Opening statements were yesterday afternoon. As I anticipated, the primary defense will be to challenge the State’s circumstantial case that Gonzalez was the driver. Although the case is circumstantial (no witness saw the collision that killed Tia Poklemba), it is still fairly strong for the state. Ms. Poklemba was seen getting into Gonzalez’s car not long before she was killed. The State says forensics will prove that she was killed by that car, and that he told officers he took her to 7-11 and dropped her off, but video shows nobody getting out of his car there. Finally; that since Gonzalez fled afterward, leaving his pregnant girlfriend behind, that shows he was guilty. The Defense said there were two more men that got into the car with them, and that those men later forced out Gonzalez, prior to Poklemba’s death. The Defense also challenged the findings of the accident reconstructionist, which they may use to argue that the state cannot prove the intentional act necessary for manslaughter. A true accident won’t be a manslaughter, but could still lead to a conviction for leaving the scene.
Both the Naples News and News Press are live-Tweeting the trial: