MIAMI – The first witnesses have taken the stand in the trial of an Aventura developer accused of killing his wife.
Adam Kaufman is charged with second degree murder in the death of his wife Lina.READ MORE: Police: Glades Middle School Teacher Arrested After Pursuing Romantic Relationship With Former Student
In November 2007 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.
During his opening statement, prosecutor Joe Mansfield told the jury Lina Kaufman was a perfectly healthy woman at the time of her death.
“She was active, she had a lot of friends, a healthy active woman, arguably in the best shape of her life,” said Mansfield. “But all that ended cause of the actions of that man (pointing at Kaufman), her husband.”
Prosecutors then showed the jury photos of bruises on her neck and hemorrhaging in her eyes which is consistent with the ME’s report that she had been strangled.
Mansfield then went on to point out inconsistencies in Kaufman’s story of what happened the night his wife died.
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.
Mansfield said while it may have seemed like a long time between Lina’s death and her husband’s arrest, the police and ME wanted to get it right before they pressed charges.
During his opening statement defense attorney Bill Matthewman told the panel that “no murder, no homicide was ever committed.”READ MORE: Ex-BSO Deputy Jorge Sobrino Testifies In Inmate Beating Trial
“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 told the jury that he intends to show them that 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.
The first witnesses to take the stand were the emergency operators who set up the 911 which ran 23 minutes.
As the call was played, Kaufman appeared to get emotional at some points.
In the call, Kaufman sounds hysterical as he shouts “Oh my God” several times. When asked if his wife was still breathing, Kaufman replied “No.”
The operator then walked him through how to perform CPR while he waited for paramedics to arrive. It took a rescue crew at least 15 minutes to arrive after they had difficulty finding the address.
Matthewman said it was the first foul up in a case that was botched from the start.
Mansfield said he intends to produce hospital personnel who will testify that Kaufman’s behavior at the hospital seemed odd, that he went back and forth between “calm and under control and hysterical.” The suggestion being that his behavior was for show.
Miami-Dade firefighter Brett Anderson, the first to arrive at the condo, testified that Kaufman was fully dressed, supporting the state’s argument that he didn’t awake to find his wife and immediately call 911. Anderson also testified that when he asked Kaufman if his wife had any medical history or illness, Kaufman replied no. This would seem to refute the defense argument that Lina Kaufman had a history of fainting spells.
Matthewman said Lina Kaufman’s parents will testify for the defense. Part of the Matthewman’s strategy will be to attack the Aventura police department’s investigation for failing to listen to Lina Kaufman’s mother who tried to tell them of her daughter’s medical history and fainting episodes.MORE NEWS: Man Hospitalized In NW Miami, As Police Investigate Possible Road Rage Shooting
Kaufman has been free on a half million dollar bond since June, 2009. He faces a possible life in prison sentence if convicted.