MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - "I'd never get rid of you." That's what accused killer Joe Caronna said to his one time mistress. Recorded conversations between Caronna and former lover Becky Black were played inside the courtroom Tuesday as Black took the stand for the first time in Caronna's murder trial.
Becky Black and her husband Bruce were close friends of Joe and Tina Caronna. The two couples often went out together.
Black said she met Caronna at church where he was a Sunday school teacher. She testified shortly after meeting him, their relationship "became intimate."
That intimacy was on full display as the conversations Black recorded, at the request of Bartlett Police, were played to a packed courtroom.
"I'm always excited to see you, like a little kid on the first date," Caronna was heard saying in the recording. Apparently after more than three years of not seeing each other, that excitement remains because before Black took the stand to testify, Caronna couldn't keep his eyes off her.
"You and I had an almost perfect relationship," Caronna continued, "You're my soul mate; you can't change that no matter what you say."
"Everything I have I'd be willing to give up just to be with you… I just want you to know that the only thing that matters in life is you. From the first day I met you - white shorts, blue top - I fell in love the day I met you."
Clara Murphy mother of murder victim Tina Caronna, wiped away tears as she listened to her former son-in-law express his undying love to the woman that was having an affair with her daughter's husband.
"You and I are connected at the soul… you're what I want, you're what I always wanted. I would never get rid of you."
Black told jurors her affair with Joe Caronna lasted about ten years and ended when he was arrested for Tina's murder in March 2009.
The prosecution rested its case Tuesday. The last witness was U.S. Marshal Chris Crozier, who helped track down and arrest Caronna. Crozier testified he and other officers got information Caronna was staying at a Howard Johnson's in Jackson, Tennessee. He told the court they went to room 208 where Caronna was hiding out.
Crozier said he tried using a master key to open the door but it didn't work. Next, he pretended to be room service, but Caronna said he didn't need room service.
At that point Crozier announced he was the police. He said when the accused wife killer heard that, "Mr. Caronna stated, 'I have a gun.' I stated I did too," Crozier said.
According to Crozier, Caronna didn't want to come out. He said waiting to see what Caronna was going to do was nerve-wracking because the tone of voice he used "was letting us know if we came in he was going to shoot us."
Caronna didn't shoot, but police did find a 9 mm handgun on the bed after a 15 minute standoff.