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Not Guilty Verdict For Aventura Developer Accused In Wife’s Death

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Adam Kaufman at a pre-trial hearing on Friday, May 4, 2012 (Source: CBS4)

Adam Kaufman at a pre-trial hearing on Friday, May 4, 2012 (Source: CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Aventura developer accused of killing his wife 2007 has been found not guilty.

A jury acquitted Adam Kaufman of second degree murder jury roughly eight hours after jurors began deliberations.

After the verdict, Kaufman’s family members cried and fell into each others’ arms in relief. Adam Kaufman and his twin brother posed for a picture with the verdict form.

“We all knew this day would come,” said Kaufman, “It was just a question of when — and today’s the day.”

Jury Foreman Bernard Jennings said the jury did not think the state proved its murder case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“There was a plethora of circumstances that led to reasonable doubt. There wasn’t one circumstance that led to reasonable doubt,” Jennings explained.

After he came out of the courthouse, Kaufman hugged the jury foreman and thanked him. Lina’s mother, who has supported her son-in-law did the same.

Kaufman said he plans to move forward and raise his children without this “looming over our heads.” He said his wife, Lina, is never far from his heart. He said, “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her, and she’s here she was watching over this and she can finally rest in peace.”

Throughout the trial, prosecutors have argued that based on the evidence, observations of police officers involved in the investigation and the Medical Examiner’s conclusions, Kaufman strangled his wife and then called 911 and told the operator he found his wife dead the their bathroom.

Kaufman’s defense attorneys claim Lina, 33, had a history of health problems and on the morning of her death she had a heart attack in the bathroom, collapsed and her neck ended up draped over a magazine rack. They even had Lina’s mother testify about her daughter’s health problems.

Monday, both the state and defense gave their closing arguments.

Click Here to read about how each side wrapped up its case.

Tuesday morning, the state was given time for a brief rebuttal. Prosecutor Matt Baldwin questioned the testimony of Frida Aizman.

Baldwin, with a sardonic tone, referred to Aizman as the defense’s “star witness.”

“What could be more compelling than the victim’s own mother testifying for the defendant,” Baldwin asked the jury.

Aizman had testified that Kaufman never as much as raised his voice to her daughter.

The prosecutor said Aizman’s motive for backing her son-in-law was to maintain her relationship with her two grandchildren.

“What do you think would happen if she didn’t support him? Do you think she would be seeing her grandchildren,” Baldwin said. “This is her tie, the joy of her life. Do you think she’s going to go against him?”

At that point Aizman shouted at the prosecutor from her seat in the first row of the courtroom, directly behind the defendant.

“Are you accusing me of lies,” Aizman asked, incredulous.

Judge Bronwyn Miller reacted immediately.

“I’m not going to have any outbursts from the audience,” the judge said to Aizman. “You can have a seat outside.”

Baldwin appeared to realize he may have erred in going after the victim’s mother.

“I would never, ever, ever accuse her of lying,” he told the jury.

The panel began deliberating at 10 a.m.

At one point, the jury sent out a note asking to see the slides of Lina Kaufman’s heart that were prepared by defense expert Dr. John Marriccini. Because the slides were used as a demonstrative tool and not actually entered into evidence, the judge wrote back that the jury couldn’t have them.

The jury’s question would indicate they have cut straight to the chase, focusing on the expert testimony. From the beginning both sides have agreed that, in this circumstantial case, it would come down to whose experts the jury believed.

In her final instructions, Judge Miller told the jury they could find Kaufman guilty of the “lesser included offense” of manslaughter. The defense wanted an all or nothing murder instruction.

 

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