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Corasanti Expected to Take Stand Today

9:55 PM, May 17, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY -  Prosecutor Kelley Omel tells 2 On Your Side she believes Dr. Corasanti is expected to take the stand today in his trial.

Dr. Corasanti is accused of hitting Alexandria Rice while she was riding her long board, and leaving her to die, on Heim Road last July.

Earlier in the day Thursday, Judge Sheila DiTullio denied the defense's request to dismiss all five charges against Dr. James Corasanti, including vehicular manslaughter.

While the jury was out of the courtroom, the judge also denied the prosecution's request to question Corasanti on his past DWI. She said the questioning/testimony would be prejudicial and would not allow it.

"Sixteen years ago, Dr. Corasanti pled guilty to driving while impaired in Niagara County," says defense attorney Joel Daniels.

Daniels said that charge was not a crime or offense, but more of a traffic infraction.

The prosecution rested its case just before noon, but not before calling its last witness, Jodi Luedemann.

She is a forensic biologist for Erie County Central Police Services.  She performed the DNA testing on swabs taken from from the interior and exterior of Corasanti's 2010 BMW. She determined Alexandria Rice's DNA was found on the exterior, including the hood and bumper, and Corasanti's DNA was not.

Luedemann also testified about the rag found in Corasanti's garbage several days after the accident. She said it had an extreme rotten, foul odor with "extensive maggots." She said that it also had three stains. One tested positive for blood, but she could not do DNA profiling to see whose blood it was.

On cross examination, defense attorney Tom Burton got Luedemann to admit the stains could have come from cross contamination because it came out of a "filthy garbage can."

As for tissue (human flesh) found in Corasanti's garage, Luedemann testified, "Alix Rice is the source."

Burton also asked Luedemann if DNA testing can be sensitive, as the defense tried to raise doubts that the rag may have been cross contaminated.

Burton said,  "In 1,000 years would you [have] ever taken a sample to test for DNA and put it in a filthy garbage can?"

Luedemann:  "For DNA, I would not."

Burton: "Could [the] red spot on rag come from hamburger or chicken parts?"

Luedemann said she could not rule out anything.

Prosecutors did not call Corasanti's wife to the stand although her name was listed as a potential witness.

The defense's first witness was Andrew Calabrese, 20, a Canisius College student who said he saw Rice before the accident on her longboard.

He testified he was driving to his friend's house and he thought he was going to hit Rice when he approached the intersection of Dodge and Heim.

By calling Calabrese to the witness stand, the defense was trying to show Rice was operating her longboard in a careless manner, and that she should have been on the south side of Heim, but crossed to the north side.

But on cross-examination, prosecutor James Bargnesi brought out that Calabrese's phone records showed he was texting as he was driving.

He also said since he didn't see Corasanti strike Alix, he doesn't really have anything to add.

Calabrese said, "I knew she was wearing neon yellow".  He also said he could see her for a while as she proceeded up Heim.

Bargnesi also noted that Rice had the right of way in the intersection of Dodge and Heim, so she should have crossed in front of him (Calabrese).

Bargnesi also brought out in court Thursday that Calabrese kept changing his story with different statements he gave to officials.

The final defense witness to testify on Thursday was forensic mechanical engineer George Meinschein. He testified the Corasanti's BMW is a "flagship top of the line model." He said the suspension sysptem made primarily with aluminum parts give it a smooth ride. The adaptive zenon headlight did not have automatic high beams in low light situations as one police official previously testified and also said those lights would not allow the driver to see better than any other person in a new car.

Meinschein also testified about sound insulation, and how the hood is designed to crumple under pressure to absorb energy during an impact.

Upon cross-examination, prosecutors noted he was flown in from New Jersey and could be paid as much as $10,000 for his expert testimony.

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