Corasanti Trial: Prosecution Points to Texting & Driving

5:47 PM, May 9, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Corasanti Trial: Evidence Points to Texting & Driving

Video: Corasanti Trial Day 8 Testimony

  • Dr. James Corasanti (right) along with defense attorney Joel Daniels (left)/ sketch: Ralph Sirianni
  • Amherst Police Investigator Kevin Murphy

BUFFALO, NY - Prosecutors say Dr. James Corasanti sent or received 81 text messages the day he struck and killed a teen.

Glenn Gould, AT&T Retail Sales Manager at the Walden Galleria, told the court that "It is possible" the doctor at one point may have texted and talked at the same time.

One of the phone numbers that the doctor called once, and also sent or received 15 texts on July 8, 2011, belonged to a woman who worked at the Buffalo Medical Group.  Her phone was taken by Amherst Police from her job site on Limestone Drive in Williamsville.

Corasanti also texted another phone number eight times the night of the crash, including two texts two minutes after the crash at 11:23 p.m. That phone belonged to the Buffalo Medical Group, and it was not clear who was in possession of it.

Gould told the court, AT&T does not preserve the content of text messages, and if the text messages were deleted, he does not know how the content can be obtained.

The AT&T records showed Corasanti was texting and/or calling five different people between 10:54 and 11:19 p.m. the night of the crash.

Those texts include one sent to area code 614 near Columbus, Ohio, and one sent to area code 239 near Naples, Florida.   Between 11:18 and 11:19 p.m., Corasanti was texting two different people.

The crash happened at 11:21 p.m.

The prosecutor tried to show it was difficult for Corasanti to engage in multiple text conversations. Upon cross-examination, the defense attorney was trying to show texting was relatively easy to do.

During cross-examination, Gould also agreed since the content of the texts was not available, it's not clear if Corasanti was sending very short or even blank texts.

The court also heard from Verizon Wireless Custodian of Records Scott Johnson. He verified the Doctor's text records.

Johnson said the texts Corasanti sent to the phone belonging to the Buffalo Medical Group the night of the crash were not actually received until 6:25 a.m. the next day, likely because that phone was turned off.

Johnson says Verizon Wireless only stores the content of texts three to six business days after they are sent.   After that, authorities can request they be preserved. It's unclear if police or the District Attorney's office asked for the texts to be preserved in time. Johnson did not read any content of the texts.

Tuesday morning, Amherst Police Investigator Kevin Murphy wrapped up three days of testifying in the trial. 

In Tuesday morning's testimony of Murphy, defense attorney Tom Burton tried to point out that Alix Rice was likely texting around the time of the accident while on her longboard. 

Corasanti is accused of fatally hitting Alexandria Rice with his car and leaving the scene of the accident. 

Burton asks: "You can't exclude the cell phone was in Ms. Rice's hands?"

Murphy testified:  "Yes."

Burton: "There was an outbound text from that phone at 11:19 that night?"

Murphy: "Yes."

The text was from Alix to her father.

Burton also asked more questions about the fluid trail from the broken headlight on the car.

During cross examination, Investigator Murphy said, "It was in the driver's lane." The trail of fluid went from the scene of the accident all the way to Mount Holyoke Court, where the doctor lives.

Investigator Murphy testified about the rag found in the Corasanti's trash.

Still no indication if it was blood on it.

During cross examination, defense attorney Burton showed photos of other debris in the trash including an envelope that had red stains on it.

"There were so many maggots on the rag, they rubbed off on the can." Burton said in court.

While questioning Murphy, Burton said the rag was intermingled with other items and that it "may have included blood from everything, from a porkchop to a hamburger."

During re-direct Prosecutor Bargnesi got Investigator Murphy to admit they were drawn to the rag because of the awful smell.

The trial continues this afternoon with testimony now focusing on phone records.

On Monday morning, defense attorney Joel Daniels made a request in court to dismiss the trial. He cited an article that ran in the Buffalo News over the weekend that quoted Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita in regards to a recent spate of hit-and-run accidents that involved drunken driving. Judge Sheila DiTullio denied the request. 

The trial also lost an alternate juror. Alternate #4 asked to be removed due to an illness in the family. That leaves only two alternates because alternate #1 was placed on the jury last week when Juror #4 was removed.

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