TROY, N.Y. -- A photo of Vanessa Miligan’s badly burned body was shown to the jury Friday afternoon to help explain how the fire started and spread.
The pattern of the burns led fire investigators to believe an ignitable liquid, later identified as gasoline, was put directly on the 19-year-old.
Several family members needed to step outside the courtroom when the the prosecutor displayed the photo of Milligan’s charred body. She was barely recognizable, and State Fire Investigator Richard Daus said based on the way she was burned -- the fact that those burns weren’t uniform -- it’s evidence the fire was set deliberately.
The prosecution is trying to prove the man on trial for murder also set a fire at 271 Fifth Avenue to cover up the crime.
Friday’s testimony didn’t link Gabriel Vega to the fire, but a previous witness said she saw him running across Fifth Avenue right after the fire started on April 3, 2014.
Another piece of evidence introduced Friday was a sexual assault collection kit. In Assistant District Attorney Andrew Bott’s opening statements, he said Vega was trying to get rid of his pregnant ex-girlfriend because he had a child with another woman.
“He's so selfish he’s got to have a way out of his problem, but not before he has sex with Vanessa one more time," Botts said on Wednesday.
The very last questions from defense attorney Frederick Rench were about Troy’s many unsolved arsons, and he pointed out that Gabriel Vega went to jail and the arsons continued.
The trial breaks for the weekend and picks up again Monday morning.