Nicola Furlong Trial: Where Does the Evidence Lead?

by

@IrishCentral reported:

“The man accused of murdering Irish student Nicola Furlong told a friend the 21-year-old was “tripping” before her death, a court in Japan has heard.”

According to The Irish Sun:

Dancer Dmac Sandoz, who was staying in Room 1437 of the Keio Plaza Hotel, called the defendant’s room at approximately 3 a.m. and stated: “Nicola answered the phone before handing it the defendant.”

The defendant told Sandoz that Nicola was “drunk and tripping”.

Sandoz said he was shocked when Hinds later called him to say Nicola was lying unconscious on his bed.

To define “trippin'” for those that may not know:

1. When someone is overreacting or getting all bent out of shape over something small.

2. To be concerned or worried about something/someone when you act like youre not. (Especially when a guy is “sweatin” a girl and vice versa)

3. To make a big deal/get upset over nothing.

4. To be underr the influence of hallucenogenic drugs.

THE WEEK OF THE TRAGIC INCIDENT

As reported by Black Tokyo last year [UPDATE: 1500, 30 MAY 12] shortly after the Nicola Furlong death was reported:

“According the source, “when they realized Nicola was unconscious, the police and ambulance were called. Everyone came out to see what was going on. The other girl (XO) knew where she was just really “out of it”.”

According to another source, “the US Embassy has stepped in and two men were arrested for sexual assault of Furlong’s “intoxicated” friend while the group were in a taxi. The two men are no longer in contact with the band or AI’s management.”

According to different source, “the other girl [reportedly XO] was still visibly groggy, even during the police questioning.”

According to the source, “it looks like the girls went to the club before the guys (allegedly XX and Blackstone) and had already started drinking.”

As reported in “The Nicola Furlong Case: Fact, Fallacy, Phallusy, Opinions and Contradiction,” the amount of alcohol consumed prior, during and after the concert would seem to validate the statements above and lends credence to certain testimony regarding the physical and mental state of Ms. Furlong and her friend while at the hotel.

testimony

THE WITNESS IN THE ROOM

The Irish Sun also reported:

“Sandoz said: “Hinds was standing there topless and wearing boxer shorts. There was a girl but I did not know it was Nicola at the time.

“I asked what happened and he said, ‘We had sex and she passed out.’ I couldn’t tell if she was breathing and Hinds was paralyzed with fear.

“The hotel staff tried to resuscitate her, beginning by trying to massage her heart. I then saw another girl, Nicola’s friend, and told her that her friend was going to hospital.

“She didn’t seem to understand and kept looking skywards. I told her calmly that it was going to be okay.”

The witness also said he thought the girls were “party girls, the kind who take drugs like speed or meth”.”

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SPIKED DRINKS OR DENIAL?

Ms. Furlong’s friend, Victim A, has testified that:

“I think the reason I became unconscious was because he (Blackston) may have put something in my drink.”

Black Tokyo has already presented that Ms. Furlong and her friend went way beyond social drinking the day of the concert.

However, an interesting study reveals:

“A study of more than 200 students revealed many wrongly blamed the effects of a “bad night out” on date-rape drugs, when they had just drunk excessively. Many are in “active denial” that drinking large amounts of alcohol can leave them “incoherent and incapacitated”, the Kent University researchers concluded.

Co-researcher Dr Sarah Moore said: “We would be very interested in finding out whether the urban myth of spiking is also the result of parents feeling unable to discuss with their adult daughters how to manage drinking and sex and representing their anxieties about this through discussion of drink spiking risks.”

Nick Ross, chair of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, commented: “There is no evidence of widespread use of hypnotics in sexual assault, let alone Rohypnol, despite many attempts to prove the contrary.

“During thousands of blood and alcohol tests lots of judgement-impairing compounds were discovered, but they were mostly street drugs or prescription pharmaceuticals taken by the victims themselves, and above all alcohol was the common theme.” SOURCE

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DISAGREEMENT OVER THE CAUSE OF DEATH

Doctors for the prosecution and defense are at odds over how Ms. Furlong died:

A witness for the defence, US-based pathologist Dr Marianne Hamel argued it was difficult to detect how Nicola died.

Dr. Hamel said: “The marks on Nicola Furlong’s neck were fairly ambiguous.

“We disagree on the amount that she suffered. I don’t believe you can say that from the pictures in the report. But I do agree that she was strangled.”

The defense’s witness, Dr. Hamel states: “I do agree that she was strangled” adding that she “agreed that however the strangulation occurred it lasted for “several minutes.”

The defendant testified:

“I accept that she was in the room and that I did press lightly on her neck.”

“I did not use an object or a towel. I do not believe that I was the cause of her death because the pressure was too light.

“There was no resistance from her. I had no intent, motive or reason to hurt, harm or kill her.”
(via thestar.ie)

So what exactly does strangled mean?

Definition of STRANGLE:

transitive verb
1a : to choke to death by compressing the throat with something (as a hand or rope) : throttle
b : to obstruct seriously or fatally the normal breathing of

Medical Definition of STRANGLE:

transitive verb
1: to choke to death by compressing the throat with something (as a hand or rope)
2: to obstruct seriously or fatally the normal breathing of

During testimony, Dr. Yoshida revealed:

“During the attack, she bled from her nose, blood-vessels burst in her eyes and eyelids and she suffered bleeding in the muscles of her neck and on her lungs.”

QUESTION: Could this occur from an interaction of alcohol (vodka, whiskey and tequila) and drugs (Xanax)?

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TRIPPIN’

It has been reported that Ms. Furlong was prescribed Xanax while in her native Ireland:

“The court also heard that Xanax had been prescribed for Ms Furlong by a doctor in Ireland due to bouts of stress and anxiety, the court was told.

Nicola’s father, Andrew, later confirmed that the family was well aware Nicola was taking Xanax for “mild” anxiety attacks, which had also been brought on by such events as her flight from Dublin to Tokyo in February last year.

Naoko Wada of the prosecution team said that eight of the Xanax 0.25mg tablets had been prescribed for Ms Furlong in Ireland in Feb 2012. Following her death seven had been recovered from her belongings, meaning one had been consumed between her return to Tokyo and the time of her death.”

According to the Xanax website: “Most people being treated for anxiety take either the 0.25 mg tablets or the 0.5 mg tablets (one tablet, three times a day).”

Dr. Masaki Hiraiwa, a cancer specialist that was called by the defense, testified that:

“He believed the concentration found in Ms Furlong’s bloodstream indicated that she may have taken the drug half a day before she died. He estimated the drug would take maximum effect after two hours, but said that depended on the patient.”

If Ms. Furlong took Xanax approximately half a day before she died and it is estimated that she died between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 3:25 a.m. on the morning of May 24. That means that she took the drug prior to the concert, a drug which was prescribed approximately three-months earlier, between the estimated hours of approximately 3:00 p.m. and 3:25 p.m. with copious amounts of alcohol. Is this important? In a previous Black Tokyo post, “Furlong’s Friend Testifies: Does it Help or Hurt the Case?” I presented:

“So, it is plausible that the women had an estimated BAC of .057 to .07 at the time of arrival to Zepp Tokyo and, as delivered in testimony by Victim A, they “had drunk fewer than four” bottles of their vodka and juice cocktail (remember two of the bottles had been confiscated at the door which BT assumes to have been one 500 ml and one 650 ml bottle). The BAC could have higher after the concert since the women had a cassis and soda (it is assumed one drink at this point) at the concert they attended on the evening of May 23rd, and later two tequila shots in Shibuya.

Overall, alcohol during an hour and half train ride (estimate), a beverage (or two) at the concert, possibly the remainder of the vodka and juice mix after the concert (if the bottles were returned) and two shots of tequila are known to have been consumed (there reportedly was a vodka and Red Bull ordered at the club, as well). Black Tokyo opines that the amount of alcohol consumed is more than a sufficient cause for the women to blackout UNLESS drugs were involved (Victim A’s urine sample proved otherwise and Ms. Furlong had her prescribed Xanax in her system). Did Victim A express surprise at blacking out because she had a high tolerance for alcohol? Is it important? Maybe, especially since the remainder of her testimony and credibility will come into play.” SOURCE

So if Ms. Furlong took a Xanax between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 3:25 p.m. (Black Tokyo estimated that Ms. Furlong and her friend took the 3:41 p.m. local train to arrive in Tokyo at 5:15 p.m.) and could have arrived in Tokyo with a BAC of .057 to .07 based on the amount of alcohol consumed prior arriving at the concert.

Overall, alcohol during an hour and half train ride (estimate), a beverage (or two) at the concert, possibly the remainder of the vodka and juice mix after the concert (if the bottles were returned) and two shots of tequila are known to have been consumed (there reportedly was a vodka and Red Bull ordered at the club, as well).

IS THE TESTIMONY THAT FAR-FETCHED?

Keep in mind the testimony given by the witness, dancer Dmac Sandoz, that…

“thought the girls were “party girls, the kind who take drugs like speed or meth”

What doe alcohol and Xanax do to a person?

“Any benzodiazepine is highly dangerous in combination with alcohol, but Xanax is perhaps the most dangerous, because it is more fast-acting than the others. Because xanax and alcohol both work on the brain at a rapid-fire pace, their mutually enhancing effect is bolstered compared to slower-acting benzodiazepine like Klonopin, which peaks in the brain more slowly, after the effect of the alcohol may have already begun to decline.”

Remember that the defendant, the minor accused of killing Ms. Furlong, stated that she was…

…tripping” before her death.”

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In examining the impact of Xanax and alcohol:

““It’s hard to overdose on Xanax alone,” says Dr. Ken Thompson, medical director at Caron Treatment Centers, although, he is quick to add that it’s not impossible.

But unlike alcohol, Xanax only affects one specific type of brain receptor. Therefore, the mechanism by which it can influence brain function is constrained.

“Alcohol doesn’t have that limit, but often people will pass out before they drink enough alcohol for it to be lethal,” Thompson says. “You take the two together and you have a totally different picture.”

Your usual three drinks is actually six,” says Dr. Karen Miotto, professor of clinical psychiatry and director of the Alcoholism and Addiction Medicine Service at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.”

So if the usual three drinks, which equates to the 750 ml of vodka and orange juice Victim A testified was consumed by her and Ms. Furlong equates to six drinks PRIOR TO arrival to the concert, it is plausible that Ms. Furlong had a BAC of 0.113 g/100 ml means:

“If your BAC is between 0.10 and 0.125 your speech will be slurred and your balance, vision, reactions time and hearing will be impaired. Your motor coordination will also be significantly impaired and you’ll have a loss of good judgment.”

This is Black Tokyo’s estimated BAC of Ms. Furlong (an estimated body weight of 60 kg and a 7.5-hour timespan to consume the equivalent of twelve (amount doubled due to drug) 250ml alcoholic drinks was used for this calculation) prior to the concert! Add one cassis and soda and two shots of tequila afterwards, her BAC could have potentially been 0.201 g/100 ml means:

If your BAC is 0.201, you’ll probably need help if you want to walk properly. If you fall down you probably won’t feel a lot of pain – even if you hurt yourself. At this level of BAC, some people begin to vomit. At the very least, you’ll feel dazed, confused and disoriented. Note: At this point your gag reflex will be impaired. This means that if you’re lying down and you vomit, you could choke and die.

SOURCE

probable BAC

The 0.201 BAC shown above on the chart is Black Tokyo’s calculation using the Alcohol Help Center database for BAC limits in Ireland and does not include the probability that Ms. Furlong and Victim had the remaining two of five bottles of vodka and orange juice from Zepp Tokyo after the concert and does not include the possibility that they consumed a tequila shot and Red Bull which the defendant Mr. Blackston stated he purchased at the bar in Shibuya. Does Black Tokyo’s calculation miss the mark? The forensic examiner stated that Ms. Furlong had a BAC of 2.14mg of alcohol per 1ml of blood (0.214 BAC) at the time of her autopsy. Can .25mg of Xanax contribute to such a high BAC? Either it did or Ms. Furlong consumed more alcohol.

According to Dr. Kenichi Yoshida, an expert in forensic medicine, “the blood test results also showed that the alcohol level in Ms Furlong’s blood was 2.14mg of alcohol per 1ml of blood.

So the prosecution’s medical witness stated that this (the 0.214 BAC) was not high enough to be a factor in her death and “in this case it is very clear the cause of death was due to strangulation,,” according to the Independent.ie. One thing we know for sure is that Xanax and alcohol are a deadly combination.

However, the defense’s medical witness stated:

“she could not tell if the strangulation documented in the autopsy photos was “done with a ligature or with hands”. She also spoke about Nicola consuming alcohol and taking sleeping pills, adding: “I do think it had quite an effect because the Xanax was still in her blood.
“I think it would have had a sedative effect. Alcohol and Xanax taken together, make both drugs more powerful.”” Source

Additionally, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP):

“Of all the things that people ingest, there are few combinations more life-threatening than alcohol and benzodiazepines—the class of sedatives that includes Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin.

The reason? When taken together, alcohol and Xanax have what’s known as an additive effect, which means that in the presence of Xanax, alcohol is made more potent than it would be alone.

Both alcohol and benzodiazepines work by depressing the central nervous system of the body, reducing the activity of several broad-stroke mental functions, such as thought, memory, coordination, and respiration.” SOURCE

WHY THE FOCUS ON THE TOXICOLOGY REPORT?

1. Ms. Furlong passed out at the club and reportedly acted strange (tripped) at the hotel
2. The women’s state of mind was questioned. For example, why would they go with those two men?
3. Victim A stated that she could not remember.

To address all three points, in a nutshell, it seems that alcohol and probably a drug (in Ms. Furlong’s case), played a major role in Ms. Furlong’s and her friend’s judgment and demeanor.
This is probably a more plausible explanation to those that do not want to consider that the women had a genuine interest (sexual or non-sexual) in the two men currently on trial.

Additionally, according to CDCP:

“Because of the additive effect of combining the two substances, it becomes impossible to know just how your body will absorb the alcohol you’ve ingested. Throw in other factors—sleep deprivation, an empty stomach, a cold—and the mixture is made all the more unpredictable.

“What I think is the most tragic aspect of this combination is that you can get amnesia. So not only is it additive in terms of the respiratory effect, but the amnesic effect is additive,” Miotto says. “You can get people who die accidentally in the truest sense of the word. They don’t remember how many drinks they had, or how many pills they took.”

So, is this information important? It is if you want to establish the events leading up to the fatal morning Ms. Furlong lost her life. Are there lessons learned? Will this paint a different picture of the two women, one that has paid dearly with her life while the other is probably trying to hold on to whatever life is currently bringing her. Oh! Let’s not forget about the men on trial. Judging by the comments by the press and online, many would like to do just that. However, in being fair and in search of the entire story, let’s continue to examine the testimony, the evidence, the partial truths and the truths in the hope that justice is served.

Be sure to check out the next story dealing with the charge against Mr. Blackston and his testimony surrounding the night of Ms. Furlong’s tragic death.

The following BT’ers contributed to BT’s reporting of the Nicola Furlong death investigation: @blacktokyo, @onmugen @starrwulfe @ogPegasus303

Have inquiries, an opinion or rant? Feel free to join the discussion via Disqus below.

Click here for additional Black Tokyo posts on the investigation into the death of Nicola Furlong.

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