Was Lina Kaufman strangled? Or is her death a medical mystery?
- Extra: Adam Kaufman shows where he found Lina's body
- Extra: The Kaufman twins on their relationship
- Extra: Remembering Lina
- More »
Adam and Lina Kaufman (Kaufman family)
Two weeks into Adam Kaufman's trial, a surprising witness for the defense: Lina Kaufman's mother, Frida Aizman.
Bill Matthewman | Defense attorney: Do you love Adam?
Frida Aizman: Like my own son.
Bill Matthewman: Do you support him?
Frida Aizman: I'm here.
"I really believe that he is not guilty. He is not guil -- he did-- he has nothing to do with this," Aizman told "48 Hours."
Frida Aizman is Adam Kaufman's best hope.
"The fact that she was willing to come in there, and testify for Adam, and support Adam in front of that jury, was critical for us," said defense attorney Bill Matthewman.
Critical because, Matthewman says, she backs up Adam's claims that Lina had undiagnosed health problems that caused her death.
According to Aizman, Lina suffered fainting spells as a child.
"So what did you think, it was just normal that she would faint occasionally? Erin Moriarty asked Aizman.
"No. Of course, it's not normal," she replied. "...it was when she was little, we went to the doctors, of course. And they didn't find anything."
Now Aizman believes the reason her daughter asked her to take care of her children was because Lina knew she was ill. But prosecutors say there are no records Lina ever consulted a doctor about fainting spells:
Joe Mansfield | Prosecutor: Was Lina ever taken by ambulance to the hospital, in response to any one of these episodes she had?
Frida Aizman: No.
Joe Mansfield: So the fainting spells that you...observed in Lina were a long time ago, not close to her death?
Frida Aizman: Yes.
"If she thought Adam killed her daughter, why would she testify for him?" Moriarty asked prosecutor Kathleen Hoague.
"She has no idea what's going on between Adam and her daughter," Hoague replied. "She's never really seen the injuries to her daughter or-- you know, she only knows what the Kaufman family has told her."
In closing arguments, the defense emphasizes Frida's unwavering belief in her son-in-law.
"Adam Kaufman is not guilty," Bill Matthewman told the court. "Frida Aizman lost her daughter. Frida still supports Adam. Loves him like a son. Knows he's innocent."
But the prosecution questions her motive for testifying.
"Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Aizman has two beautiful grandchildren," Matthew Baldwin told the court in his rebuttal. "What do you think would happen if she didn't support him? Do you think for a second, she would be seeing her grandchildren? ...You think she's going to go against him?"
"Are you accusing me of lying?" Frida Aizman yells out in court.
Her outburst angers the judge, who orders Aizman to leave the courtroom.
"If there was a side of you that thought that Adam did have something to do with your daughter's death, would you have still defended him in court?" Moriarty asked Aizman.
"Of course not," she replied.
"Even to keep a father for--"
"Of course not," she said. "What-- what father he can be if he can do this to a mom to this kid? So what father he can be? Of course not."
On June 5, 2012, after a month-long trial, the case goes to the jury and the waiting begins. "It's a scary, scary, scary thing," said Adam.
His biggest fear: that his children, who have already lost their mother, will now lose him.
"Every morning I leave and I go to work and the kids go to school. And, you know, you hug the kids and you kiss the kids ... And you know you're going to see them," an emotional Adam Kaufman explained. "This morning was different. ...That hug and kiss was different."
After eight agonizing hours, the jury reaches a verdict.
"It was definitely that feeling of, 'OK, here it is. Here we go,' Adam recalled of the moments before learning his fate. "And-- and I stood up in between Al and Bill and put my head down and just thought of my kids."
"We the jury in Miami Dade County Florida, find as follows: The defendant is not guilty so say we all."
"All I heard was 'not guilty.' And I felt Bill grab me and Al grab me," Adam said. "I could hear the family. And crying and -- and I'm like, 'Is this it? Is-- is it over?'"
The man branded as a killer for more than three years is acquitted of his wife's murder.
"And it was -- amazing. It was unbelievable," Adam said of the verdict. "It was pretty overwhelming. It was -- it was overwhelming."
For prosecutors, it is a crushing defeat.
"Even though you're acquitted, aren't there still some people who wonder did you have anything to do with your wife's death?" Moriarty asked Adam.
"Of course there's people out there that are-- that are gonna sit and wonder," he replied. "The people that matter know the truth. And that's all I care about."
Adam Kaufman is now trying to get his life and his reputation back.
"Has it occurred to you that you might not be sitting here if it wasn't for Lina's mom coming forward and testifying for you?" Moriarty asked.
"Absolutely. Absolutely," Adam replied.
"She probably saved your life."
"Yeah. Yeah. I think so."
Saved by Lina's mom, Adam says, and Lina herself.
"I believe she's -- she was-- she was a big part of this entire process and she was-- she was watching over it," he said. "In the end Lina's heart saved my life."
Adam Kaufman plans to write a book about his ordeal.
- Ryan Ferguson's fight for freedom
- The Accuser
- A Fatal Attraction
- Secrets of the River
- fugitive @ hotmail.com
- The Preacher's Passion
- Sneak peek: Lina's Heart
- Forbidden love ends with mother's violent murder
- The search for Mackenzie Cowell's killer
- "48 Hours" Program Schedule
- Murder at Sea?
- Unraveling the lies of Jodi Arias
- Over the Edge
- "48 Hours Mystery:" Rodney Alcala's Killing Game
- The search for fugitive Dr. Yazeed Essa
- Dirty Little Secrets