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Grim Day Of Testimony In Klaas Case

May 7, 1996

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Jurors wept as they looked at photographs of the small, headless body of Polly Klaas, taken shortly after her decomposed remains were found lying in a field.

Some passed a box of tissues back and forth, while others grimaced and appeared to struggle for control.

The photographs were not shown to the courtroom audience, but prosecutor Greg Jacobs said they showed the body after it had been in the field for about two months.

Earlier, Dr. A.J. Chapman, who performed the autopsy on the 12-year-old girl, testified that parts of the body were mummified; others had been reduced to bones.

Chapman’s testimony Monday, delivered in a matter-of-fact monotone, proved too much for Polly’s family. Her father, grandfather and grandmother left the courtroom shortly after the doctor began talking, grandmother B.J. Klaas blinking back tears.

In other testimony, FBI Special Agent Anthony Maxwell Jr. said the skull was found 1 1/2 feet from the body. He said an initial test suggested there was a semen stain on Polly’s clothing, but that the stain could have been caused by a number of other substances.

Chapman said the body was found with the legs splayed apart and clothing pushed above the waist, but the state of decay made it impossible to detect the presence of semen.

The question of whether or not defendant Richard Allen Davis sexually molested Polly has become a key issue.

Defense lawyer Barry Collins has already conceded that Davis killed Polly after taking her from her home during a slumber party in October 1993, but he contends there is no evidence the defendant molested her.

Davis is charged with an attempted lewd act on a minor. Even without that charge, he could face the death penalty, but it is believed the sex charge could have an emotional impact on jurors.

Davis has said he was high on alcohol and drugs the night of the kidnapping and remembers little, according to taped interviews with police. He said he strangled Polly to avoid going back to prison.

Outside the courtroom, Polly’s father, Marc Klaas, said he could not listen to the details of his daughter’s fate.

``This is terrible stuff. My lord, I’ve got ... an image of Polly in my mind and I can’t let that go,″ he said.