Derek Chauvin’s lawyer has used the argument that George Floyd might have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning to make a point about how jurors should weigh evidence.
Remember, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, brought an expert witness last week to talk about other factors that might have contributed to Floyd’s death. This witness, forensic pathologist Dr David Fowler, told jurors that carbon monoxide from the tailpipe near Floyd’s head—he was restrained prone against the ground during his fatal encounter with police—might have contributed to his death.
Prosecutors re-called their expert witness, Dr Martin Tobin, to rebut Fowler’s testimony; they have contended that Floyd died from a lack of oxygen.
That the defense has used carbon monoxide to explain, in part, Floyd’s death has come to a surprise for many.
“Take the time and conduct an honest assessment of the facts in this case,” Nelson has implored jurors.”We have to be intellectually honest about the evidence.”
Dr Tobin “told you we can completely disregard, we know conclusively” that Floyd didn’t have carbon monoxide poisoning because his blood-oxygen saturation was 98 percent, Nelson says.
We “could get up and argue to you we know this isn’t asphyxiation because George Floyd had a 98 percent oxygen level,” he says, “But that’s not intellectually honest.”
“It doesn’t stack up against the rest of the evidence because of what we know.”
Nelson has pointed to the fact that paramedics were manually breathing for Floyd, and re-oxygenating his blood during these efforts.
Nelson’s efforts are part of his entreaties to jurors that they consider evidence in a global way, the big picture rather than snippets of video.
“Essentially, what the state has to convince you, is the evidence in this case completely eliminates any reasonable doubt or in other words leaving only unreasonable doubt.”
“You need to review the entirety of the evidence of this case,” he says.
“Take the time and conduct an honest assessment of the facts in this case.”