Foster's medical records, potential cause of death focus of day 6 in Brazier murder trial

Posted at 5:26 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 23:31:36-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The bulk of Tuesday’s testimony in Jaylin Brazier's murder trial focused on what may have led to Zion Foster’s death.

The prosecution questioned a forensic pathologist who examined Foster’s medical records.

“My baseline conclusion is that her cause of death is unknown. In a case like this, an autopsy and hopefully toxicology would need to be done to sort out what happened in her final moments,” Dr. Leigh Hlavaty said.

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Hlavaty, a forensic pathologist with the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, was tasked with studying several years worth of Foster's medical records as well as Brazier’s accounts of what happened the night of Jan. 4. That includes their alleged activities and what he told investigators he observed about Foster.

“The conditions that could have resulted in her death like the asthma, the circumstances that were described did not fit. If she was having a cardiac event, she would have been experiencing palpitations, chest pain. That was not in the circumstances. The drugs that she was known to have used, the LSD and the marijuana, could not have caused her death in any way,” Hlavaty said.

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At one point, the doctor said Foster previously had COVID-19.

The defense asked her a series of questions about whether a previous diagnosis of COVID-19 paired with any heart ailment could have triggered her death.

Brian Brown, Brazier's attorney asked Hlavaty, "Some individuals had heart issues that were caused by COVID-19, correct?"

"Yes," she replied.

Brown said, "You’re not in a position to rule out COVID-19 could have been a contributing factor in somebody who already has a pre-existing cardiovascular issues?"

Hlavaty answered, "In order for that to be an option, you would still have to be COVID positive and have COVID signs and symptoms.”

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Another detective took the stand to testify about Brazier’s internet search history and specifically his visits to pornographic sites where he used the words "step cousin" as part of several searches.