- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) - Defense attorneys for a former Boone man accused in the death of his wife are advancing the theory that she was addicted to prescription painkillers Wednesday.

Jurors on Wednesday watched a recorded interaction between the couple and heard from Emily Fazzino’s former doctor, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (http://bit.ly/21HSkkL ) reports.

Alexander Fazzino is charged with first-degree murder in Emily Fazzino’s January 2012 death. He pleaded not guilty, contending she accidentally drowned, possibly induced by withdrawal from prescription drugs. Prosecutors argue she was strangled and possibly drowned.

Defense lawyer William Kutmus introduced a pharmacy letter showing Emily Fazzino had seven doctors and was using four pharmacies to fill prescriptions at one point.

One of her doctors, Alexandra Vander Meide, testified that Fazzino admitted she was an addict.

Fazzino’s medical records showed that she asked Vander Meide to refill a prescription of hydrocodone, an ingredient in the painkiller Vicodin. Records also revealed that Fazzino once claimed she was taking 50 Vicodin tablets daily.

“If she truly took that, it would be entirely too much,” Vander Meide testified.

But she testified that withdrawal from opiates is rarely fatal.

Defense attorney Trever Hook showed jurors a video of Fazzino that was recorded by her husband. In the video, Alexander Fazzino said he was concerned and asked his wife what she had done that day. She seemed to have difficulty speaking and said she didn’t remember. She admitted to having three cocktails and later she had taken pills prescribed by her psychiatrist.

“I don’t want you taking them when you’re taking care of the kids because you’re not talking correctly, and it’s troubling,” her husband said in the video.

Alexander Fazzino previously told investigators his wife wanted a divorce.

Nick Cutrera, Alexander Fazzino’s uncle who is also an attorney, testified that he gave his nephew the idea to record his wife. One of his specialties is divorce and he said he often tells his clients to make video recordings.

“You can’t deny what’s plain to see on video,” Cutrera added.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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