MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Testimony resumed Tuesday in the trial of Aventura developer Adam Kaufman who is accused of killing his wife, Lina.
Dr. Tracy Baker was the first witness to take the stand Tuesday. He had previously performed plastic surgery on Lina Kaufman. Dr. Baker said Lina was fit and worked out two or three times a week.
The defense team has said that Lina Kaufman was sick and had a bad heart. Under cross-examination, Dr. Baker said Lina may have had heart issues that he did not detect or symptoms she did not reveal in giving her medical history.
Also Tuesday, Lina’s best friend Larissa Adamyan took the stand. She said Lina did have at least one previous fainting spell.
“She was dizzy, she called me. She was dizzy and on the floor,” said Adamyan.
Adamyan also told the jury that Adam and Lina had a loving relationship and that he was a devoted husband.
During Adamyan’s testimony, a tear rolled down the cheek of Adam Kaufman.
Dr. Baker’s testimony came after testimony made late Monday by firefighter Brett Anderson. The firefighter contradicted Adam Kaufman’s claim that he awoke to find his wife collapsed in the bathroom.
Anderson testified that Kaufman didn’t look like someone who had been doing CPR for 15 minutes and also noted that Adam was dressed and his side of the bed did not appear slept in.
“His story did not match the things that we were seeing,” Anderson said Monday.
Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Chester Gwinn testified that Lina Kaufman had extensive, deep bruising to her neck and bruises on her legs and back. Gwinn was not able to determine a definitive cause and manner of death, but said he found no evidence of heart disease or heart attack.
The defense said the fact that it took the medical examiner a year and a half to conclude Kaufman was asphyxiated and to call it murder puts a cloud over the finding.
The case started in November 2007 when a hysterical Kaufman called 911 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.
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. More than a year and a half later, Aventura police charged Kaufman with murder.
Prosecutor Joe Mansfield maintains Lina Kaufman was a perfectly healthy woman at the time of her death. He also told the jury in his opening statement that there were inconsistencies in Kaufman’s story that he woke up and found his wife dead.
First, according to Mansfield, Kaufman was “standing in the bedroom fully dressed” when paramedics arrived at their home. Mansfield said that didn’t jive with Kaufman’s story in which he said woke after a night of sleep to find his wife unconscious and not breathing in the bathroom; slumped off the toilet, her neck draped on magazine rack.
Mansfield went on to tell the jury he has a police officer who will testify she arrived at home to find Kaufman’s car still hot to the touch which suggested that he had recently arrived home.
During his opening statement defense attorney Bill Matthewman told the panel that “no murder, no homicide was ever committed.”
“The investigation underlying this case was biased, incompetent, flawed and inept,” said Matthewman.
He also stressed that the state has offered no motive, not even a vague theory, as to why Kaufman would want to kill his wife.
Matthewman claims Lina Kaufman had a history of heart problems and fainting spells. The night she died, she collapsed of heart attack and struck her neck on the magazine rack which explained the injury.
Kaufman, who is free on half million dollar, could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted.