MIAMI (CBS4) — The spray can tan did it. That will be the core of the defense as Aventura developer Adam Kaufman goes on trial Monday for the alleged murder of his wife Lina in 2007.
A hysterical Kaufman called 911 in November 2007 and said that he had awakened after a night of sleep to find his wife in the bathroom, unconscious, her neck draped over a bar on a magazine rack.
More than a year and a half later, Aventura police charged Kaufman with murder. The medical examiner found that Lina Kaufman had been killed by “mechanical strangulation,” and that force would have to have been applied to cause her to strangle.
Police disputed Kaufman’s claim that he had been asleep all night. An arriving officer at the scene reported that the hood of his car was still warm, suggesting he had recently arrived home. Police also said it appeared only one side of the couple’s bed had been slept in, suggesting that only Lina Kaufman had been in the night she was killed.
Kaufman’s defense attorneys will argue that Lina Kaufman had a history of fainting spells, and that she had applied a spray-on tan earlier that resulted in a violent allergic reaction, causing fatal respiratory failure after she collapsed, her neck draped over the magazine rack.
The trial will feature battling medical experts.
In an odd twist, Lina Kaufman’s parents are on the defense witness list. In a pre-trial hearing Friday, defense attorney William Matthewman said the parents will offer testimony that supports the position that their son-in-law did not kill their daughter.
Adam Kaufman has been free on a half million dollar bond since June, 2009. Charged with 2nd degree murder, he faces possible life in prison if convicted.
Judge Bronwyn Miller rejected a defense request that jurors not be allowed to hear testimony from police that Kaufman’s car was still warm when they arrived at the couple’s Aventura condominium and that his side of the bed appeared not to have been slept in. The defense argued, unsuccessfully, that the observations of the officers were subjective.
The Judge also rejected a motion to allow jurors to hear a defense claim that Kaufman passed a polygraph, or lie detector test.
Jury selection begins Monday, and the trial is expected to last at least two weeks.
The “spray can tan” defense has drawn national media attention.
CBS’s “48 Hours,” NBC’s “Dateline,” and Court TV are all covering the trial.