The defense team for Kleber Cordova, the Morristown man accused of drowning his wife in their Western Avenue apartment bathtub in 2008 opened their case Thursday with witnesses who testified about Cordova’s job and well being two days after the alleged crime.
Earlier, Superior Court Judge David Ironson denied a motion by defense attorney Jessica Moses to have the murder charges reduced.
Cordova, 32, is charged with murder, child endangerment, witness tampering, tampering with evidence and hindering apprehension in the May 2008 drowning death of his wife Eliana Torres, 25. He has pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution, led by Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Maggie Calderwood, claimed that Cordova killed Torres after she told him she had been having an affair and wanted a divorce.
On Wednesday, Ironson refused a defense motion to declare a mistrial in the case. Moses sought the mistrial Wednesday after eliciting testimony from Torres’ sister, Zaida Solis, that contained what Moses said were lies.
On Thursday, Michael Thorne, manager of the Morristown restaurant , which employed Cordova, testified that he worked on the overnight cleaning crew. Thorne said that, on May 8, 2008, Cordova would have been working on the restaurant between 2 and 5 a.m.
Calderwood asked him if he saw Cordova at the restaurant on May 9, and Thorne said he never saw Cordova on that day.
Darren Uecker, a security guard at , testified about a report he filed regarding an incident at the hospital on May 10. Torres was in the hospital on that day on life support.
Uecker’s report said he responded to a call for a person who had fainted. When he arrived, his report said, the person, who in the report was identified as Cordova, was being treated with oxygen.
Calderwood objected to the identity in the report that the person being treated was Cordova.
Ironson allowed the report to be entered as evidence but redacted the identify of the person being treated with oxygen.
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Tuesday.