U.S. forensic experts rule out fatal accident in Tokmadi case

ASTANA – Specialists from the United States invited to Kazakhstan to reconstruct the crime scene in the Tokmadi case recently concluded that the gun in question could not shoot by itself. They insist it was a deliberate murder.

The Zhambyl regional specialised criminal court continues hearings on the case of Muratkhan Tokmadi, who is accused of murdering banker Yerzhan Tatishev during a hunt in 2004. The court interrogated Feb. 27 American experts invited by the legal team of the Tatishev family, Patrick M. Murphy and Michael S. Perkins, who have more than 20 years of experience in forensics, and Iris Dalley Graff, who specialises in bloodstain pattern analysis and shooting incident reconstruction.

The judge determined that foreign experts would be interrogated as experts, not witnesses, since they were not eyewitnesses or participants of the crime. Murphy stressed that a forensic expert group consisting of several people was invited to investigate the case. He stated that the weapon was aimed at the victim, and the shot could have happened only if someone pulled the trigger.

“I was asked to consider all the testimonies in this case and find out why and how the death occurred. I organised a forensic expert group. A doctor, a crime expert and a bloodstain expert made a crime reconstruction based on bloodstains. We came to Kazakhstan and started working with the local police, collected all the documents on this case – videos, written evidence, witness testimonies and weapons examinations. The cause of death is an injury in the head. The manner of the crime is murder,” said Murphy.

According to the expert, taking into account the position of the victim, the trajectory of the bullet, the size of the vehicle, the location of bloodstains, his group created a computer model of the crime. When asked whether the gun could shoot by itself, the expert answered unequivocally.

“The weapon used here was very expensive; it would have never shot by itself. We interviewed the person who cleaned the weapon and he said it was in perfect condition. After the death, the gun was checked by the police, and there was no evidence that it could shoot accidentally, and the Kazakh doctor also gave an expert opinion that it could not shoot by itself,” the American expert said.

Murphy also ruled out one of the versions of the family of the deceased banker. He stated that the shot could not have been made by a person sitting in the front seat, Tatishev’s bodyguard Sergey Kozlikin.

“No, there is no way he could have done it. We looked at all the trajectories and made a computer simulation, the bullet flew from the back seat, a little from below. A person sitting next to the victim couldn’t have done this,” the expert added.

Tokmadi pleaded guilty Feb. 16 to murdering then Chairman of the Board of the BTA Bank Yerzhan Tatishev during a winter hunting trip in December 2004. The case into Tatishev’s death was reopened after Tokmadi’s confession to shooting Tatishev on orders from Mukhtar Ablyazov in a KTK TV channel documentary in October 2017.

Ablyazov is a fugitive banker who is wanted in Russia and Ukraine and is convicted in absentia in London for the contempt of court with a sentence of 22 months and in Kazakhstan to 20 years in prison for allegedly embezzling 7.5 billion dollars from BTA bank.

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