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Forensic expert testifies in Keith Allen murder trial

Keith Allen talks with his attorney Todd Lancaster during a break session in Lincoln County...
Keith Allen talks with his attorney Todd Lancaster during a break session in Lincoln County District Court Friday.(Tim Johnson/NP Telegraph)
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 10:21 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Testimony from a forensic pathologist was at the front and center of the Keith Allen murder trial. Friday marked the fourth day of the trial.

Allen, now 44, is charged with first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony in the death of Brett Torres, 25. Allen pleaded not guilty to both charges, claiming he acted in self-defense.

According to the North Platte Police Department, law enforcement was called to the 100 block of North Chestnut Street on May 22, 2020. Torres pulled his green Chevrolet Tahoe into the alley next to Allen’s blue Ford Focus. Allen was the passenger in his vehicle. Amanda Beall, who had an on-again, off-again relationship with Torres was the driver. Allen had the gun pointed out the window when Torres pulled up beside him.

Dr. Erin Linde has eight years of experience with the Physicians Laboratory in Omaha and performs more than 300 autopsies a year. She was contacted by the Lincoln County Attorney’s office to give a conclusion on the case.

The jury was shown slides of Torres’s autopsy at which point, Brett’s mother, dismissed herself from the courtroom.

Linde concluded Torres died from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and extremities, which caused a total of 19 “defects to his body.” She also said his body showed signs of bloating and decomposition and his skin had started to show signs of discoloration and slippage. Allen could be seen wiping his tears when Linde was providing these descriptions.

In addition, there were inconsistencies between Dr. Linde’s and forensic pathologist Dr. Matthias Okoye’s report in regard to the number of entrance wounds. She testified there were four exit wounds and 13 entrance wounds, while Dr. Okoye reported 12. Dr. Okoye’s report didn’t mention the gunshot wounds to Torres’s buttocks.

She also clarified although there were 9 bullets recovered at the scene, Torres was shot 13 times with the .45 caliber handgun, which was identified earlier by Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab firearm examiner Amy Weber.

A blood toxicology report also found alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine in Torres’s system. North Platte Police Department Investigator Justin Erickson had previously testified a syringe was found in Torres’ front pant pocket, but tested negative for substances. Another syringe was also found along the driver’s side door of Torres’ vehicle but wasn’t tested.

When Allen’s attorney Todd Lancaster asked Erickson during cross-examination why it wasn’t tested, Erickson responded, “if it was a drug case we would’ve but relied on autopsy results to determine if drugs were present in his system.”

Erickson also testified Allen and Beall had smoked marijuana earlier in the day, according to Beall’s interview by police on May 26.

The trial continues Tuesday at 9 a.m.

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