Medical experts testify in the trial of accused cheerleader killer

Mark Howerton on trial for slaying of Trinity University Cheerleader Cayley Mandadi

Disturbing photographs were shown in trial as a nurse described Cayley Mandadi's injuries.

SAN ANTONIO – The testimony during the second day of the murder trial of Mark Howerton, 24, was visually and verbally graphic as medical experts described the injuries Cayley Mandadi, 17, suffered on October 29, 2017.

Prosecutors told the jury that the couple had what they described as a relationship marked by “Howerton’s possessiveness and controlling behavior.”

They were driving from San Antonio to Houston and had been arguing, Howerton told Texas Rangers. But they had made up, he claimed, and stopped along the way and had what he characterized as “consensual, rough sex.”

Murder trial begins in 2017 death of Trinity University cheerleader

On Tuesday, a sexual assault nurse examiner testified that she examined Mandadi after Howerton sought medical treatment when he realized that Mandadi was not breathing.

”There were clusters of injuries in places all over her body,” Rachel Vernon testified as she showed the jury graphic photographs of Mandadi’s injuries.

“What my job is, is document injuries, not to determine how they were inflicted or where they came from,” Vernon added.

Dr. Suzanna Dana, a forensic pathologist, testified, “I determined that she died as a result of complications of blunt force head and face trauma.”

Testimony in Howerton’s trial before Senior District Judge Raymond Angelini is expected to continue Thursday.

If he is convicted, Howerton is facing a maximum punishment of life in prison.

About the Authors:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.