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Witness in Zocco trial recalls finding Kelly Dwyer's remains: "It was a human skull"

Posted at 1:27 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 23:25:54-04

Prosecutors continued to call witnesses Monday morning in the trial of 43-year-old homicide suspect Kris Zocco. 

Zocco faces three felony charges in connection with the death of Kelly Dwyer. 

He also faces one felony charge of alleged witness intimidation. Prosecutors accuse Zocco of trying to arrange a hit on an ex-girlfriend who he believed could testify at his trial. 

Prosecutors allege Zocco killed Dwyer during a sex act in October, 2013. 

They accuse him of dumping her body in a rural area of Jefferson County, where a civilian found the woman's remains in May, 2015. 

On Monday, the man who stumbled upon Dwyer's bones described what he saw. 

"The sun had been going down, so I saw a reflection of what I thought was a bone," said Christopher Fountain, who was walking near his home in the Town of Sullivan when he discovered Dwyer's remains. 

"When I got close enough, I noticed it was a human skull," he said. 

"In my brain, it wasn't making sense that that's what I was looking at," Fountain said. "So I went to get the neighbor, just for him to come look at it before I called the police." 

During questioning from Zocco's defense lawyer, Fountain acknowledged he didn't have any idea how long the remains had been there, or how they ended up in Jefferson County. 

Prosecutors think Zocco transported Dwyer's body to the area in a golf bag. 

On Monday, Jefferson County Medical Examiner Nichol Tesch said Dwyer's remains were in an unusual position. 

"I noted her right arm was underneath her torso, but her left arm was bent backwards and resting on her back, and it was stuck there - for lack of a better term," she testified. 

Tesch said her office never determined a cause or manner for Dwyer's death. 

A manner of death can be homicide, suicide, natural causes, an accident, or undetermined. 

Tesch said Dwyer's manner of death was ruled to be undetermined. 

"For you to make an undetermined determination for manner of death, as you did in this case, I believe your standards require you to have less than 50 percent certainty regarding another manner of death. Is that correct?" asked defense attorney Craig Mastantuono. 

"Yes," replied Tesch.

Zocco is already serving a 19-year prison sentence for unrelated drug and child pornography convictions.