BUFFALO, N.Y. ( WKBW ) The manslaughter trial for Dr. James Corasanti has begun. Judge Sheila DiTullio heard opening arguments Thursday from the prosecution, then the defense.
The prominent Amherst doctor is accused of killing Alexandria Rice, 18, on Heim Road in Amherst last summer, in what the prosecution says was a hit and run.
Prosecutor James Bargnesi addressed the jury first, calling the actions of Dr. Corasanti "tragic" with multiple stupid decisions. Bargnesi went on to describe in graphic detail what happened at the crash scene, describing how Rice was thrown over 150 feet with the impact of the hit almost severing her head after he was speeding and texting.
He went on to note Corasanti's blood alcohol was over the legal limit, five hours after drinking during a golf event at a suburban country club.
Defense attorney Joel Daniels was next, telling the jury the defense has waited ten months to tell their side of the story. Daniels emphasized that Dr. Corasanti will testify in his own defense, telling the jury "you can bank on it."
He said this was a "heartbreaking accident."
Eyewitness News will continue to have coverage of the trial, including expert analysis from defense attorney Barry Covert.
Covert told Eyewitness News This Morning, "“This is a building block case for the prosecution as opposed to a case where you have a confession. This is a case where you have to use building blocks to put together a wall of evidence strong enough to support the outcome you want from the jury. The defense is much more tenuous in their statements, while they will be strong in respect to what they think is positive to them. The defense will be very strong as to what the prosecution cannot prove in their direct case,” Covert said.
Covert said the prosecutors would outline the accident reconstruction; show text messages that Corasanti was allegedly sending at the time of the accident and present many witness statements about the doctor’s sobriety.