Caronna's defense claims Bartlett PD botched investigation

Caronna's defense claims Bartlett PD botched investigation

(WMC-TV) – Prosecutors presented evidence they say connects Joe Caronna to the murder of his wife, Tina.  Meanwhile, the defense is working to prove its client had nothing to do with the murder.

During the trial today, the state said Caronna's forearms were covered in bruises the day Tina was found dead.

Defense attorneys say that is not true, as they try to prove Joe did not kill his wife.

The defense played surveillance video of Caronna at Sam's Club trying to re-trace Tina's steps on the day she went missing. They also showed photos from the motel room where he was later arrested.

In the photo was a laptop, a box of hot tamales, a diet coke, a towel, and a handgun, for which Caronna had a permit.

"We all just embraced each other and hysterically cried," said Joe's sister, Jennifer Smith-Caronna.

Jennifer Smith-Caronna traveled from Illinois to Memphis the day after learning that police found Tina's body.

She testified that she stayed with Joe at his house the whole time.

When the defense asked whether she noticed anything unusual about his arms, she replied, "No."

Defense attorneys claim the Bartlett Police Department botched the investigation.

From the Brannick Drive crime scene log to the inability to retrieve important surveillance video from Caronna's neighbor, even though he showed up to the scene armed.

Defense: Had you already begun to focus on Mr. Caronna as the subject on the day the body was found?

J.D. Owen, Bartlett Police Dept.: No sir.

Defense: Why did you not take this person in for questioning?

Owen: We listened to what he had to say and what he had to say made sense at the time.

A photo shown at the trial showed the inside of Tina's car.

Where an MPD CSI says he witnessed something that made him uncomfortable.

"I saw their supervisor reach inside the car or truck without gloves on, pick up a piece of paper, read what was on it, and put it back in the vehicle," said Sergeant Marcus Berryman, MPD CSI.

The defense suggests the crime scene was mishandled at best, perhaps tainted at worst.

It is possible that the defense could rest its case Thursday.

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