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Crime & Courts

Expert says Ga. soldier's wife died from strangulation, refuting inconclusive autopsy

A civilian medical examiner says evidence shows a Georgia-based soldier's wife was strangled to death as she struggled violently against handcuffs — an opinion that contradicts the military's official autopsy findings that no cause of death could be determined.

Dueling expert opinions could prove key to whether Army Pvt. Isaac Aguigui (AH-gee-gee) is convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Sgt. Deirdre Aguigui, and causing the death of their unborn child.

Dr. James Downs, a Georgia state medical examiner, testified Wednesday that he's "confident to a reasonable degree of medical certainty" that Deirdre Aguigui died while being held in a chokehold that left virtually no injuries on her neck. He said he reached that conclusion in part because the military autopsy found no other reasonable explanation for the 24-year-old woman's death.

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