espinola explains that this is why he initially suspected Ernest died of natural causes when he was called out to the scene.

But upon a complete autopsy, Dr. Espinola discovered injuries consistent with a beating, including a contusion to Ernest’s face. This severe of a beating, Dr. Espinola says, would have involved blood, which was not found inside the cell where corrections officials claim the victim was discovered, or on Ernest’s clothes.

Espinola notes that there was evidence that the victim threw up blood during the attack, and he adds that Ernest passed away within the 8 hours before he was found, leaving plenty of time for the victim to be cleaned up.

In fact, Dr. Espinola says he was told that at one point, five individuals were attacking Ernest all at once.

The medical examiner ruled Ernest’s death a homicide and said he died of a crushed chest and lacerated liver.