Closing arguments made at Caronna trial, jury deliberates

Joe Caronna listens to closing arguments on Thursday
Joe Caronna listens to closing arguments on Thursday

(WMC-TV) – Both the defense and prosecution rested their cases Thursday at Joe Caronna's trial. But not before each presented one final pitch to the jury during closing arguments.

"Joe Caronna did not kill his wife," said Caronna's defense attorney Rusty White.

The defense proclaims that Caronna is innocent and that Bartlett police investigators mishandled the case.

"These guys were way in over their head. And they screwed this case up. And it wasn't just these two guys. This was top to bottom," said White.

Prosecutor Tom Henderson has a different spin.

"Joe Caronna is a flim-flam man," said Henderson.

He says Caronna's wife, Tina, was about to discover his flim-flam, so he killed her by smothering her with a bag over her head.

"The point is you've got to hold it. And not just hold it, but hold it for 4-6 minutes," explained Henderson. "You know he had plenty of time to think about killing his wife. All he had to do during those four to six minutes was stop. And she could have lived. But he kept it up for four to six minutes because he wanted her dead."

Prosecutors relied on convicted felon John Bowers, who testified that Joe confessed to him while the two shared a holding cell.

"John Bowers' statement was nothing more than a bunch of self-serving bologna sausage," argued the defense. "Mr. Bowers, you gonna get a time cut for this?"

Bowers replied, "Well, that'd be nice. I'm just doing it because I want to help. I want to help."

Bowers says he wants to help society the same way he did when he was a meth dealer.

Scoundrel? Maybe says Rusty White… but killer?

"Tina trusted Joe and she lost her life. So you know what happens to people who trust Joe. So the question at this point comes down to this ladies and gentleman: Do you trust Joe?" the prosecution asked the jury.

The jurors went to lunch following the closing arguments, and are expected to deliberate this afternoon.

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