COPY-Murder trial in James Island stabbing underway, defense claims 'uncontrollable passion'

COPY-Murder trial in James Island stabbing underway, defense claims 'uncontrollable passion'

Defense attorneys for a man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death last year on James Island say the case is really about was in their client's heart at the time of the killing.

The trial of Robert Kronsberg, who is charged in the fatal stabbing of 25-year-old Tasha Lucia, began Tuesday morning after a pre-trial motion to have an alleged confession thrown out was denied.

The motion from Chief Public Defender Ashley Pennington argued Kronsberg's alleged confession should not be admissible because Kronsberg was on medication that caused him to confess to the murder.

Judge Roger Young denied that motion, saying the audio tape did not indicate police forced a confession and the medication did not cause the confession to be involuntary.

Opening arguments begin. In opening arguments Tuesday morning, Prosecutor Jessica Baldwin claimed an argument about Lucia's ex-boyfriend led to the murder. Baldwin said Kronsberg started strangling Lucia, then hit her in the head with a hammer and fatally stabbed her.

"Probably one stab to the chest with a knife so large would have been enough, however it still is not enough to satisfy him," Baldwin said. "He plunged the knife into her chest over and over again, eventually leaving it in her body."

Baldwin then accused Kronsberg of attempting to "take the easy way out" by swallowing pills.

Defense attorneys are not disputing that Kronsberg killed Lucia. But Public defender Charlie Cochran countered that the case is really about what was going on in his heart that night. Cochran says the day before the murder, Tasha posted a photo of her ex-boyfriend on Facebook. Kronsberg texted Tasha that he was breaking up with her and she would never see him again, and "had no hate in his heart" the night of her death.

However, Chochran said when Kronsberg arrived home the night of the killing, Lucia attacked him, upset because he couldn't handle her friendship with her ex-boyfriend.

Cochran claimed Lucia had marijuana and alcohol in her system and hit Kronsberg. As the argument escalated, Kronsberg put his hands around Tasha's throat and was "out of control."

"He stabbed her in a frenzy of despair, self hatred and uncontrollable passion and you will see throughout the course of this trial that what he did with that knife is not something a person will do who has control of himself," Cochran said.

Co-workers testify, discovered victim's body. Co-workers of Lucia took the stand Tuesday afternoon.

One said Lucia had been in a "happy" mood on the night of her death until she received a phone call. That co-worker offered to give her a ride home, but said Lucia chose to walk home instead.

A close friend said when she called Lucia that night and her phone went straight to voicemail, that was an immediate "red flag." She said she went to Lucia's apartment and banged on the door. When she didn't get an answer, she boosted a friend through a window. Once inside, the two heard Kronsberg snoring loudly in a bedroom, and saw his eyes rolling back in his head, she said.

The other friend testified she found Lucia's body covered with a large blue blanket in another bedroom. When she lifted the blanket, she saw blood and a knife sticking out of Lucia's chest, she said. The woman testified they then grabbed the dog, ran, and called 911.

Prosecutors played that 911 call in court, during which the witness held her head in her hands on the witness stand and Kronsberg looked down. In the call, the operator attempted to calm the woman down.

A fourth witness, a neighbor who is a nurse, testified she heard nothing the night before, but entered the apartment to check on Lucia after her friends found her. She told the court she checked for a pulse but could not find one.

Court documents also state Lucia was also beaten in the head with a hammer.

When police were inside, they said they found a bottle of vodka, a bottle of ibuprofen, and what appeared to be marijuana, along with a knife, on the bedside table next to a sleeping Kronsberg.

Kronsberg was shirtless and covered in blood, according to the report.

When police awakened Kronsberg, they said he sat upright with "wild" eyes and he mumbled.

Kronsberg was also suffering from three-inch vertical laceration to his left wrist, which police said appeared to be self-inflicted. While Kronsberg was being taken to the hospital, he told EMS responders he had taken cocaine earlier in the day, according to a report.

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