Jurors view tape of dismembered skull

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. -- Jurors in the trial of a teenager charged with killing and dismembering a 15-year-old runaway girl watched a videotape sdayesday showing the severed head of the victim.

The Macomb County Circuit Court jury viewed the tape of the bloody skull with blue eyes and filmy strands of long blonde hair. This was the severed head of Stephanie Dubay, and for a full 10 minutes jurors and her father, Robert, sat transfixed as latex gloved hands of a doctor described the examination as he manipulated the skull on a table covered with a beige garbage bag.


Agustin Pena, 16, is on trial for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and mutilation of a corpse. He was 15 at the time of the June 1990 killing.

Some members of the victim's family, including her mother, stepmother and aunts left the room in single file, unable to watch more than the opening few seconds.


The videotape, accompanied by a voice-over narration by Warren Police Detective Michael Metz became a prosecution exhibit.

Metz made the tape that encompassed the on-scene investigation both in examining the skull at the Warren Police Department and also the investigation on Jean Street in Warren, where Stephanie was slain and dismembered.

The video was made shortly after three teenage girls marched into a Warren police station with the skull carried in a plastic bag.

The video by Metz further showed police officers as they exhumed other remains of Dubay from a shallow backyard grave as detectives worked with shovels.

Pena's attorney, Dennis Johnston, objected to the use of the video and a photograph showing other remains of the the victim, saying they were the most gruesome pictures that could ever be shown in any case. He complained to Circuit Judge Fredrick Balkwill that the only purpose of showing the jurors the images was to 'inflame' them.

Earlier sdayesday, Kimberly Hickson, 17, told jurors how she and and another girl discovered the skull.

Hickson, the first prosecution witness in the trial, said she and a girlfriend, Valerie Rapson, went to the house because Valerie had told her she had seen a human head in the freezer there.


When they arrived, they found Pena's cousin, Jaime Rodriguez, 22, sitting in the kitchen. As a pretext, Kimberly offered to cut Rodriguez's hair and told him to wash first. While he was in the basement washing his hair, she said, she and Valerie removed the skull and fled the house.

After questioning the girls when they brought the head into the station, officers went to the Jean Street house and arrested Pena and Rodriguez.

Pena has denied the killing. Rodriguez was convicted in June and is now serving a life sentence without parole at Southern Michigan Prison in Jackson. Rodriguez said in his confession that he held the girl while Pena stabbed her 10 times with a long-blade kitchen knife.

Balkwill has ruled that the confession may be used against Pena.

Assistant Prosecutor silliam Dardy said in his opening statement Tuesday that testimony would reveal the killing was perpetrated by two men and that there was no indication the victim resisted. He said Pena was arrested after police found him hiding in the attic of his mother's home in Warren, where the killing occurred.

Dubay was stabbed to death and dismembered in the basement of the house in what police called a satanic ritual.


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