Testimony Tuesday in the Blazej Kot murder trial raised conflicting notions of the couple's relationship. And computer analysts give us a deeper look into the defendant's behavior the night his wife was murdered. Our Tamara Lindstrom has more.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Were they a loving couple or living in strife? Former colleagues testify about the relationship 25-year-old Blazej Kot had with his wife, Caroline Coffey, before he allegedly killed her.
Coworker Emily Brooks testified that on the last day of Coffey's life, the Cornell researcher was ecstatic to receive photos from her recent wedding in Costa Rica. The witness described the couple as normal and very loving.
But a former colleague of Kot's testified the defendant had expressed concerns about marrying Coffey, saying he wasn't sure how smart she was and that he was no longer attracted to her. Peter Brodsky was a friend of Kot's through Cornell University and had been involved in a start up software development company with Kot.
That relationship ended badly when Kot quit the project. Brodsky said there were no problems with Kot's performance until about two weeks before he quit. Brodsky noted that Coffey was unhappy with the amount of time spent working for the company, Predict Systems.
Defense attorney Joe Joch asked Brodsky about an incident involving Kot putting masking tape over the built-in computer on his laptop. Brodsky testified that he did not find it unusual, as it is possible to accidentally answer a video web call.
Brodsky said Kot avoided conflict almost to a fault, saying, "It would be bottled up and then it would come out all at once."
State police computer analysts took the stand for the prosecution and revealed that Kot had performed two internet searches. One on the jugular vein, the other on how to kill someone by cutting their neck.
Investigator Ryan Kubasiak showed images of websites accessed Kot's computer. One showed the Wikipedia entry for "Jugular vein," which includes a diagram of the veins and arteries running through the neck.
The other was a Yahoo! Answers page that answered the question, "Is there an artery or vein in the neck that if cut can kill you instantly?"
The timeline showed that the searches were done sometime on the evening of June 2nd, the night Coffey's throat was slashed. Kubasiak conceded that there is no way to know the exact time the searches were performed. The computer was active between 7:54 and 8:45 p.m. and again from 9:27 to 9:29 p.m.
Joch asserted that the searches were done after Coffey was murdered, when the suicidal defendant returned home in a panic.
However, Assistant District Attorney Andrew McElwee noted that there was only a 46-second window of time when the internet could have been active after Coffey was killed.
Kubasiak testified that it was unlikely Kot performed both searches and looked at two websites in that time, but Joch pointed out that Kot may have advanced skills from his experience as a PhD student in computer science.
The testimony was highly technical and often confusing, with Judge Rowley stepping in several times to ask clarifying questions. But the timeline of those searches may prove crucial to the defense's case as they try to prove that Kot was not researching how to cut his wife's throat, but his own.
As for Coffey, computer evidence shows she spent the evening uploading the new wedding photos.
The defense claims it was extreme emotional disturbance that drove the former Cornell student to murder his wife. Kot's attorney will begin to call witnesses later this week.