Jurors deliberating in poisoned doctor trial

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HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas cancer researcher accused of poisoning a colleague who was also her lover was described by prosecutors on Wednesday as a devious and manipulative person who took extreme action when the man she'd become obsessed with rejected her.

Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo's attorneys countered that there was no direct evidence against their client in the poisoning — which fellow researcher George Blumenschein survived — and that the prosecution's case was "nothing but speculation and guesswork."

Jurors deliberated for about two hours Wednesday after hearing closing arguments in the aggravated assault trial, which began last week. They will return Friday to resume deliberations.

Prosecutors said the affair between Gonzalez-Angulo and Blumenschein turned into a "fatal attraction" after Blumenschein spurned her in favor of Evette Toney, his 10-year live-in girlfriend, with whom he was trying to have children.

They alleged that after a sexual encounter on Jan. 27, 2013, Gonzalez-Angulo laced Blumenschein's coffee with ethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting chemical found in antifreeze. Blumenschein told jurors he now has about 40 percent of his kidney function.

"What she wanted ... and what she knew she couldn't have was Dr. Blumenschein," said Harris County prosecutor Justin Keiter.

Gonzalez-Angulo, 43, is a breast cancer doctor based at Houston's Texas Medical Center. Witnesses testified that she had access to ethylene glycol at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where she and Blumenschein were researchers.

Keiter said Gonzalez-Angulo is a smart woman who was also "diabolical and dangerously deadly." He said she made up a story about being attacked by two people a few weeks before Blumenschein was poisoned to try to get Blumenschein to leave Toney.

Keiter described various twists and oddities in the case — including Gonzalez-Angulo having Blumenschein followed and Blumenschein secretly recording calls he had with her to try and get a confession — as something out of a Hollywood movie.

"Everything about this case is nuts," he said. "It's sex, lies and audiotape."

But Derek Hollingsworth, one of Gonzalez-Angulo's attorneys, told jurors there was not "one shred of direct evidence" against his client.

Hollingsworth said Toney was someone who "clearly had a motive" because Blumenschein wouldn't marry her and because of the affair.

Toney testified she didn't poison Blumenschein, she still loves him and they are working on their relationship. Blumenschein and Toney sat together during closing arguments.

Andy Drumheller, another of Gonzalez-Angulo's attorneys, noted a prosecution expert's testimony that Blumenschein could have ingested the poison two days earlier than prosecutors say Gonzalez-Angulo spiked his coffee.

Earlier Wednesday, the prosecution's final witness, Dr. Jennifer Litton, a friend of Gonzalez-Angulo, testified the researcher had become more frail and agitated in the months before the poisoning.

Gonzalez-Angulo's defense team presented no witnesses.

Gonzalez-Angulo could be sentenced to up to life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge she faces, aggravated assault of a person with whom she had a dating relationship. Jurors could also convict her of the lesser charge of aggravated assault, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years.


Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

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