|By Lawrence Buser, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.|
The search ended when the
"I thought they loved each other," said
State prosecutors say, however, that Caronna was a controlling husband with financial wrongdoings, mounting debts and a romantic affair to hide from her.
"The defendant had been living a lie and his wife was about to find out, and he could not let that happen," state prosecutor
I just thought something bad had happened to her."
Caronna, 48, an insurance agent and investment adviser, is on trial for state charges of first-degree murder and has a pending 57-count federal indictment alleging insurance and wire fraud in dealings with his clients.
Caronna's attorney, public defender
He said there is no crime-scene DNA or fingerprint evidence linking his client to the murder.
"The evidence does not fit the theory," White told jurors. "
The couple met around 1993 when Tina made a purchase at the
She was a
They had a common interest in cars and developed a circle of friends through the
She disappeared on
A neighbor said the couple's Chevy left the Caronna home on Eatonwick that morning, but that she could not tell who was driving.
During a countywide search by the car club members, Caronna made three trips to a police precinct with friends to report his wife missing.
"We met at the Caronnas' house around midnight, and we just started talking about scenarios of what happened," said family friend and car club member
But no suitcases, jewelry or money of Tina's was missing, she said, adding that Caronna then said the couple had a pact "not to ever make each other look bad in public" in case she had run off.
"I knew she would not run away," Locke testified. "I just thought something bad had happened to her."
Two days after she first was reported missing,
The cause of death was asphyxiation.
The trial before Judge
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|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|