- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) - The murder trial of a former Boone man charged with killing his wife entered its third week Monday as prosecutors and defense lawyers called on forensic experts to help clarify details about the woman’s death, although neither could be certain of how she died.

Two doctors, both of which have already testified in the Winneshiek County courtroom, served as rebuttal witnesses, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (https://bit.ly/1p2EQlx ) reports.

Judge Michael Moon says he expects closing arguments to begin Tuesday.

Alexander Fazzino is charged with first-degree murder in the January 2012 death of his wife, Emily Fazzino. He pleaded not guilty, contending she accidentally drowned, possibly induced by withdrawal from prescription painkillers. The prosecution argues she was strangled and possibly drowned.

According to court documents, Alexander Fazzino says he found his wife face down in the bathroom tub. He called 911 and when first responders arrived, they found her on the bathroom floor.

The trial has received statewide attention because Emily Fazzino’s family owns the Fareway Stores grocery chain.

Prosecutors called on Dr. Michele Catellier, who performed an autopsy on Fazzino’s body. Catellier said she believes the death is likely a homicide but that the cause must remain undetermined because there isn’t enough evidence.

“I do not know what happened to Emily,” Catellier testified.

Fazzino was found with bruises on her body, including on four areas of her head. Catellier previously testified that those bruises were consistent with something hitting the head or the head striking something.

Catellier testified Monday that one of the four bruises may have been caused by a fall. She added that none of the woman’s head bruises seemed significant enough to be fatal. She noted that Fazzino’s brain did not have any signs of internal injury.

“A bump on the head does not result in fatal injury without another sign, and there are few exceptions to that,” Catellier testified.

The defense then called on Dr. Gregory Davis, a Kentucky-based forensic pathologist, who spoke to jurors via video call. He, too, said he couldn’t determine the cause of death, but he didn’t lean toward homicide.

He said the head bruises were consistent with a person making uncontrolled movements during a seizure and hitting nearby objects.

Davis previously testified that Emily Fazzino’s medical records had no mention of seizures.


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

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