Testimony begins in trial over woman's death

Paramedic: Husband's 'story didn't match' scene of wife's death

By Carlos Suarez - Anchor/Reporter , Glenna Milberg - Reporter

MIAMI - The murder trial of an Aventura developer accused of strangling his wife was under way Monday with opening statements and the beginning of testimony.

Adam Kaufman sat in court as prosecutors showed jurors pictures of bruises to Lina Kaufman's neck, chin and body. 

The state is using the pictures to set the case that her death was not a result of heart attack, but a murder. 

"Lina was an active 33-year-old who was in the best shape of her life," said prosecutor Joe Mansfield.

Prosecutors offered no theory on a possible motive for the alleged killing.

After the state finished its opening statements, Kaufman's defense attorney motioned for a mistrial, alleging the prosecution shifted the burden of proof onto the defense.

The judge dismissed the motion. 

The 12 jurors, who heard opening statements and the first several witnesses, will be asked to decide whether Kaufman strangled his wife to death one morning in November of 2007, or whether he authentically placed the hysterical call to 911 as a devoted husband who found her on the bathroom floor.

Jurors heard that 911 call played in court.

The defense will argue that Lina suffered from congestive heart failure and suffered a heart attack while using the bathroom. The medical incident caused her to fall on a magazine rack which the defense says explains the bruising.  

"You will hear that there were no signs of struggle in the bathroom," defense attorney William Matthewman told jurors. "There is absolutely no evidence of a fight, of domestic violence, of a struggle, because it didn't happen."

Among the first witnesses to testify Monday was paramedic Brad Anderson, of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, who answered the call and found Lina Kaufman naked on the bathroom floor, not breathing and without a pulse. He said he did not buy Adam Kaufman's story that he had just woken up and tried to save his wife.

"The story didn't match the things that we were seeing," Anderson said. "Like I said, the bed, part of the bed, the covers being up on one side and being down on the other side. He said that he was doing CPR, and I just didn't see where you would get dressed."

Adam Kaufman's attorney's suggested negligence and said that the firefighters responded slowly to the Kaufmans' home, which is just a mile from the fire station.

"That was 32 minutes, isn't that correct, firefighter?" defense attorney Alberto Milian asked.

"I guess so," Anderson said.

"That's a pretty lousy response time," Milian said.

The defense told jurors they can expect to hear about a botched, inept homicide investigation.

Lina Kaufman's parents are expected to testify on behalf of Adam Kaufman.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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