Head Contusion


  • An orange-sized contusion existed behind the right ear and extended downward to the neck.
  • At autopsy, a massive blood clot was identified within that swollen area and between the scalp and skull. Skull x-rays were taken and showed a large depressed skull fracture under the blood clot with the fragment pressed inward over 3/4 in. deep.
  • Since the victim was alleged to have shot himself in the mouth, any displaced fragments should have been blown outward not inward.
  • X-rays showed that there were no shotgun pellets nor bone spicules within the blood clot.


The swelling (contusion) of the back of the head and the depressed skull fracture is characteristic of an external blunt force applied to the right occipital area of the skull. It is inconsistent with an intaoral shotgun wound.