The husband of an Irish woman who was found with her throat slashed in a park in Ithaca, New York last June, is on trail this week for her murder.
Blazej Kot, 25, has been charged with murdering his wife, Caroline Coffey, while she went for a jog last June. He is on trail in Tompkins County Court in Ithaca this week.
Coffey, 28, who was born in Co. Dublin and moved to Pennsylvania with her family as a child, was only married to her New Zealand husband a few months.
Coffey’s body was found along a wooded trail in Taughannock Falls State Park, about 400 yards from the home she shared with Kot in Ithaca.
Kot, an information science doctoral candidate at Cornell University, drew suspicion to himself when a park policeman on routine patrol noticed his car in a closed parking lot and found Kot covered in blood just before 10 p.m. on June 2.
Kot drove off. After a five-mile police chase he crashed into a stand of trees.
When police caught up with him he was bleeding profusely. Police found him clutching an edged weapon, which they forced from his hand.
It is believed he wounded himself in an effort to take his own life.
Kot is also charged with setting fire to the apartment he shared with Coffey the same night.
At the time of her death, Coffey was working as a post-doctoral researcher in biomedical engineering at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell.
Coffey met Kot at Cornell. They fell in love and were married in a civil ceremony in October 2008. They also had a small wedding on May 2, 2009 at a Costa Rican beach resort attended by 30 guests.
Hours before she was murdered, Coffey uploaded pictures of their wedding on Facebook. Hours later she was dead.
Hikers found Coffey's body the next morning. She was wearing a bloodstained shirt and jogging pants, and had reached the area on her own, law enforcement officials said.
An autopsy determined she bled to death due to a massive laceration to the front of her neck.
On Monday jurors heard how Coffey was struck in her right eye with a long, blunt object before her throat was brutally slashed on the hiking trail where her body was discovered.
The pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Coffey, Dr. James Terzian, told the court that the Irish woman’s throat was slashed with a sharp instrument, resembling the bloodstained Stanley knives found in the back of Kot’s car the night she was murdered.
Terzian said Coffey would have died within two minutes. Bruises found on her right wrist indicates she “was trying to defend herself,” added Terzian.
Kot, who pleaded guilty to the murder, wasn’t present in the courtroom for Terzian’s testimony.
His attorney, Joe Joch, said Kot murdered his wife because he was “suffering from an extreme emotional disturbance.”
Joch said that “unseen forces” had replaced his wife, a delusion he called Capgras Syndrome.
Joch added that his client intended to commit suicide by cutting his own throat and jumping into a gorge.
After he discovered the knife he wanted to use was “too dull,” he drove back to the apartment, which was smoldering at this stage, to research on the Internet how to cut his own throat.
He returned to Taughannock Falls State Park with a sharper knife and a few bottles of wine. He was only wearing a bathrobe.
After the police chase, officers found a bloody folding knife in the bathrobe pocket.
Ann Williams, a nurse from the Intensive Care Unit at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayer, Pennsylvania, where Kot was treated for his wounds, said that when Kot awoke from anesthesia, his first question was on the condition of his wife.
Jurors have to decide if Kot should be found guilty of manslaughter or murder. He faces life in prison if found guilty of murder.
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