The Murder at Buskirk’s Bridge, Part 3.
The Preliminary Hearing at Salem
Dr. Edward Hall Testifies
Dr. Edward Hall Sworn: I am a physician and surgeon residing at Buskirk’s Bridge; I was present at the post mortem examination of the body of Patrick McCarthy on the 1st day of November, 3 o’clock P.M. and assisted Drs. Morris and Bacon in that examination. The appearance of the body indicated a violent death, the features were distorted, &c. In removing the clothes from the body we found on the right side, posterior to a line drawn from the shoulder to the hip, six circular wounds having the appearance of being shot wounds; on the right front within an inch of the breast bone, three lacerated wounds, having the appearance of being done by shot leaving the body. On the right side the muscular part of the elbow was torn severely and the skin was burnt to some extent around the wound which was filled with small pigeon shot and remnants of his clothes. On the left side immediately behind the elbow, one large wound near the 5th or 6th ribs and two smaller ones. These appear to have been made by several shot or missiles entering the body at once, which proves the musket must have been near the body when fired. A small wound was also found upon his forehead and on the fourth finger of his right hand. On opening the body we found the shot had entered the back of his right side and passed through the lower and middle lobes of his right lung; three shot had passed out of the body near the breast bone, the other three were found in the chest; that wound would not have caused instantaneous death, life would have been sustained for a few minutes. On the left side, we found the left lung slightly torn; the right ventricle of the heart was perforated by one shot which we found in the body.
Cross-examined: These were not pigeon shot, none of which were found in the body.
Direct: The other shot on the left side had perforated and torn the big artery, called the aorta, leading from the heart to the body. This wound would have caused instant death. Four ribs between the sixth and the eighth on the right side were found broken. This proves that the shot had scattered and that the gun was at a little distance from the body when fired. On the examination before the coroner, I testified that I thought the wounds were caused by slugs of lead, but now I think they may have been large shot. (Here Dr. Hall showed several large buck shot which had been fired into a soft pine board which presented very irregular shapes like shot taken from the body). I have no doubt the wounds were caused by some other persons and would have caused instant death.