On November 23, 2021, Dr. Nikki Mourtzinos, performed an autopsy of Mr. Harden at the Cape Cod Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. On February 28, 2022, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner issued a report documenting Dr. Mourtzinos’s examination of Mr. Harden, Dr. Mourtzinos’s conclusions, and a postmortem toxicology report. In her conclusions, Dr. Mourtzinos determined that Mr. Harden died from two gunshot wounds to his left torso and that there was “no evidence of close range fire.”
Dr. Mourtzinos described gunshot wound “A” as being located on the “left upper outer chest,” 20 inches below the top of Mr. Harden’s head and 8 inches left of the anterior midline. Dr. Mourtzinos tracked the path of travel of the bullet from wound “A” to “anterior abdomen where an incomplete exit wound is located 22 ½ inches below the top of the head and ¼ inch right of the anterior midline.” Dr. Mourtzinos described the exit wound as an “incomplete exit wound consist[ing] of two defects…” Dr. Mourtzinos recovered a “deformed jacketed bullet” under “the incomplete exit wound.” Doctor Mourtzinos determined the bullet’s path of travel from wound “A” to be “back to front, left to right, and downward.”
Dr. Mourtzinos described gunshot wound “B” as being located on the “left mid outer chest.” 21 ½ inches below the top of the head and 8 ½ inches left of the anterior midline. Dr. Mourtzinos tracked the path of travel of the bullet from wound “B” to an “incomplete exit wound…located 24 ¼ inches below the top of the head and 9 1/8 inches right of the anterior midline…” Dr. Mourtzinos described this area as an “incomplete exit wound consist[ing] of two defects…” Dr. Mourtzinos recovered a “deformed jacketed bullet” from the incomplete exit wound. Doctor Mourtzinos determined the bullet’s path of travel from wound “B” to be “slightly front to back, left to right, and downward.”
Dr. Mourtzinos also determined that there were additional injuries to Mr. Harden. Dr. Mourtzinos described these injuries as: a “ ¼ inch faint contusion…on the right neck;” “two scabbed abrasions, measuring up to 4 inches, on the right upper chest;” “two abrasions, measuring 3/8 inch and 3/16 inch,…on the dorsal right hand;” “[p]unctuate scabbed abrasions on the right hand;” and a “1 inch line scabbed abrasion and a ½ inch scabbed abrasion…on the posterior right thigh.” Scabs appear as part of the body’s healing process. The healing process does not continue after death. Because Mr. Harden passed away within a short time following the incident, it appears that the scabbed abrasions described during the autopsy are not related to the incident.
The toxicology screen for Mr. Harden was positive for cannabinoids and detected “Dextromethorphan, doxylamine and metabolite, tramadol and metabolites.” The levels of these substances in Mr. Harden’s blood was not determined and therefore no conclusions can be drawn as to how any of these substances affected Mr. Harden.
Dr. Mourtzinos determined the manner of death to be “gunshot wounds of the torso.” Dr. Mourtzinos determined the manner of death to be “homicide (shot by law enforcement).” The Chief Medical Examiner’s definition of homicide is a death due to action(s) of another. Not all homicide is murder, and some are lawful, including those justified by self-defense or defense of another.