Testimony in Aventura Murder Trial Continues

Kaufman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Lina Kaufman

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    In a trial that never seems short on drama, Wednesday began Adam Kaufman's defense team demanding a mistrial. Defense attorney Al Milian and Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Hyma speak in court. (Published Thursday, May 24, 2012)

    In a trial that never seems short on drama, Wednesday began Adam Kaufman's defense team demanding a mistrial.

    The defense attorney Al Milian said the state's key witness, Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Hyma talked to prosecutors privately about how to give more effective answers to cross-examination question. Judge Bronwyn Miller said there's no evidence of collusion, and denied the defense request to question Hyma in front of the jury about what he said to prosecutors.

    "That is outrageous," said Milian. "You have systematically taken the side of the government through this trial, you are not allowing us to cross-examine a witness who violated a court order."

    Kaufman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Lina Kaufman. The state says he strangled her. Kaufman maintains his wife collapsed from natural causes and smashed her neck on a magazine rack in the bathroom of their Aventura home.

    Hyma ruled the death a homicide by mechanical asphyxiation after an 18 month investigation. On Wednesday in court, Hyma revealed that on Tuesday night he found tissue samples of Lina Kaufman's heart that had been missing since 2007. Milian says that fits a pattern of evidence being mishandled in this case. Hyma said it was insignificant.

    "You're not going to let the facts get in the way of your opinion, are you?" said Milian to Hyma, in front of the jury. "You're going to say anything you can to support the government's position, aren't you?"

    "That's not true and you know it," responded dr. Hyma.

    Later, under questioning from the prosecutor, Hyma reiterated what he said on Tuesday, that even if Lina Kaufman had fainted in the bathroom that would not explain her death.

    "This injury pattern doesn't come from fainting. the magazine rack can't do the type of damage Ms. Kaufman had on her neck, it's a force applied by another person," Hyma said.

    The prosecution also brought in University of Florida physics professor James Ipser. He was hired by the state to study how Lina Kaufman's body would've fallen if she had actually pitched forward from the toilet as the defense claims. He made a video showing a figure falling foward, but hitting its head not the neck, on the magazine rack. The jury was out when the video was played.