(WMC-TV) – The trial for a man accused of murdering his wife in 2008 got underway in Memphis Wednesday.
Family and friends took the stand on day one of Joe Caronna's trial. They gave tearful testimony.
Neighbors testified that surveillance video captured Tina Caronna's truck leaving her house for the last time. The next time it was seen, she was dead in the back seat.
Now, her husband is on trial for her murder.
Moments before the trial got started Wednesday morning, Tina Caronna's friends and family formed a prayer circle.
"We were always very close. When you saw me, you saw Tina," said Tina's mother, Clara Murphy.
Tina's mom says Joe Caronna came between them, and they had a falling out.
"She chose to believe Joe instead of me," said Clara. "When she left she said, 'I've lost my family.' Broke my heart because we were always so close."
Tina Caronna went missing October 25, 2008. When she didn't show up for a Corvette Club party she planned, her club friends immediately launched a search party.
"I knew she did not run away. I knew something bad had happened to her," said Tina's friend, Patti Locke.
Friends wanted to file a missing persons report that night, but say Joe was initially reluctant. But he finally gave in.
"There was a police officer sitting at the desk. Joe said his wife was missing and then he said, 'Well, if it were you wouldn't you think your wife just got mad and left,'" explained family friend, Pat Hathaway.
Tina turned up dead in her truck two days later after she went missing.
Police charged Joe months later.
Defense attorneys say investigators botched the crime scene and pinned it on the spouse.
Prosecutors say Caronna killed his wife because she was about to find out they were on the cusp of financial ruin and that he defrauded clients out of thousands of dollars.
"He was a control freak. He controlled Tina. He controlled Todd. That was my grandson. That's why I had problems with Joe, but it wasn't a matter of liking Joe. I tolerated him," said Clara.
Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Action News 5's Nick Kenney will be at the trial again and will be publishing a live blog from the courtroom.