BOSTON – Prosecutors have asked a judge for permission to show autopsy photos of a man who died after fighting with another father at a youth hockey practice, one of the country's most shocking cases of violence at a youth sporting event.
Superior Court Judge Charles Grabau said Wednesday he would allow the jury to see photos taken just before the autopsy, but he put off a decision on whether to allow photographs of internal injuries.
Ten women and four men were chosen Thursday to hear the case of Thomas Junta, 42, on manslaughter charges in connection with the July 5, 2000, death of Michael Costin, 40. The panel traveled Thursday to the skating rink in Reading, just north of Boston. Opening arguments were expected to begin Thursday afternoon.
Eleven children, ages 11 to 15, who were at the rink that day are on the prosecutor's list of potential witnesses, including Costin's three sons and Junta's son.
Potential jurors were asked if their children played on sports teams and if they had ever witnessed a fight between parents.
Junta has claimed he fought in self-defense, but prosecutors said the autopsy photos prove Costin's injuries indicate excessive force.
Defense lawyer Thomas Orlandi Jr. fought the request to show photos, describing the images as "sickening," "gross" and "horrible."
Costin was supervising practice at a community rink. Prosecutors say Junta, watching from the stands, became enraged when he saw body-checking in what was supposed to be a non-contact scrimmage. The two men argued on the ice, brawled in a hallway and later fought again.
Prosecutors say the 6-foot-1, 275-pound Junta pinned down the 150-pound Costin and banged his head against the floor until the other man lost consciousness. Costin died two days later.
If convicted, Junta faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the manslaughter charge.