BUFFALO (WKBW) After a two week break, the murder trial of Candace Cartagena resumed with the defense calling its one and only witness, a medical examiner who testified to a very different story of how Bianca Cartagena died.
Doctor Jonathan Arden, a medical examiner and consultant, testified on the stand that he believes 8 year old Bianca Cartagena died of natural causes, suffering from "dialated cardio myopathy."
"Bianca had a diseased, enlarged heart, which caused her sudden death," defense attorney Joseph Terranova said.
That theory is directly opposite from earlier witness Dr. Diane Vertes, the former Erie County Medical Examiner who ruled the cause of death to be asphyxiation and Bianca's death a homicide.
Arden testified that there wasn't enough proof to support that idea, and that the size and weight of Bianca's heart was not normal for her age. He concluded a sudden and natural cardiac event took her life.
The prosecution countered with doubts that a young active 8 year old could live with such a heart condition, undiagnosed, and that on the night in question it suddenly turned fatal.
"But that happens. Dr. Arden indicated that that happens. he provided the clinical proof and the forensic proof that happened. end of story in my opinion," Terranova added
This will be the defense's only witness, choosing to refute medical testimony only and not to address any other witness testimony about what Candace Cartagena did before or after Bianca's death
"Everything else is just junk. If they want to talk about what my client said when and threatened to do when and how she accomplished other things, that's all tangential. Because this case is about cause of death and manner of death,"Terranova said.
There were some scheduling issues with expert witnesses, that is why the defense went out of order. The prosecution has one final witness to call before they rest their case, but that witness has been delayed in getting to WNY. Closing arguments are expected after that final witness takes the stand.