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Pathologist Says Man Died Quickly in Fight

March 08, 2000|TRACY WILSON

Robert Bankson was stabbed and cut more than a dozen times during a street fight that claimed his life two years ago, a pathologist testified Tuesday.

Assistant Medical Examiner Janice Frank told jurors in the Ventura County Superior Court murder trial of Bankson's accused killers that the 24-year-old Moorpark man probably died within minutes.

Bankson and a friend got into a fight on the night of July 21, 1998, with co-defendants Robert Imes and Vincent Ryan Gatica.

The scuffle occurred outside an apartment building in downtown Ventura after a concert at the Ventura Fairgrounds.

According to prosecutors, Bankson offered Imes a piece of a psychedelic mushroom, but a fight broke out when Imes grabbed the whole thing. Gatica allegedly jumped in when he saw his friend pinned on the ground by Bankson and his friend, Joe Morgan of Camarillo.

Prosecutors say Imes then pulled a pocketknife and buried it in Morgan's back.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Maeve Fox told jurors in opening statements last week that Imes then repeatedly stabbed Bankson as Gatica held him down in the middle of North Laurel Street.

Frank, the prosecution's final witness, described about 17 stab wounds, cuts and abrasions suffered by Bankson. The most severe were a 3 1/2-inch deep stab wound to the man's eye socket that pierced his brain and another wound to the neck that cut his jugular vein and a major artery.

Testimony is scheduled to resume today.

Both defendants asked Judge Herbert Curtis on Tuesday to dismiss the murder charges based on insubstantial evidence. Curtis is expected to rule on the requests this morning.

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