Obviously resolved to prove that Dr. Herman Tarnower was shot as he raised his hand in defense, the prosecution in the Jean Harris murder trail today recalled to the stand a pathologist who testified that tissue found in a wound in the doctor's chest had very likely come from his hand.
It was the third time in court for the pathologist, Dr. Louis Roh of the Westchester County Medical Center, who had testified first for the prosecution -- at which time he did not discuss the presence of foreign tissue in the chest wound -- then had been subpoenaed by the defense, at which time he voiced his present opinion.
Today, armed with a dozen slides, he returned again ("You're getting to be a familiar face around here," said the judge) and reiterated his opinion, facing another expert medical witness, Dr. A. Bernard Ackerman, who had joined the defense team at its table.
Harris, the former headmistress of the Madeira School in McLean, Va., has been on trail here for 11 1/2 weeks, charged with second-degress murder in the shooting death of Tarnower, her lover of 14 years.
The prosecution contends that Harris shot Tarnower intentionally in a jealous rage, inflicting wounds in the hand, arm, chest and back. It says Tarnower was shot through the hand and into the chest, in a classic "defense wound." It supports that argument by noting that the wound in the chest was particularly shallow -- as if the bullet had passed through an intermediary target -- while another wound ripped from back of the doctor's shoulder down into his kidney.
The defense has another explanation for the wound. Tarnower, it says, was shot through the hand as he tried to prevent Harris from shooting herself in the head. There has been no explanation for the wound to the chest. Harris, on the stand, says she recalls only two of the shots to the doctor's body, the wound to his hand, and a shot, during a struggle for the gun, that might have resulted in the wound in his arm.
She has also maintained that she did not know the doctor had been shot four times when she left his home to seek help.
"I didn't believe you when you told me he had been shot in the chest," Harris told her defense lawyer, Joel Aurnou, during her eight days on the stand. "I had no knowledge of that many shots. . ."
Cross-examination of Roh is expected Wednesday.