Cause of Death

From the Petition, page 25

The State’s expert pathologist at trial was Medical Examiner Paul Shrode.

The parties did not know at the time, but Mr. Shrode had lied about his qualifications to work as a medical examiner. In fact, Mr. Shrode was not qualified to give an expert opinion about what caused Mr. Honeycutt’s death, and was dismissed from his post in 2010 after an Ohio prisoner received clemency on the basis of Dr. Shrode’s fraudulent testimony.

Shrode’s lack of qualification was no mere technicality. Mr. Shrode made fundamental errors when testifying about his “expert opinion” in Richard’s trial. Because Mr. Shrode did not understand basic medical principles of pulmonary pathology, he could not understand the physiological signs that pointed towards a heart attack. And Richard’s expert pathologist, Christena Roberts, MD, properly looked at Mr. Honeycutt’s autopsy and gave a qualified medical expert opinion based on the evidence still available. Dr. Roberts’s expert opinion, the only expert opinion available to the Board, opines that no evidence shows that Mr. Honeycutt died from strangulation.

Based in part on the autopsy records and in part on Richard’s trial testimony, Dr. Roberts opined that Mr. Honeycutt most likely died from a heart attack triggered by Mr. Honeycutt’s pre-existing severe coronary artery disease.