April 6, 2010

Kot Murder Trial Enters Fourth Day

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Testimony in the trial of Blazej Kot, the 25-year-old former Cornell grad student accused of murdering his wife Caroline Coffey in 2009 continued on Tuesday. Much of the testimony centered on Kot’s iMac, which was used on the night of the murder to perform a Google search for the term “how+to+kill+neck+aretery.”

The first witness during yesterday’s testimony was Kot’s former teaching assistant and subsequent employer, Peter Brodsky, who had given Kot the iMac for work purposes. Brodsky testified that he founded an iPhone application company in 2007 and Kot was Brodsky’s first employee. Kot’s job responsibilities required significant travel across varying time zones and Brodsky would often communicate with Kot using video conferencing tools such as Skype and iChat. Both the Assistant District Attorney and Kot’s counsel, Joe Joch ’66, questioned Brodsky at length about Kot’s habitual use of masking tape to cover his iMac’s camera lens.

Brodsky was also asked about his view of Kot’s relationship with Coffey. “By the time they started talking about marriage, [Kot] seemed much less interested in [Coffey] than he had originally seemed,” Brodsky said. He noted that Kot often became disillusioned about his peers and tended to distance himself from those whom he did not hold in high regard. “He had come to have a pretty low opinion of Carolyn … He said that he wasn’t sure how smart she was,” Brodsky said.

At the end of Brodsky’s testimony, Judge John Rowley asked the witness about his view of Kot’s relationship with Coffey. “In retrospect, now that you’ve heard of the death of his wife, do things seem different to you?” Rowley asked.

“[Kot] functioned incredibly well until the very end. There was nothing in his work or in his personal life even in retrospect that could’ve allowed me to forecast what was going to happen,” Brodsky said.

He also discussed the decline in Kot’s performance toward the end of spring 2008 in his final months at Instinctiv. “It was very understandable … given that he was having difficulties at home and he had a personal issue he needed to resolve before he could come back to the company. Unfortunately, it was never resolved,” Brodsky said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Kot worked for Instinctiv, Inc. In fact, Kot never was an employee of Instinctiv, Inc. but worked for Predict Systems, Inc. The Sun regrets the error.

Original Author: Keri Blakinger