Joe Caronna's best friend takes the stand at murder trial - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Joe Caronna's best friend takes the stand at murder trial

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Joe Caronna sits in court on day two of his trial Joe Caronna sits in court on day two of his trial
Gary Hathaway, one of Joe Caronna's best friends, took the stand Thursday Gary Hathaway, one of Joe Caronna's best friends, took the stand Thursday
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Disturbing details were revealed from the witness stand during Joe Caronna's trial. He is accused of murdering his wife, Tina, in 2008.

Prosecutors are trying to methodically prove that Caronna is responsible. But the defense says investigators have nothing good, so they just pinned her murder on the husband.

Inside a packed courtroom, prosecutors surged forward with their case against Joe Caronna.

Amanda Panis lives on Brannick Drive and noticed a black Chevy Avalanche as she headed to work mid-day on Saturday, October 25.

"My first thought was that it would be towed, but then I realized it was Saturday," she said. "So I thought regardless, they're not going to get towed because it's the weekend."

Two days later Bartlett police got a call about that Avalanche.

Former officer Teresa Brignole was first on scene and made a gruesome discovery.

"In the backseat it looked like a blanket was in between the front seat and the backseat. Upon further inspection I saw what appeared to be a human leg protruding from underneath a blanket," explained retired Bartlett Police Officer Teresa Brignole.

At almost the exact same time, Memphis police investigators were interviewing Joe Caronna as part of their Tina Caronna missing persons' investigation.

"He was breathing very heavily. He was sweating profusely on his face. He was continuously taking his hands and running them through his hair," described Sgt. Connie Justice, Memphis Police Department.

Sergeant Connie Justice says Joe Caronna was obviously distraught and could not concentrate. She says he was wearing a long sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

"I noticed on his forearms 10 to 15 faint bruises. They were bluish, purplish in color. They were round," she said.

One of Joe Caronna's best friends also took the stand Thursday afternoon.

Gary Hathaway was supposed to be at the same Corvette Club party as Joe and Tina Caronna, but Tina never showed up.

"Tina was not the type of person to not show up for an event," said Hathaway. "Everyone expected her to show up but now she's late for something and Tina's never late for anything."

Gary and Joe had worked on a car together Saturday afternoon. Sunday, they went searching for Tina together.

"By this time we were certain that something, something, had happened to Tina. I made the comment that if anything did happen you're the first person they're gonna look at," said Hathaway. "Joe turned and looked at me and said well you're my alibi."

Gary says he became suspicious of Joe soon thereafter. He accompanied Joe to view his wife's body and Joe got on his cell phone shortly thereafter.

"He was saying, 'Yeah it was Tina. Yeah, I've got closure now. No, no don't send flowers. Tina don't like flowers,'" explained Hathaway. "This was 30 minutes after he'd seen his wife's murdered body on a table."

Action News 5's Nick Kenney is keeping a live blog throughout the course of the trial. You can follow him on Twitter for updates or read his blogs from day one and day two of the trial.

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