I'd think that large raptor birds would leave talon marks on the woman's head, not blunt force trauma. My mother reported that my çat (beige with brown Siamese Cat markings) was attacked by a bird like an owl or hawk, and had terrible wounds from the nape of his neck to the base of his tail. She figured the bird mistook our cat Shilo for a jackrabbit. (Shi survived, thanks to my mother's care of him, but definitely used one of his lives!)
Did the victim live in a rural or suburban area? Was there the possibility of raptor birds in the area? They generally don't attack humans unless their nest is threatened, so I'm doubtful that someone taking an evening stroll could encounter that situation.
I think the hubby did it, with the poker...
Sorry to hear about your cat, Pat, I hope she wasn't too traumatised!
Yes, the victim lived in a nice suburban mix of light woodland and lawns, and was last seen alive in the garden. I believe the scenario did propose that the owl was defending it's nest. However, I have read that some raptor attacks can happen when a bobbing pony-tail is mistaken for a squirrel. Not sure if this is how the victim was wearing her hair that night though.
The missing poker (actually a hollow type called a blow poke) was later found in the basement covered in cobwebs and forensically determined not to have been the murder weapon.
The autopsy describes the wounds to the back of the head as multiple deep tri-pronged lacerations, but there were no fractures of the skull. I have a hard time trying to visualise how any blunt instrument blows could cause 4" rips in the skin on a curved surface like the skull without causing any fractures. And an even harder time with how they could form a pattern of the size and tri-pronged shape of a birds foot. Seems to me that the only way the husband could have created these wounds is if he was Freddy Krueger.
Thanks for the additional information, Joshua. (The cat survived for a few more years, but did tend to be wary of shadows passing over him!)
Well, I see what you're saying, but if the husband was convicted, there had to be some reason for it, other than "most likely suspect" and circumstancial evidence? What was the murder weapon?
By the way, hawks, falcons and eagles can also inflict nasty wounds with their talons. "H is for Hawk" is a great book by a woman who decides to take up falconry and details how to train a hawk. She got wounded by it because of not paying enough attention on one occasion. Few raptor birds are really big enough to threaten humans, though if there were multiple wounds and enough blood loss, maybe--?
--------------- Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.