Death may be manslaughter, but it wasn't murder, insists
VISTA- A doctor accused of killing a woman with an overdose
of chloroform could be guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but certainly did
not commit murder, his attorney told a jury here yesterday.
The unusual concession, based on a legal theory involving
negligence, came at the end of the month long trial in which Dr. Sam Dubria
has insisted he did nothing to cause the death of Jennifer Klapper in a Carlsbad
motel room two years ago.
In two days of testimony Dubria told the jury he never
studied chloroform or used it and that he did not have access to the highly
volatile 19th century anesthetic.
But in closing arguments yesterday, his attorney, Barry
Bernstein, said the 29-year-old medical resident could have used the drug with
Klapper for recreational purposes and then refused to admit it because it would
have meant the end of his medical career.
Dubria is charged with using chloroform to knock out the
20-year-old Cincinnati woman so he could rape her. In the process, he killed
her, the prosecution alleges. If convicted of rape and murder, Dubria could
face life in prison without possibility of parole.
Bernstein did not elaborate on his suggestion that chloroform
may have been used as a recreational drug or in some other recreational way.
As an alternative theory, he suggested to the jury that Klapper who was found
at the All Star Inn on Interstate 5 on Aug. 16, 1991, might have used chloroform
to her severe headaches. The attorney did not say whether chloroform was an
accepted medical remedy for a headache.
Prosecutor Tim Casserly, meanwhile, told the jury that
Dubria is "a piece of garbage" and "the biggest liar you will ever see."
He suggested that Dubria might be the unluckiest man to
ever have sex with a woman.
"The very first time he's alone with this girl and has
sexual intercourse with her, she dies! And from an overdose of chloroform! And
here he is- a doctor. How unlucky can you get?" the prosecutor asked.
Klapper, who met Dubria at the Cincinnati hospital where
they both worked, was on a sightseeing trip with Dubria when she died. She had
told numerous friends that she did not consider Dubria attractive, and that
she had no intention of letting their relationship become sexual.
The morning after her death, Dubria told police that he
and Klapper were casual friends who had sex for the first time the night she
died. The doctor said Klapper simply fell to the floor unconscious for no apparent
reason and that his attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.
He told the jury that he and Klapper were intimate friends
who had "made love without intercourse" for a number of months, but first had
sex the night she died.
Casserly yesterday told the jury that Dubria had to about
what happened because he couldn't bring himself to admit to his parents that
after all their hard work and sacrifice to put him through medical school, he
had thrown his life away on an uncontrollable desire for a woman.
surgeon allegedly left saw running on his break
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