Defense Expert Testifies in Aventura Murder Trial

Dr. John Marraccini, former chief medical examiner of Palm Beach County, testified on Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The wife of an Aventura developer on trial for her murder didn't kill her, in fact, her death was an accident, a defense expert testified on Tuesday. Dr. John Marraccini, former chief medical examiner of Palm Beach County, talks about how he believes she died. (Published Tuesday, May 29, 2012)

    The wife of an Aventura developer on trial for her murder didn't kill her, in fact, her death was an accident, a defense expert testified on Tuesday.

    "My opinion is she developed an irregular heartbeat. She collapsed. She collapsed neck-down, face-down on the magazine rack," said Dr. John Marraccini, former chief medical examiner of Palm Beach County.

    Marraccini was hired by the defense to investigate how Lina Kaufman died. The state says Adam Kaufman strangled her, and he's on trial for second-degree murder. Kaufman has always maintained his wife's death was accidental.

    Marraccini said he discovered scarring in her heart tissue that the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner had missed. He gave the jury a tutorial on a heart disease called myocarditis, complete with photos and drawings he made on an easel. Marraccini said Kaufman's heart disease was "substantial," and shows her death was not a homicide.

    In earlier testimony, Miami-Dade's Medical Examiner, Dr. Bruce Hyma, had testified the small scar in Kaufman's heart was incidental and had nothing to do with her collapse and death.

    Adam Kaufman's fate may rest on which expert the jury believes.

    Earlier Tuesday, another expert bolstered the defense contention that no murder was committed.

    Thomas Hill, a Broward Sheriff's Office crime scene investigator, testified that after reviewing all the police reports on the case, "Ido not envision anything criminal happening at this scene."

    Hill said the Aventura Police made substantial errors in their handling of the crime scene, and said there's no sign of a struggle between husband and wife. Prosecutors have vigorously denied both of those contentions.