A forensic pathologist testified Wednesday that cancer killed Gloria Weinke, not injuries prosecutors say she suffered when her son threw her down the stairs at her Arlington Heights home nearly seven years ago.
The testimony came as the murder trial of Weinke's son, Wayne Weinke Jr., entered its sixth day. Prosecutors say Weinke, 57, threw his mother over the railing of her home at The Moorings in Arlington Heights during the early morning hours of July 18, 2006, after the two argued over her will. She died a few months later.
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Earlier in Weinke's bench trial before Cook County Judge William Lacy, prosecutors played a videotaped deposition from Gloria Weinke, who testified from her hospital bed several days after the fall that her son threw her over the railing "like a sack of potatoes."
Defense expert Dr. Shaku Teas, a former Cook County Assistant medical examiner, performed a second autopsy on the 77-year-old grandmother at a funeral home on Oct. 4, 2006, two days after Gloria Weinke died and a day after the Cook County medical examiner's office performed an autopsy.
Teas testified that Gloria Weinke had tumor nodules in her abdominal, lower chest and pelvic cavities and in her bladder, liver and pancreas.
"It was advanced," said Teas, who also noted the mother of three had two broken ribs which were healing and that she showed signs of coronary disease, hypertension and degeneration of the discs in her lower back.
Teas noted from her review of medical records, police reports and the first autopsy that Gloria Weinke had been diagnosed with cancer in May 2005.
By the time of the autopsy, Teas said, "she had malignant tumors throughout her body."
Teas further testified that the pelvis injury Gloria Weinke suffered months earlier had nothing to do with her death.
During a contentious cross examination, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney James McKay bristled at Teas' statement that Gloria Weinke's injuries -- which prosecutors blame on her son -- had nothing to do with her death.
"You say Gloria died of cancer, exclusively died of cancer?" he asked.
"Yes. She would have died whether she had the injuries or didn't have them," Teas said.
McKay questioned Teas about the fees she receives to testify as an expert witness. McKay also pointed out that Teas' autopsy missed one of Weinke's broken ribs and questioned her statement that an investigation of Weinke's brain revealed evidence of plaque that could possibly indicate dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease. Teas, however, said she could not make a definitive diagnosis without a clinical exam.
Testimony continues Thursday at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago.