Travis County District Judge Julie Kocurek’s face and arms were riddled with red, open wounds as she lay motionless in a hospital bed.
For 15 consecutive days, she was under anesthesia as she underwent multiple surgeries. She spent three days in a medically-induced coma so doctors could help fight an infection that if untreated could have been fatal, said Dr. Patrick Combs, a plastic surgeon who treats gunshot wound victims.
“She was critically ill at that time,” Combs said Monday as he testified Monday during day 12 of Chimene Onyeri’s federal trial.
Onyeri is accused of orchestrating the assassination attempt against Kocurek, who was shot Nov. 6, 2015, outside her Austin home.
Reconstructive surgery, skin grafts and an amputation filled the days and weeks that followed until Kocurek was discharged from the hospital in stable condition on Dec. 15, 2015.
“She had a lot of recovery still,” said Combs, who operated during the majority of Kocurek’s 20 surgeries.
Now, more than two years later, Combs said Kocurek is still recovering. She had another surgery in February and “may require some more as well,” he said.
Her hand, which had an index finger amputated, is functional but Combs said, “it will never be 100 percent what it was before.”
FBI details Onyeri texts
An FBI agent, who also testified Monday, said Onyeri texted an associate “God is good bro” after learning they’d be able to help him get Kocurek’s address.
The text message was sent Oct. 7, 2015, about a month before Kocurek was shot. It was also shortly after Onyeri appeared in her courtroom and learned his probation was at risk of being revoked, according to testimony from the federal trial.
When the prosecutors asked the FBI agent about the importance of the text messages about the address, which started with one saying “dis b—- talking about 6 to 7 years, SMH,” the agent, referring to Onyeri, said “he’s just been in front of the judge … he’s decided what he’s going to do to the judge.”
Several images were also recovered from the phone, including photos with the judge’s home phone number and address along with pictures of vehicles similar to the ones she owns, the FBI agent said.
The agent also said photos found on Onyeri’s phone include one of her rear license plate taken from the perspective of someone following her, as well as a photo from outside of her son’s school after he was dropped off at school the day of the shooting. There were also photos of peacocks, which the agent said is significant because the judge lived near a park known for roaming peacocks.
Later that night, around 6:30 p.m. on the day of the shooting, two photos were taken near the intersection of Parkway and Baylor, one of which showed stadium lights in the background. Those photos were taken while Kocurek and her family ate at a nearby restaurant, the agent said. Then, around 7:45 p.m., photos of stadium lights and the score were taken and an internet search of the judge’s son was conducted. The FBI agent said Onyeri was trying to get a feel for when the Friday night football game the judge was at with her family would be over so he would know when she would be back at her home.
Over the weekend, prosecutors learned data was extracted from a second broken phone that was recovered in the vehicle when Onyeri was stopped near his Houston home on Nov. 9, 2015, three days after Kocurek was shot.
Monday morning, the prosecutor told U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel he expects to enter some of the phone’s contents into evidence before its suspected owner, co-defendant Marcellus Burgin, testifies.
The court is in recess until 9 a.m. Tuesday, when testimony will continue. Follow KXAN.com for updates.
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