Accused was the source of sperm, trial told
But science can’t prove if homicide victim Jiali Zhang consented to sex with Dalibor Klaric
Dalibor Klaric’s sperm was inside the woman he beat to death.
But that is all that can be said definitively.
DNA science does not lie, and it says that Klaric “cannot be excluded” as the source of sperm found in the body of Jiali Zhang, whom he has admitted to pummelling to death.
Jennifer McLean, a DNA expert from Toronto’s Centre of Forensic Sciences, explained to the jury at Klaric’s first-degree murder trial Friday that the chance of that sperm belonging to someone other than the accused is one in 40 billion.
What science cannot know is how the sperm got there or whether it got there with the informed consent of Jiali.
McLean explained to jurors that Klaric may have had sex with Jiali or his sperm may have been transferred to her via an object being inserted into her body.
Earlier at the trial, which began Monday, Dr. Chitra Rao, a retired forensic pathologist who did the autopsy on Jiali, said there were no visible signs of sexual assault on her body.
However, when Crown attorney Todd Norman asked Rao if sexual assault always results in visible signs, the pathologist answered no and said that, in fact, it is rare for there to be visible signs.
The seven women and five men on the jury know that Jiali, 40, was working as an escort when Klaric called her to his Stoney Creek apartment on Nov. 12, 2013.
They have also heard Norman lay out the Crown’s theory to them when he opened his case. He intends to prove that Klaric ordered an escort for the primary purpose of beating her. Furthermore, he intends to prove Jiali was sexually assaulted.
Those two points become critical when considering the firstdegree murder charge Klaric is facing.
On the first day of his trial, Klaric told the court he wished to plead guilty to manslaughter. Norman, who is Hamilton’s head Crown attorney, refused to accept that plea and continued on with the first-degree murder trial . First-degree murder is a homicide that was either planned in advance, or a homicide that involved a sexual assault.
Just after 11 p.m. on the night of the homicide, Klaric, who was 35 at the time, called 911.
“I want to report a murder,” he said.
Over the next 11 minutes while he talked to the dispatcher and waited for officers to come to him, Klaric explained he had “smashed” an escort with his fist. He said that earlier in the day, Veterans Affairs had rejected his application for financial aid. He was briefly a soldier before suffering a hernia and being discharged.
The jury has seen autopsy photos of Jiali, whose face was beaten beyond recognition. Rao told the court the cause of death was “multiple blunt force injuries due to an assault.” No weapon was used, just fists.
Jiali suffered brain damage, a deep open gash across her nose through which bone could be seen, and a broken and dislocated jaw.
Nearly every rib was broken with many fractured in more than one place, and her airways were filled with blood.
Almost her entire face and much of her body were purple with bruises.
A knife found in Klaric’s bedroom, where Jiali’s naked body was located, had her blood on it, DNA testing showed. There were several small cuts on Jiali’s body, but Rao said they were superficial and did not contribute to her death.
DNA testing was also done on a black, rubberized work glove found in the bedroom and on a matching piece of fabric that appears to be the glove’s missing thumb.
Saliva on the fingers of the glove and on the separate piece of fabric “cannot be excluded” as belonging to Jiali, testified McLean, the DNA expert.
Under cross-examination by Klaric’s lawyer, Jordana Goldlist, McLean noted that Klaric’s DNA was not found on the glove.