You can think of them as..."Tina's Army." Dozens of family, friends and supporters who have for four years loyally shown up at every court appearance that her accused murderer husband, Joe Caronna has made since he was arrested in November 2008.
It somehow seemed fitting the first day of Coronna's long-awaited trial, the first witness called by the prosecution was the woman who's served as the emotional lightning rod in keeping the case in the public eye, Tina Caronna's mother, Clara Murphy.
On the stand Murphy testified she never expected her daughter to marry the shoe salesman she met while shopping in 1983. But, it didn't take long for her to sense the man her daughter called her "Joe Joe" wanted things his way.
A tearful Murphy spoke of a growing alienation between her and her daughter, the second witness, Corvette Club friend, Pat Hathaway said Tina was open with her about Joe's confession of infidelity with another woman.
Joe Caronna's defense attorney Rusty White objected to much of Hathaway's testimony as "hearsay."
During questioning from prosecutor Danielle McCullom, Hathaway recounted Caronna's unexplained reluctance to notify the police of his wife's alleged disappearance. Even after friends had searched for hours by car in a fruitless attempt to locate her.
Hathaway eventually broke down on the stand when she was reminded of the efforts made to find her believed missing friend.
Yet, it's was Murphy who put into steely words the contempt Tina's family holds for the man who once was her son-in-law. She recited what was on her daughter's headstone.
"It says Tina Renee Murphy. December 10th, 1963 and September...I mean October 25th 2008. No Caronna? When I got the tombstone they said I could put anything on there I want. So, I put Murphy on it."
The Caronna trial enters its second day today.
Fox 13 will have continuing coverage on our twitter feed, @myfoxmemphis hashtag #caronnatrial.
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