Plumbing expert subject of arguments in Cusick case

Plumbing expert subject of arguments in Cusick case

Court filings in the murder case against 51-year-old Ken Cusick, of Ottawa, show lawyers are still arguing about whether testimony from a plumbing expert should be allowed.

Cusick is accused of drowning his wife, Tracy Lynn Cusick, in a toilet over ten years ago.

Cusick’s lawyer argues that plumbing expert and consultant Julius Ballanco isn’t qualified to come to the conclusion that Tracy Cusick was drowned by Ken Cusick because he’s not qualified in forensic pathology or determining someone’s cause of death. A court filing also says that Ballanco shouldn’t be mentioning wounds on Tracy’s forehead because he’s not an expert on injuries.

Ken Cusick after his 2017 arrest.

The State’s Attorney’s Office argues in a filing from last week that Ballanco is a recognized expert in the field of plumbing safety and that his conclusion that it’s impossible for someone to accidentally drown in a toilet is well within his range of expertise.

A more subtle argument by Cusick’s lawyers contends that a previous Wisconsin case where Ballanco testified was tossed.

Prosecutors say it’s not about the conclusion of the case, but that Ballanco was qualified to testify in it as an expert in the field of plumbing.

Tracy Cusick

Cusicks lawyers are also arguing that Ballanco wasn’t at the crime scene and should not be making conclusions about water on the floor of the bathroom or in the toilet bowl.

Prosecutors say the Ottawa Police Department’s photographs and measurements are accurate and are plenty for Ballanco to use in his testimony.

Judge Cynthia Raccuglia could rule on the issue next week ahead of Cusick’s July 15 trial.