NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Day two of the trial for two Metropolitan Detention Center officers charged for the death of an inmate featured Dr. Lorie Proe, from the Office of the Medical Investigator. Keith Brandon and Jonathan Sandoval are charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of Vincente Villela in 2019.
Dr. Proe testified that an autopsy found Villela’s cause of death to be mechanical asphyxia and that the meth in his system was a contributing factor. Dr. Proe was asked if it was possible Villegla died from a heart attack but asserted that she believes Sandoval holding Villela down and putting pressure on his back and chest is what caused him to stop breathing. “I would say that his heart stopped because he was unable to breathe because he was being compressed. I would not call it a heart attack,” said Dr. Proe.
The defense tried to question the autopsy findings, asking Dr. Proe if the meth could have caused him to have a heart attack, rather than his death being the result of the officer’s actions.
Dr. Proe said they are using the term heart attack to describe his heart-stopping. She says she was not able to determine at what point that happened from just watching video of the incident.
The jury also heard testimony from former MDC officer Shawn Addy who was part of the team that assisted with moving Villela to a new cell. The trial is expected to last five days.