MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - In day two of Joe Caronna's murder trial, officers remembered him reacting to his wife's murder as angry and confused. The Cordova man is accused of killing his wife, Tina Caronna, in October of 2008.
More neighbors testified Thursday, but the really nitty-gritty details came out when a Bartlett police officer and a Memphis police sergeant took the stand.
Now-retired officer Teresa Brignole of the Bartlett Police Department was one of the first officers on the scene when Tina Caronna's body was found stuffed in the backseat of her Chevy Avalanche.
"I put the crime scene tape around the vehicle," she said, "I was probably there for a couple of hours, we had to wait for the wrecker to get there."
She said the only thing she was in charge of that day were crime scene logs. In other words, she was in charge of writing down what time officers arrived and left the scene. But when the defense showed Brignole a crime scene log, she said she didn't write it.
"Is that in your handwriting?"
"That does not appear to be my handwriting," she replied.
All the defense has to do is prove there is reasonable doubt to get their client, Joe Caronna, a "not guilty" verdict. On day one, the jury heard about Caronna's affair and investment fraud. The prosecution says he killed his wife because she knew too much.
The jury, mostly women, heard Caronna's defense attorneys push witnesses about specific details they could remember on that fateful day on October 25, 2008.
"Do you remember Joe leaving the house in a red Chevelle sometime after the truck has gone?"
"Sitting here today, no, I don't, but apparently my statement says that I did four years ago," stated the Caronnas' neighbor, Jeff Cox.
A Memphis police officer then took the stand. Now retired, Sergeant Connie Justice interviewed Joe Caronna at his home before investigators told him his wife's body was discovered.
"Mr. Caronna was obviously very distraught, he was breathing very heavily, he was sweating profusely on his face," Justice testified, adding that when Caronna learned police had found her body, "he immediately became angry, upset."
Joe and Tina were married 15 years. Before she died, she found out her husband was cheating on her. Justice said Joe told investigators he thought Tina was "cooling off" and would come back.
"If it's a cooling off period, have you and your wife have any type of arguments or disturbance or anything that's taken place? He responded and he said 'no.'… I noticed on his forearms 10 to 15 faint bruises, they were bluish, purplish in color, they were round."
Also on the stand Thursday was Joe Caronna's long-time friend, Gary Hathaway. Their 10-year friendship involved their love of cars.
Hathaway spent two hours on the stand. He was very emotional as he recounted the hours before Tina Caronna's body was discovered and the hours after. He says Tina's husband never shed any tears through it all.
Hathaway said he drove with his wife and Joe to see Tina's body at the coroner's office. 30 minutes after identifying the body, Hathaway said Joe made a disturbing call.
"He was talking to somebody and he was saying, 'Yeah it was Tina. Yeah, I got closure now. No, don't send flowers. Tina doesn't like flowers.'… I looked in the mirror and my wife was looking back at me; that would be the beginning not closure."
Tina's body was discovered about half a mile from Joe's storage shed. Hathaway says Joe didn't act normal when his wife disappeared. He says Joe never wanted to go to the police or to the media to report her missing.
Hathaway said, "I've never seen a tear come since this happened."