Dr. Schmunk testified on issues of forensic pathology to Senator Jay Rockefellers hearing on Advancing the Science and Standards of Forensics along with:
Dr. Schmunk giving testimony at 2013 Senate hearing
Sandy Maloney was found dead at her home in Green Bay, Wisconsin on February 11, 1998. She had a history of alcohol and drug abuse and threats of suicide and was in the process of divorcing from her husband, John Maloney, a Green Bay police officer. Entry to her home where her body was discovered apparently had to be forced by cutting a piece of string which was holding the door closed. Inside, Ms. Maloney’s body was found face down on a sofa. There had been a self limiting fire originating on the sofa and her body had some thermal injuries. She was a cigarette smoker and known to be careless in disposing of lighted cigarettes. The initial assessment of the scene by law enforcement was that this was an accidental death due to an accidental fire.
Autopsy was performed in Milwaukee as Dr. Schmunk was away at a meeting. At the time, investigation had disclosed that the fire had been purposely set. The autopsy pathologist considered this information and ruled the death a homicide.
Years later, the arson investigator was accused of fabricating his evidence and that the fire was likely accidental. When this was known, Dr. Schmunk was contacted by the defense and subsequently submitted an affidavit which was submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court stating that without the arson evidence, the manner of death would have been certified as undetermined. The petition for a new trial was declined.
The prosecutor, Joe Paulus, was convicted on felony charges of bribery and sentenced to 58 months in prison in 2004. This same prosecutor in 1998 "threatened to torpedo a regional medical examiner's office" in NE Wisconsin because Dr. Schmunk occasionally testified for criminal defendants.
John Maloney, the husband, was convicted and has exhausted all appeals. He will be eligible for parole in 2024.
On April 4, 1991, 41 employees and customers were taken hostage and held at a Good Guys electronics store in Sacramento, CA. for approximately eight hours by four gunmen. Near the end of the hostage crisis, six were killed: three hostages and three of the four hostage-takers. The fourth hostage-taker was captured by authorities, and an additional 14 hostages were injured during the crisis. To this day, the hostage crisis remains the largest hostage rescue operation in U.S. history, with over 40 hostages having been held at gunpoint. A fictionalized account was produced as A Clear Shot in 2019. Dr. Schmunk performed autopsies on the three hostages, who died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Susan Moyer was found dead in a vehicle at the bottom of a ravine. The passenger, who was a colleague of her husband, walked away. Dr. Schmunk was asked by Lt. Roloff of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office to review the autopsy of the non-forensic pathologist who had performed the case for the coroner. He concluded that the neck fractures were not consistent with a motor vehicle crash but was due to forcible hyper-flexion of the neck and testified to that on 7/12/1994. At trial, a Marine Gunnery Sergeant, considered an expert in close combat, testified to the maneuver utilized in the military. The passenger would have had knowledge of this technique. Later scene examination revealed cleaned up blood at the couples home. Both the passenger and husband were convicted and the passenger admitted to the neck fracture at trial.
This 15yo male was found dismembered in Door County, WI by chain saw. Death certified as homicidal violence of type not specified. The circumstances were consistent with neck compression leading to sudden cardiac arrest due to carotid body stimulation during struggle with older roommate. The body was originally dumped by shore of Green Bay and later taken to a farm for dismemberment and placement in large drums. The defendant was interrupted in the act by owners and fled. Found and arrested days later. Tried and convicted.
39 yo female was found buried in urban landfill. She had last been with a two strike felon. Investigation disclosed that after a night together he had woken to find her dead. Due to his previous crimes he wrapped her in a rug and placed her in a dumpster. Records from the waste company revealed the approximate location in a landfill in Milpitas, CA. Using a cadaver dog team Dr. Schmunk and many law enforcement personnel excavated nearly 20 feet into the landfill and the remains were located by Lucy, a Border Collie with the dog team. Despite being badly decomposed, the autopsy was useful in excluding many natural causes and the death was certified as probable homicidal violence of undetermined etiology. The convicted sex offender received 100 years to life. To my knowledge this is the only successful recovery of a body buried in a municipal landfill.
Kristine was found dead in her home in Palo Alto, CA. She was lying at bottom of the stairs to the basement by her husband who stated he had been out of the home. Pathologist Dianne Vertes found multiple lacerations to head. Scene visit by Drs. Schmunk and Vertes found minute blood spatter in the kitchen of the residence which was confirmed the following day by police using luminol. Dr. Schmunk testified that the head trauma was due to the head being forcibly slammed into the leg of the kitchen table and could not be due to a fall down the stairs. Husband convicted of murder.
The skull of a 7yo missing female was brought by a dog to his owner in the Los Gatos hills near San Jose, CA. Dr. Schmunk transported the skull to Memphis, TN for a consult with Steve Symes, PhD, a forensic anthropologist who was able to document blunt force injury to the skull. The case was signed out as homicidal violence of undetermined etiology. 43 yo Curtis Dean Anderson was arrested in 2000 and convicted of her kidnapping and murder, along with the kidnapping and molesting of another girl and received a 301 year sentence. He died in prison in 2007.
The husband of Tereseann Moore kidnapped, raped and murdered his estranged wife on November 11, 2009, a month after she’d left Moore and filed a protective order against him. Moore also shot Des Moines Police Officer Todd Roland as he responded to the cries for help coming from the apartment the couple once shared. Dr. Schmunk performed the autopsy and determined that she had been shot at close range through the mouth and out the back. Moore was sentenced to three life sentences after stating that he had no remorse for the killing.
Ashley Okland, a 27-year-old Iowa Realty agent, was shot twice and killed shortly before 2 p.m. on Friday, April 8, 2011, while working inside a West Des Moines model townhouse. Dr. Schmunk performed the autopsy. A suspect has never been located.
Urbandale Police Officer Martin was on patrol one evening when he was approached by a suspect who opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, discharging all rounds into his vehicle. The suspect then fled the scene and encountered Des Moines Police Department Officer Beminio. He came along side the officer's vehicle in his truck and again fired all the rounds in the rifle into the squad car. He was apprehended within hours. Dr. Schmunk performed autopsies on both of the fallen officers. The suspect pled guilty and was sentenced to life without parole.
LCpl Rowse was charged with rape of a fellow enlisted. Dr. Schmunk was asked to testify on the alleged injuries and the proffered scenario. His testimony resulted in acquittal of the rape and sexual assault charges.
Cpl Murrayurdaneta was charged with aggravated assault following an altercation between two couples. Dr. Schmunk was asked to testify as to whether the defendant struck one of both of the other couple with a bat. His testimony resulted in a reduced sentence.
Petty Officer second class Davenport was charged with attempted rape and strangulation by a fellow female enlisted while roving on an aircraft carrier while in port. Dr. Schmunk testified that there were no physical findings to support the allegation. The defendant was found not guilty of the charge by the panel.
1st Sergeant Coon was charged with assault with battery and domestic violence after allegedly shoving his wife causing her to hit her head and then leaving her on the floor incapacitated. Complex medical issues were present in the wife and Dr. Schmunk assisted with their interpretation in addition to providing testimony on no evidence of injury. The wife survived with neurologic sequalae which were not felt to be to any assault. The defendant was found not guilty of the serious charges.
PFC Irvin was charged with attempted murder and assault likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm of his civilian wife in Okinawa, Japan in 2015 by means of suffocation. The defendant stated that he found her dead in bed. Autopsy was performed by the military (AFIP) in Okinawa and the cause and manner were undetermined. The Government retained a civilian forensic pathologist who concluded the cause was homicide, based largely on a statement by the defendant. Dr. Schmunk was able to testify that, on the basis of the medical evidence, he agreed with the AFIP that the cause/manner were undetermined. The panel returned a verdict of not guilty on all charges.
CPO Gallagher of SEAL Team 7 was charged with war crimes for allegedly killing an enemy ISIS combatant while stationed in Mosul, Iraq. Along with a team including New York Attorneys Tim Parlatore and Marc Mukasey, former NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and military attorneys Maj. Nelson Candelario (USMC), and Lt. Gregory Gianoni (USN), Dr. Schmunk offered advice and testified on the lack of any evidence for injuries to the ISIS combatant that would have been inflicted by Gallagher. CPO Gallagher was acquitted of the charge.
At the end of November 2019, Gallagher retired from the Navy with full honors, pension, and medical benefits.
Cpl Niedrauer was charged with rape by force wherein the victim stated that she had been strangled during the encounter. The Government charged rape with force likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm (GBH). Dr. Schmunk was able to testify that the minimal injuries documented were not likely to cause GBH. The panel returned a verdict of not guilty on all charges.