Expert describes gruesome slaying

(This story contains graphic testimony with details of a murder and other alleged crimes that are disturbing and inappropriate for young readers.)

HUDSON—Details about the brutal and bloody death of Christina M. Agan were the subject of testimony at the trial of David T. Agan, Jr. Tuesday, January 16. Mr. Agan is accused of murder, rape, incest and other sex crimes. The trial is in Columbia County Court before County Judge Richard Koweek.

Mr. Agan, 44, is charged with stabbing to death his estranged wife, Christina, 37, of Kinderhook in the vestibule at the Valatie Arts Medical Building, 1301 River Street in the village, December 10, 2015 shortly before 2 p.m.

In addition to the first degree murder charge, a class A-1 felony, he is also being tried on 15 counts of third degree rape, 96 counts of third degree incest and 28 counts of third degree criminal sex act, all class E felonies.

Wearing a shirt, tie and dark-colored pants, David T. Agan, Jr., appeared in court for opening statements in his trial by jury, Thursday, January 11. Photo by Lance Wheeler

Mr. Agan is represented by two attorneys: Dennis B. Schlenker of Albany on the murder charge and Ian Crimmins of the Public Defender’s Office on the remaining charges.

District Attorney Paul Czajka is prosecuting the case with assistance from Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty.

As a snowstorm bore down on the county, late Tuesday afternoon, the last witness of the day, Dr. Jeffrey D. Hubbard, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Ms. Agan, was called to the stand.

Dr. Hubbard was deemed by the court to be an expert in forensic pathology, having more than 30-years experience and 5,166 autopsies to his credit.

During Dr. Hubbard’s examination, he found a total of 35 puncture wounds clustered around Ms. Agan’s head and neck, with some on the right side and middle of her body and extremities. He used photos of the body to illustrate his testimony to the jury. He told the jury the remains had been “cleaned up substantially” in the photos and they were “still disturbing, but not as disturbing as they were.”

The murder weapon was a flat head screwdriver. The yellow-and-black-striped screwdriver handle appeared orange in the evidence photos because it was covered with blood.

The bladed end of the tool was rectangular, about a quarter-inch from side to side and 1/16th inch in thickness, said the doctor, noting the tool created puncture wounds, he described as “more tears than cuts because it is not a sharp instrument.” Hemorrhage or bruises surround the wounds, caused by pressure on the skin. The tool was pushed in until it tore through the skin. The wounds would have been different using a needle or a knife, he said. One particular wound, illustrative of the force used in the attack, was noted on her hand, in which the end of the screwdriver entered on the top back of the hand at the base of the middle finger and exited through the skin of the palm.

Dr. Hubbard determined that Ms. Agan died of blood loss from “an extensive number of wounds” including one through the jugular vein. He said there was a lot of blood at the scene, outside of the body which escaped through the wounds as well as blood in her lungs and her stomach.

On cross-examination by Mr. Schlenker, Dr. Hubbard said the 35 wounds he counted were “the minimum number of strikes” Ms. Agan had endured. The doctor said she may have been struck by the tool more times but that the damage caused by the strike could have been done under the skin and not actually punctured it.

Earlier that day, the prosecution called at least 10 members of the State Police to the stand. Sergeant Douglas Colwell, who works with a K9 partner Kane, testified about actually finding the murder weapon on the side of the “Gimp Mill parking lot” on River Street. Other SP members established the chain of evidence custody, having transported various items from one place to another.

Forensic scientist Jay Caponera discussed his examination of numerous pieces of evidence, like the screwdriver, on which he found that the majority of blood detected belonged to Ms. Agan.

Witnesses on Friday, January 12 included many people who worked at the Valatie Medical Arts Building on December 10, 2015, heard Ms. Agan’s cries for help and responded to see Mr. Agan standing over her with a weapon.

Ms. Agan’s psychotherapist, Dominica Lizzi, who was expecting Ms. Agan for an appointment on the day she was killed, testified that Ms. Agan was concerned about “the excessive physical intimacy” that was occurring at home between her husband, David, and her teenage stepdaughter, who had moved in with the couple and their four sons about a year and a half earlier. The stepdaughter was Mr. Agan’s daughter from a prior relationship.

Ms. Lizzi said Ms. Agan told her that the stepdaughter slept in the marital bed with her and her husband.

Ms. Lizzi said Ms. Agan had a longstanding weekly appointment with her at 2 p.m. Thursdays and that Mr. Agan was aware of that and sometimes accompanied her.

Mr. Schlenker questioned Ms. Lizzi about what she knew about Mr. Agan’s psychiatric condition. Ms. Lizzi said she saw Mr. Agan in couple’s counseling briefly, but that she refused to see him further because of his aggressive tendencies. She said she was concerned for her safety.

Mr. Agan’s stepdaughter, now 20, also testified on Friday, telling the jury that she and her father engaged in sexual conduct, both intercourse and oral sex for two years starting in January 2014 when she was 16 years old. She said they had sex four or five times a week during that period. The only interruption occurred for two weeks starting on Valentine’s Day 2014 when the stepdaughter returned to the apartment with her stepbrothers and heard her father and his wife having sex in the bedroom.

Introduced during the stepdaughter’s testimony Friday were copious letters written to her by her father from jail following the death of Ms. Agan.

In the letters, Mr. Agan professed his eternal love for his daughter and a desire to marry her have children with her. One of the letters was read aloud in court; in it, Mr. Agan wrote that he did not want her to have sex with anyone but him and that his love for her “is a sin.”

The court session was canceled Wednesday, January 17 due to the weather, but was expected to resume Thursday, January 18.

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