Medical examiner: murder victim could have survived injury

Testimony continues during second day of three-day jury trial

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Johnson Mud has been charged with an open count of murder in the first degree.
  • Mud, 52, is accused of killing Roselyn Dennison, 49, by slitting her throat with a box cutter-type knife.
  • Dr. Lauren Decker of the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator testified on the autopsy she performed on Dennison.
Johnson Mud

AZTEC — A medical examiner testified today the victim of an alleged murder could have possibly survived her neck laceration had someone attempted to control her bleeding.

That testimony came during the second day of a three-day scheduled jury trial in Aztec District Court where Johnson Mud, 52, stands accused of killing Roselyn Dennison, 49, by cutting her throat with a box cutter-type knife.

The alleged crime occurred on the night of Feb. 18, 2017, at a Lee Acres residence on County Road 5466, according to court documents.

Mud has been charged with an open count of murder in the first degree in the death of Dennison.

Dr. Lauren Decker of the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator testified about the autopsy she performed on Dennison. Decker told the court the cut to Dennison's neck injured three veins but did not injure any arteries. Given the nature of the cut, she said, Dennison could have possibly survived if pressure had been applied to control the bleeding.

Decker said Dennison's bleeding occurred at a lower rate than if one of the arteries in her neck been cut. Dennison died the day after the alleged incident occurred.

Audio of the 911 call Mud made was played on the first day of the trial. During the call, the 911 operator repeatedly asked Mud to control the bleeding from Dennison, but he refused.

Most of the testimony given today focused on the investigation of the alleged crime by the San Juan County Sheriff's Office and the examination of evidence, including the collection and testing of DNA samples.

Crime scene investigator Sandra Richardson of the Sheriff's Office testified about the collection of evidence from the crime scene, including how the box cutter-type knife was processed and swabbed for DNA samples.

Dr. Samuel Kleinman testified about conducting tests to determine Dennison's blood alcohol content from samples collected by the Office of the Medical Investigator. Kleinman is a deputy forensic toxicology bureau chief at the at New Mexico Department of Health.

He told the court Dennison had a blood alcohol content of 0.17, in excess of the New Mexico legal limit of 0.08 for driving.

Dennison and Mud were allegedly drinking alcohol on the night of the alleged incident.

Testimony was also provided by Dennison's friend Gilbert Scott, who had spoken to the victim on the night of the alleged crime. Scott testified Dennison wanted to leave the residence but could not because she had been drinking alcohol and could not drive.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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