The prosecution presented testimony by Dr.
Henry Harris, who suggested that autopsy evidence showed that the
murder had to have occurred around noon (or slightly earlier).
Harris testified that the contents of Phagan's stomach showed that she
had eaten less than an hour before her death. She was known to
have eaten around 11:00. The testimony of Dr. Harris aided the
prosecution because it fit well with its timeline and testimony from
another prosecution witness that Frank was not in his office at 12:05.
Dr. Childs was called to counter the prosecution's time-of-death
Examination by Reuben Arnold
cabbage considered a hard food to digest?”
"It is generally considered the hardest."
presents a vial containing cabbage from Phagan's autopsy.] "Look at
this cabbage. Was it well masticated?"
"Not very well."
Arnold: "Where does
cabbage begin to be digested?"
"In the mouth, when ptyalin in the saliva acts on
Arnold: "Does it keep
up in the stomach?"
"No, the acids of the stomach neutralize the
Arnold: "Then where
is cabbage really digested?"
"In the small intestines."
it goes out of the stomach, it is really
undigested, is it not?"
"Yes. It may pass out of the body entirely in
the undigested form."
there a great many things that retard
"Yes, the psychic causes-fright, anger and sudden
a human body has been interred nine days.
Take out the stomach and in the contents cabbage and certain remnants
bread. Could you hazard an opinion or guess that the person had taken
his stomach one-half or three quarters of an hour before death?"
"I certainly could not."
Arnold: "How long
would you say it was possible for cabbage
like this to stay the stomach?"
"I have seen cabbage less digested than that
been in the stomach for twelve hours."