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Friday, August 5, 2016

The Adam Kaufman "Spray Tan" Murder Case

     Adam Kaufman, on November 7, 2007, called 911 from his home in Aventura, Florida. Sounding hysterical, the 34-year-old south Florida real estate developer informed the dispatcher that he had awaken that morning to find his wife, Eleonora (Lina) slumped unconscious in the bathroom, her neck draped over a bar on a magazine rack. Paramedics rushed the 33-year-old to the hospital where she died later that day.

     One of the responding officers with the Aventura Police Department touched the hood of Adam's car and found it warm. Another officer noticed that only one side of the couple's bed had been slept in. As a result, the police didn't believe Adam Kaufman when he claimed to have slept all night next to  his wife.

     Associate Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Dr. Chester Gwen conducted the autopsy. Although the forensic pathologist found injuries on Lina's upper-back and abrasions on her chin, neck, left shoulder, and chest as well as hemorrhages in her interior neck muscles, declared her cause and manner of death "undetermined."

     Without a finding of death by homicide, the Kaufman case remained in limbo for 18 months. In May 2009, Miami-Dade County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce A. Hyma, ruled that Lina Kaufman had died by mechanical asphyxiation, that she had been strangled. The following month, the prosecutor, even though he didn't have evidence of marital strife, or a motive, charged Adam Kaufman with second-degree murder.

     At Kaufman's bond hearing, his attorneys revealed the defense version of the death: Lina Kaufman, with a history of fainting spells, had applied a spray-on tanning substance that resulted in a violent allergic reaction causing respiratory failure. When she collapsed, she fell with her neck draped over the magazine rack bar.

     Adam Kaufman's trial commenced on May 7, 2012 before Judge Brownyn Miller in Miami, Florida. A week later, following the jury selection process, defense attorney Bill Matthewman, in his opening remarks, unveiled the new defense version of Lina Kaufman's death: while sitting on the toilet she had a heart attack and fell forward with her neck hitting the bar of the magazine rack. In addressing the prosecutor's case, attorney Matthewman said, "The state's evidence cannot even prove that a homicide occurred, let alone that Adam Kaufman did it....The case is a tragedy of errors. An innocent man was charged with a non-existent crime...."

     Prosecutor Joe Mansfield, in his opening speech to the jurors, said that Lina Kaufman had been a "healthy, active woman, arguably in the best shape of her life. All of that ended because of the actions of that man, her husband."

      In this case, the outcome would come down to how Lina Kaufman had died, naturally or by the hand of her husband. That meant that the important testimony would be of a medico-legal nature.

     On May 16, Dr. Bruce Hyma took the stand for the prosecution. The Chief Medical Examiner for Miami-Dade County testified that Lina Kaufman had died from strangulation and not a heart attack. Dr. Tracy Baker, the plastic surgeon who had enhanced Mrs. Kaufman's breasts, told the jury that when he examined her a few months before her death, she was in good health. Defense attorney Albert Milian asked Dr. Baker on cross-examination if Lina could have been lied to him about her medical history. The witness answered yes.

     Dr. Chester Gwen, the former Miami-Dade County forensic pathologist who had performed the autopsy in 2007, testified that the injuries he had found on Kaufman's body had not been caused by emergency personnel who had tried to revive her. On cross-examination, Dr. Gwen admitted that in April 2012, he had said that in his expert opinion, the cause of Lina Kaufman's death was still a mystery to him. The forensic pathologist also said that Dr. Hyma, before he ruled the death a homicide by strangulation, had not consulted with him.

     Larissa Adamyan, a friend of the deceased woman, took the stand on behalf of the prosecution. As it turned out, her testimony helped the defense more than the prosecution. The witness described the relationship between the defendant and his wife as a "loving marriage." Ten hours before Lina's death, in anticipation of Adam's brother Seth's upcoming wedding, she had gotten a spray tan.

     Aventura police officer Robert Meyers took the stand and said that at the hospital the day Lina died, he overheard the defendant tell three different versions of what he had seen that morning in the bathroom. According to this witness, the defendant said he had found Lina's neck resting on the toilet bowl; her body slumped over the toilet; and her head hung over the magazine rack. On cross-examination, defense attorney Milian got the witness to admit that none of this information was included in his police report.

     Dr. Bruce Hyma re-took the stand on May 2, 2012 to explain why it had taken 18 months to declare Lina Kaufman's cause and manner of death as a strangulation homicide. The forensic pathologist attributed this passage of time to a delayed toxicological report and the fact he wanted to be sure he made the right call. On cross-examination, the defense attorney accused the medical examiner of caving in to pressure from the prosecutor to declare Lina Kaufman's death a homicide.

     Prosecutor Mathew Baldwin, during the direct examination of a friend of the deceased woman, asked if the witness had been aware that the defendant, shortly after his wife's death, had been carrying on with another woman. This question brought an objection from the defense. Judge Miller called the attorneys to the bench and excused the jury. In justifying this line of questioning, prosecutor Baldwin said, "He's [the defendant] is asking this girl out with his dead wife's wedding ring on his finger the next month in December 2007. [Lina died in November.] By January and February, they're having regular sex. He was not exactly devastated by his wife's passing. The best analogy I can think of is when Casey Anthony was getting a tattoo [after the death of her child]."

     Judge Miller asked the prosecutor if the state had evidence that the defendant had been unfaithful to his wife. The answer was no. Judge Miller ruled that the prosecution could not present evidence of the defendant's post-death dating. At his point, defense attorney Matthewman asked the judge for a mistrial on the grounds the jury had heard the question which had planted the idea in jurors' minds that the defendant had not been a good husband. Judge Miller denied the motion. She had told the jurors to disregard the question.

     That afternoon, a Miami-Dade crime scene technician testified that Lina Kaufman's fingernails contained traces of her blood and tissue, suggesting she had clawed at something around her neck. The prosecutor also called a physicist to the stand who said it would have been physically impossible for Lina to have fallen off the toilet and land with her head draped over the magazine rack. With that, the prosecution rested its case.

     On Thursday, May 24, the defense launched its case by calling Lina's mother Frida Aizman to the stand. This witness told the jury that she and her family loved the defendant, and after Lina's death they had become even closer. The witness also testified that in the weeks leading up to her daughter's death Lina had complained of headaches and feeling weak. She had tried yoga to relieve her headaches.

     Miami-Dade fire rescue captain, Joseph Carman, the first responder to enter the Kaufman house, testified that he found the defendant giving Lina CPR. According to the witness, Mr. Kaufman was wearing a t-shirt and boxer shorts. The defense presented this testimony because it was consistent with Adam Kaufman's story that he awoke after a night of sleep to find his wife collapsed in the bathroom.

     Thomas Hill, a Broward County Sheriff's Office crime scene investigator took the stand for the defense and criticized Kaufman case investigators for not collecting important physical evidence. The witness said they had failed to gather Adam Kaufman's clothing, magazines from the bathroom rack, and bedding from the master bedroom. The crime scene investigator also said he could see no evidence of a struggle in the small bathroom. "My goodness," he said, "she would have been kicking those walls in, and I don't see any of that." The witness said that if Lina had been strangled, the defendant would have had gouge marks on his arms from her trying to claw them from her neck.

     Dr. John Marriccini, the former Palm Beach County Chief Medical Examiner, testified that the forensic pathologists in the Kaufman case had overlooked Lina Kaufman's history of health problems which included heart disease. Celebrity forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden climbed into the witness box and said, "Lina Kaufman did not die of unnatural causes. There was no homicide, there was no murder. She died of natural causes." Dr. Baden testified that in his expert opinion, Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Bruce Hyma had based his homicide ruling on the work of two rookie forensic pathologists who had gotten it wrong. Dr. Baden said Lina Kaufman died of an heart attack and that the injuries to her throat from hitting the magazine rack had been exacerbated by bungled resuscitation attempts by the defendant and paramedics. Following Dr. Baden's testimony, the defense rested its case without putting the defendant on the stand.

     On May 31, 2012, because the defense had portrayed the Kaufman marriage as blissful, Judge Miller allowed the prosecution to put Fara Corenblum, a rebuttal witness, on the stand. According to Corenblum, she and the defendant started an affair a month after Lina's death. The witness said she ended the twice-a-week relationship after she realized he was not ready to move on following his wife's death. For the prosecution, Corenblum's testimony, by casting a sympathetic light on the defendant, may have done more harm than good.

     Both sides made their closing arguments on Monday, June 4, 2012. The next day, the case went to the jury. At five o'clock that evening the jury returned with its verdict: not guilty.

    

52 comments:

  1. Oh! Feels sad, we cannot believe anyone so easily in this World. First time I am hearing that a tan spray causing respiratory failure, its shocking.

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    1. time to thank OJ. This case just followed the same defense. Sad as to this day I do not see him distraught

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  2. I think This guy got away with murder

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    1. Me too. kinda hard to buy into this 'she died of some mysterious explainable heart condition.' theory, healthy young ppl just do suddenly drop dead. She was only 35 for crying out loud, and if somebody knows that they had a heart condition they'd see a doctor about it. On top of that is the bruises found on her neck, also didnt believe they were cause by the fall on the magazine rack. And there's blood in the bath room, how come nobody ask anything about that?

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    2. Me too. The defense theory of 'an explainable mysterious heart condition' is a louse excuse at the best. There has never been any medical record of this socalled Lina's heart condition. And on 48Hours video, there's blood on the bathroom floor, i'm surprised that it was not brought up in the trial.

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    3. I had a friend who was an assistant football coach at a local high school who dropped dead of a massive heart attack on the practice field. He just turned 35, no history of heart problems

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    4. watching the story on OWN network, I agree. I see no remorse, no sadness, butcock sure arrogance! He seems abusive!

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    5. the heart problem is hardly the issue. It is all the other stuff - his lack of pain, remorse, arrogance, not a tear or a broken expression It has been years since I lost loved ones, I break down so often. It never goes away as everything, the kids , the house, memories all remind you of them!

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    6. LifeStudent, yo make a lot of assumptions, but offer no fact. You seem abusive.

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  3. Adam Kaufman was having affairs on his wife, he came home late in the morning while she was having breakfast, thats why his car hood was still warm and why she had a half eaten breakfast in the kitchen. They argued and he strangled her. Hw was already screwing another woman 1 month afte her death ? wow, the grieving widow. Lina's mom is either blind or also screwing him to support him. Noboady dies on top of a magazine rack or by spray tan, thats a joke. The married crime scene technician was also screwing the lead detective, wow, I thought this stuff only happens in the movies.

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    1. First they blame the tan-spray, then it's Lina's heart. This is another murderer got away, after that Orlando POS kcanfuuckny.

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  4. I think most of the peoples are getting good knowledge from your blog, because its having the useful message.

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  5. Just saw 48hrs. It is assumed the lady prosecutor was projecting her own failed, violent relationships on this case. 4 incompetent drs couldn't see the heart disease. Morons.

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    1. She didn't have heart disease. These were excellent lawyers who were probably paid well in excess of $1,000,000 to make a guilty man look innocent to an uneducated jury panel. Check on his violent past. Check on the Liss voice analyzations which stated everything he said was deception. This is a case of a man with a very violent temper, that became unhinged. Did you know someone came forward who Mr. Kaufman tried to strangle several years earlier? Good lawyers keep that information out of trial. 48 Hours is entertainment TV! They are not about the truth! Much information came out after the trial that showed this man is certainly guilty. It didn't get proven in court, as most cases don't with million dollar lawyers hired! I have no dog in this fight, and went into following this interesting story completely unbiased. I came out with information that left me no doubt that he murdered his wife.

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    2. Agreed. The idea that a soft leather magazine tote bag/rack strangled her out is silly. The marks on her neck were terrible. It had looked like the poor woman was beaten, strangled, and hung.

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  6. Completely innocent. Y'all are blood thirsty. Just cause a lot of cases in this blog are overwhelmingly guilty faces doesn't mean all of them are the same. Heart condition and chemicals.

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    1. Completely innocent eh? You should go and check into the Liss Voice analyzations. Btw, his initial story was he found her head hunched over the toilet as if vomiting. At the hospital after the tremendous bruising started showing, he changed his story to finding her in the opposite direction with her neck on the magazine rack. But okay, he's innocent if you say so

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    2. she didn't have heart disease, her mother lied cause she wants him

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  7. he got away with murder, now he can have her mother and kill her too

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  8. she didn't have heart disease, mom wants her man.

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  9. Idiots. Don't you know how to listen? The doctor said she clawed at her neck in an effort to get some air. Pay attention before you state such ignorant comments, you morons.

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    1. Are you a relative to Mr. Kaufman? Other than they, and the 6 hand plucked very low IQ jurors, no one who watched the details of the case actually came away believing he was innocent. Several trial forums that consisted of medical doctors stated that it was patently impossible for her to have not been strangled given the damage that had been done to her neck. Clawed at her neck you state? She had extensive and very deep bruising that can only come from a hanging or a strangulation.

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    2. Yes, I agree. I had a similar experience after a spray tan

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  10. Well said. I listened to every single word of that case. He didn't murder his wife. Quite honestly, I don't even know why he was charged in the first place. Sure, she was found in an odd position on the bathroom floor, but that's just it---if there was a struggle in a small bathroom, Adam would have had marks on him, and there would have been more damage. The magazine rack would have been turned over, shower curtain pulled down, etc. It never looked suspicious to me in the least. Odd maybe, but not suspicious. And for those who obviously don't know, young people most definitely can die from heart problems. In a mall where I lived in Maryland, a young woman was walking with her mother, suddenly dropped to the floor, and was pronounced dead with minutes. We learned later in the local paper she did indeed have a congenital heart condition that went undiagnosed throughout her 30 years. And just because someone passed the Bar exam doesn't mean they passed with flying colors. They might have barely squeaked by, and they're out there defending people---or becoming prosecutors.

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    1. You are very misinformed Traci. Sorry. Just the fact that his initial story was that she was hunched over the toilet vomiting, and only after extensive bruising all over her neck appeared, well, now all of a sudden she was head first into the magazine rack. 5th layer bruising on both sides of the neck could never occur from falling into a leather magazine tote bag. The poor woman looked as if she had been hung.

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  11. It's a shame in this day and age that a wife or husband dies, which is tragic enough, and right away it's the spouse. I'm a Fraud Examiner skilled in deception and crime scene evidence. A simple checklist I use with columns of facts, unknown information and suspicious information. Facts are facts they don't change. Work to determine whether unknown and suspicious information creates a good circumstantial case. I've watched and read as much as possible on this case. People need to understand that detectives, although they work hard and mean well start with guilty and work from there. I can see that approach if she was stabbed, shot etc. a case like this one must be approached differently. The fact that so much evidence was not collected concerned me. Anyone who dies especially when young you collect everything you can. A proper conclusion cannot be reached without collecting and testing everything at the scene. Adam is a very big guy, that bathroom is pretty small. I didn't hear about half eaten breakfast but if he killed her in the heat of an argument, he isn't going to wait for her to get naked and sit on or around the toilet. The CSI and detective having an affair and lying about it is huge. If she'll lie about that then what else will she lie about. It took them 18 months to come up with homicide when it was undetermined?

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  12. When it comes to heart problems, they're not always known. I was discovered to have a large hole in my heart at age 29. I had physicals all my life and it wasn't found until I was in an accident. You never know.

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  13. The poor man is INNOCENT!!! Everyone out there that agrees with the prosecution is just as stupid as they are for even bringing this case to trial! I'm an RN & all the symptoms her family reported are consistent with an undiagnosed heart condition! Plain & simple! The prosecutors are idiots & just wasted a lot of tax money proving how idiotic they truly are!

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    1. I'm an RN as well. I just saw the 48 hours program about this case. She had 5 layer DEEP bruising on both sides of her neck, as well as burst blood vessels in her eyes, called petechia. This ONLY occurs with hanging or strangulation.

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    2. You need to go back to nursing school!

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    3. How do YOU explain it then? It's pretty apparent that he did it especially considering he had choked others in the past. How that idiot jury found him not guilty is beyond me

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  14. Innocent eh? Since when does an undiagnosed heart condition lead to 5 layer deep bruising On both sides of the neck? Why initially tell police he found her over the toilet as if she was vomiting, and then when bruises appear, he changes the story to she was over a magazine rack? Oh ha, he's innocent alright. Please

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  15. One of the popular forums that follow murder cases (web sleuths possibly?) had several postings from former associates/ college classmates that stated this man was permanently expelled from university for attempted strangulation. Additionally, a witness came forward during the trial who had been choked by Mr. Kaufman several years prior. Apparantly, his high profile/ high pay attorneys kept all of this information out of the trial. When it looks like a duck, and smell like a duck. Guess what: it's a duck!!

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    1. I think he's guilty also. You can't just explain away evidence of strangulation

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  16. guilty without a doubt. The 911 call says it all.

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    1. He adamantly refused to take one from the police, and supposedly passed one that was given to him by his own lawyers. lol

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  18. I am a spray tanner in Miami and I have never heard of anyone dying from a spray tan. Most people with allergies will react right away. If she really was allergic she would have had a reaction at the tanning salon.

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    1. I think his defense team came to the decision that this was a silly argument, and wound up claiming she had a heart condition; which apparently caused her to claw at her own neck and fall on a leather magazine rack which caused 5 level deep bruising on both sides of her neck

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    2. Unfortunately I had a horrible reaction after my first spray tan. You can read my experience below.

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    3. Just do a search on "allergic reaction to spray tan" there are many cases. It is not rare. Sometimes in fact it could take a couple of days before it happens.


      Nicole Struelens wrote a comment stating "I am a spray tanner in Miami and I have never heard of anyone dying from a spray tan. Most people with allergies will react right away. If she really was allergic she would have had a reaction at the tanning salon". Its sad knowing Nicole is a spray tanner in Miami and has no idea people can have allergic reactions as much as 3 days later. You should know this if you are a spray tanner so you can warn your clients it could happen. But maybe that could hurt business. Lonnie

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  19. This was very hard to watch. As the show was playing I was trying to figure out how could this likeable husband murder his wife..? Than I heard something that totally got my attention. She had a spray tan. I was like OMG!!!! I had my first spray tan in 2013. I got a spray tan at a local business. After the first spray I wasn't satisfied with the color, so the girl resprayed me. Normally you are suppose to wait a few hours before showering. Within 20 minutes of my spray tan I was on the floor in my bathroom struggling to breathe. I was alone, couldn't breathe, confused, foggy headed, nauseated and near the verge of passing out. My husband found me in the shower barely coherent. I truly believe this played a factor in some way to this unexpected death. I will never get a spray tan again. I felt like I almost died!! Very happy this man was found not guilty.

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  20. Watching the "48 Hours" episode about this case now. Violence against MEN while in his 20's does not automatically compute to violence against WOMEN later in life. A spray tan is the application of chemicals to most of the biggest organ of the body - the skin. I was in the urgent care just hours after using a depilatory hair removal product my hubby bought off of an infomercial - but I can use Neet & Nair. Allergic reactions happen. Yes, Lina does exhibit the deep neck bruising associated with strangling and/or hanging. The police and the CSI team and the prosecutor's office ALL botched the investigation. Period. The verdict was correct - murder must be proven without doubt!! IF Adam did indeed get away with murder, the constitution of this great nation still considers that to be preferable over the conviction of an innocent man. My personal opinion is that no murder occurred and that Adam is innocent.

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  21. I can't believe how ignorant a jury can be,to fall for that nonsense. Defense attorneys throw mud against the wall,and juries fall for it.

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  22. I'll never know if he was guilty or innocent; that will be between Adam and his maker. What I do know is that Adam and his twin brother were COMPLETE GRADE A ASSHOLES during their entire 4+ years at WVU. Innocent or not, I don't feel badly about all the pain he endured through the trial.

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  23. I think Adam was sleeping around, married men with single mentality.When his wife, upon his arrival home at 4am, told him that she is divorcing him (what else?) he strangled her. That was totally
    intelligency insulting that paramedic evidence of fingers marks on Lina's neck was not paid attention at. The whole case is total disgrace and evidence of stupidity of "American justice". When money walk into courtroom justice packs and walks away,,,

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  24. I watched this trial yrs ago on tv. Just saw another crime show about it. I'm for innocent until proven guilty. But I can think on my own and some things don't add up. What jumped out at me were the horrible deep bruising on her neck both sides and other marks back and shoulder. A leather magazine rack didn't do this. And he changed his story about finding her over the toilet then said she was found over the rack. I saw the pics once during the trial. She looked horribly beaten and strangled. The two detectives having an affair was a diversion for the jury. I believe she was beaten and strangled by someone. Poor woman.

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  25. I'm hoping my other post goes through..not sure what happened. I believe innocent until proven guilty. I've seen this case when it was live trial on tv and today on a crime show. I have two problems with her just having a heart problem. The doctor who did sx on her did full work up and he found no heart defects. Even if she did, no heart problem put those horrible deep bruises on both sides on a persons neck, back, and shoulder. He also changed his story from hanging over the toilet to over the rack. I saw those pics of her..no leather rack did that. IMO someone killed her. She looked like she had been beaten and choked. Poor woman. The affair between detectives was a convenient distraction.

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    1. That's what got him a not guilty verdict, the affair between detectives. From that moment on, the jury had reasonable doubt about the investigation. IMO, he strangled her.

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  26. Awful sad case. Too bad the prosecutor did not do its homework or they would have found out how Adam got expelled from college. For choking his roommate. Just saying.

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