A neurosurgeon testified Monday that when he examined Feng Liu shortly after the professor had been attacked with a rock, swelling in Liu’s brain was reaching a critical point and medical staff decided to proceed with surgery in an attempt to lessen the swelling.
Dr. Eldad Hadar said the surgical team operated on Liu, removing a piece of his skull, and found multiple points of fracture in the skull. Liu died in the intensive-care unit at UNC Hospitals the next morning.
Hadar is the vice chair of and the professor and residency program director for the Department of Neurosurgery at UNC and the section chief of functional neurosurgery.
Troy Arrington, 30, of Chapel Hill, and Derick Davis II, 26, of Durham, are accused of assaulting Liu, robbing him of his wallet and credit cards and leaving the professor for dead on July 23, 2014, near the UNC campus.
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The men have been held in the Orange County jail since their arrest July 24, 2014.
Arrington pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the case last week.
On Monday, Arrington and his lawyers, Orange County public defenders James Williams and Dana Graves, listened as District Attorney Jim Woodall questioned Hadar.
Hadar explained to the jury that it’s common practice for emergency room doctors to consult a neurosurgeon after determining a patient has suffered severe head or spinal injury.
Woodall also called State Bureau of Investigation DNA analyst Erin Ermish to the stand.
Chapel Hill Police Investigator Patrick Gilchrist testified Friday that he found a landscaping rock in the yard of a home near the intersection of West University Drive and Ransom Street in Chapel Hill.
Liu, 59, of Durham, was hit in the head with the rock around 1 p.m. while out for a walk, authorities said.
Ermish testified that “touch DNA samples” were swabbed from the rock.
The samples generated a “predominate profile” indicating that Liu had come into contact with the rock. Other touch DNA swabbed off the rock was of an insignificant quantity and quality to identify anyone else who may have touched the rock.