SALT LAKE CITY — Two doctors described in graphic detail Tuesday the horrible injuries 7-year-old Hser Ner Moo suffered before she died.
"This would have been very painful — very painful," Dr. Lori Frasier testified of the violence the young child suffered. "Maybe the worst pain she'd ever felt in her life."
Esar Met, 25, is charged with aggravated murder, a capital offense, and child kidnapping a first-degree felony, in the young girl's brutal death. Her body was discovered April 1, 2008, in the basement bathroom of Met's South Salt Lake apartment.
Dr. Todd Grey, Utah's chief medical examiner, testified that the girl died from blunt force trauma injuries to her head, neck, torso and left wrist. He said strangulation also played a part. Graphic photographs displayed in court showed severe bruising and a snapped wrist.
In my opinion, this was a little girl who was badly beaten. The injuries I found in this case were severe.
–Dr. Todd Grey, medical examiner
"In my opinion, this was a little girl who was badly beaten," Grey said. "The injuries I found in this case were severe."
Frasier, who works at Primary Children's Medical Center, examined the body after the autopsy was completed to evaluate sexual injuries. She said the girl appeared to have been assaulted.
"It's a rare injury. It's a lot of injury. ... Rarely do we see more injury than this," she said. "She would have cried. She would have resisted. She may have fought."
Both doctors said the girl's injuries were inflicted before she died. Grey said he does not know how long the beating would have gone on.
Chad Grundy, a forensics scientist at the Utah State Crime Lab, testified that he and others on the crime scene response team responded to the South Parc apartments both the night Hser went missing and the next day when her body was found. He said they tested numerous stains and found blood on the bathroom floor and sink, basement floor, west wall and on the handrail of the stairs.
DNA testing showed two of the samples were a match for Hser, though one blood sample had a mix of DNA. Grundy said the major DNA profile came from the girl and the minor profile had no match, but excluded Met.
Eight stains were found on the back of the jacket Met was wearing on March 31, 2008, and when he was arrested the next day. Four tested positive for human blood. A DNA test matched the blood to Hser.
Grundy said only one of the stains were tested because the stains were in a linear pattern, suggesting they were from the same source.
When asked by defense attorneys, Grundy admitted the stains could have come from rubbing up against a wall.
Witnesses have previously testified that Met loved children and would play with Hser and another girl. Hser apparently walked out of her family's apartment on March 31 and was found dead the next day.
The case has taken more than four years to get to this point, largely due to language barriers and Met's struggles to understand the court process. Two Burmese interpreters, an interpreter who speaks both Burmese and Karen, and a Spanish interpreter have aided witnesses and Met thus far.
Tuesday was the fourth day of testimony in a preliminary hearing set to continue through Friday. At the end of the hearing, prosecutors will ask 3rd District Judge William Barrett to order Met to stand trial on the charges against him.