The trial of former Cornell graduate student Blazej Kot, who is accused of murdering his wife last summer, is slated to begin Thursday in Tompkins County Court.
Kot, a New Zealand native, is charged with the fatal stabbing of his wife, Caroline Coffey, who was a Cornell researcher in biomedical engineering at the Vet School.
Kot's attorney, Joe Joch ’66, will likely present an affirmative, psychiatric defense, The Ithaca Journal has reported.
Joch told The Journal that “there is a mental disease aspect to the case”
known as “extreme emotional disturbance.” Joch said in court earlier this week that the defense will conceed Kot’s guilt but ask that the jury convict him of a lesser crime, according to The Journal.
The body of 28-year-old Coffey was found on the morning of June 3 on a wooded trail in Taughannock Falls State Park. An autopsy later showed that she suffered a fatal cut to the neck.
Prosecutors allege that Kot stabbed Coffey to death near their Ithaca home the night before and subsequently set fire to their apartment to dispose of evidence of the crime. After setting the fire, police say that Kot led them on a five-minute, high-speed chase before crashing his vehicle. They found him with an apparent self-inflicted injury.
Kot’s injury was life-threatening and he was transported to Robert Packer Hospital in Northern Pennsylvania. The next evening, after Coffey’s body was found, Pennsylvania State Police arrested Kot and he was arraigned on the murder charge from his hospital bed.