Philadelphia News & Search
As Philadelphia’s chief medical examiner, Sam Gulino determines how a person was killed: shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, strangled or poisoned.
In the case of Regina Brunner-Holmes, that list was impossible to narrow down.
The best that Gulino could tell a Philadelphia jury Wednesday was that the 85-year-old East Mount Airy grandmother died from a “combination of multiple stab wounds, strangulation and blunt trauma to her head.”
Gulino’s testimony ended the second day of the trial of Leroy Wilson, 38, the handyman charged with murder in the furious June 27, 2015 attack that left Brunner-Holmes unrecognizable.
The Philadelphia Common Pleas jury of six men and six women sat quietly as Gulino narrated grisly crime scene and autopsy photos of Brunner-Holmes’ body that catalogued more than a score of separate injuries, almost all to the head and neck.
Assistant District Attorney Alisa Shver asked Gulino if he could say which of the three forms of injuries would have most likely killed Brunner-Holmes.
“No,” said Gulino. “What I can say is that she was alive for all of these forms of injury.”
Brunner-Holmes’ body was found on June 29, 2015 after an editor at the Chestnut Hill Local newspaper called her son, Adam, to say that the obsessively punctual octogenarian failed to report for work.
Adam Brunner testified that he and his wife went to his mother’s home, in the 300 block of East Roumfort Road and met a police officer who got into the rancher. Brunner-Holmes was lying face up on the floor of her blood-spattered bedroom. A bloodied, broken rolling pin was nearby and several of her purses had been emptied on the bed.
Wilson came under suspicion almost immediately because he was a handyman who had done work for Brunner-Holmes and several other people in the cul-de-sac around her house.
Within days, investigators arrived at a house in the 3100 block of North Stillman Street in North Philadelphia, where Wilson was still living with former girlfriend Micshell Hoskins.
They found Brunner-Holmes’ silver 2007 Toyota Corolla parked at 25th Street and Allegheny, a block from Hoskins’ house.
Hoskins, 41, testified that at 3 a.m. on June 28, 2015, she was awake feeding her month-old daughter when she heard a knock at the front door and figured it was Wilson asking to be let in.
When she opened the door, Hoskins said, Wilson’s first words were, “I caught a body,” which she said she understood to mean he had killed someone.
Hoskins said Wilson later brought in and gave her a laptop computer and a gift card, opened the laptop and brought up the website of Babies “R” Us store and told her “get what you want.”
“I knew they were stolen,” Hoskins said, adding that she saw the name “Regina” written on the bottom of the computer.
Nevertheless, Hoskins filled the virtual shopping cart on the webpage with diapers, a swing and other items and handed the laptop back to Wilson to charge using one of the gift card.
The items never arrived, she said.
Defense attorney Earl G. Kauffman has argued that Wilson got Brunner-Holmes’ stolen property but did not kill her.
Questioning Hoskins, Kauffman suggested that another former boyfriend was the one who entered Brunner-Holmes’ house and killed her.
Kauffman also elicited from Hoskins that Wilson was not wearing bloodstained clothing when he arrived early that morning.
Kauffman also noted that Hoskins has yet to be tried on stolen property charges and Hoskins admitted that she hoped her testimony would result in a favorable sentence for her.
Philadelphia News & Search