The husband of an Irish-born woman who grew up in Pennsylvania was charged with her brutal murder in early June.
The body of Dublin-born Caroline Coffey, 28, was found along a wooded trail in a park 400 yards from the home she shared with her husband in Ithaca, New York at the beginning of June.
Her husband, Blazej Kot, 24, a New Zealander with roots in Poland, is being held without bail for the murder of his wife.
Kot 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 Kot crashed into a stand of trees. When police caught up with him he was bleeding profusely.
It is believed the wounds were self-inflicted. Police found Kot clutching an edged weapon, which they forced from his hand. He was taken to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania.
Kot, who is an information science doctoral candidate at Cornell University, is also charged with setting fire to the apartment he shared with Coffee the same night. Firefighters put out the blaze in about 15 minutes.
Hikers found Coffey's body Wednesday morning in Taughannock Falls State Park in Trumansburg on June 3. She was wearing a blood-stained 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.
Kot and Coffey were married in a civil ceremony in October last year and had a small, intimate wedding May 2.
Coffey's friend Jeff Ciacci told The Scranton Times that the couple had a wedding ceremony at a Costa Rican beach resort attended by 30 guests. Ciacci served as the bride's Man of Honor.
According to another friend of Coffey’s, Dimitra Livanos Hollows, Coffey had uploaded pictures of their Costa Rican wedding on Facebook at 8:04 p.m. on the night of the killing.
Coffey was born in Co. Dublin but moved to Clark’s Green, Pennsylvania with her parents, Patricia and Michael and her brother Paul, when she was two.
Coffey, who had a horse named Irish Mist, attended Our Lady of Peace School in Clarks Green and was a graduate of Scranton Preparatory School and the University of Scranton, where she received a degree in biology in 2001.
She earned a Ph.D. in medical sciences from Cornell University in 2007. She was an assistant professor at St. Joseph's University and was currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in biomedical engineering at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell. It was at Cornell that Coffey met Kot.
Kot’s lawyer, Joseph Joch, said that although he can’t discuss his client’s case, Kot “has a great deal of difficulty remembering anything about that night.”
Said Hollows about her friends, “They were both very much in love with one another, and nobody had any reservations about Blazej.
“I don't know of any fighting or arguments which they had. They both seemed to really be excited for one another's success and they had lots in common. Their wedding was the happiest I had ever seen them.”
Describing Coffey she said, “She was very kind and very smart,” She was also strong-willed. She was her own person.”
Another friend of Coffey’s, David Rossi, described Kot as a “nice gentleman, very educated.”
“He would drive down here religiously to see her," Rossi said, discussing to the time Coffey was teaching at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
Kot, who is charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with evidence, faces 25 years to life if found guilty. He is currently being held Tompkins County Jail in Ithaca, New York without bail.