Thu, December 9, 2004

Wife's woes on tape
Murdered woman talks of leaving her husband

A JURY HEARD Carmella Bruni reveal her love for a special friend and her desire to end a crumbling marriage on a recording made hours before she was bludgeoned to death. Bruni's home conversations -- which were surreptitiously taped by her spouse Mel Bruni and later recovered by police -- were played yesterday as the closing piece of the prosecution's case.

Mel Bruni, 44, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the Dec. 25, 2002 death of 39-year-old Carmella.

He is expected to testify in his own defence today.

The husband, who set up the taping device while he drove his daughters from a previous marriage home on Christmas Day, returned to hear the tape.

On the tape, Carmella said she loves "Kevin" a co-worker at Bell Canada. Bruni also heard Kevin's recorded voice echoing similar feelings to Carmella.

"And I'm sure as hell not going to feel guilty over falling in love with you because it's the best thing I've ever done," she told Kevin, who testified they were only platonic friends.

Bruni allegedly inflicted 18 lacerations to her head, some underlying skull fractures and four chin lacerations by hitting her repeatedly with a five-pound dumbbell. Carmella died 15 hours later in hospital of blunt force trauma injuries.

In his account to a 911 operator, Bruni said his wife "came at him."

On the tape, Carmella also fears breaking the news about her marriage to her traditional Italian parents who believe spouses with children should stay together, period.

"They are going to literally kill me. And I won't be able to handle it . . . they're not going to stop badgering me ."

Speaking to her brother Armando, Carmella portrayed Mel as a "very controlling, very jealous and very possessive" spouse who threw "crying" tantrums to prevent her from leaving him.

"Mel and I have been on this vicious cycle since the day we met . . . I just can't take it any more," Carmella told Armando, who fought back his emotions as he heard his sister's voice in their last conversation in court.

"You have no clue how close we are to separating . . . like so ... close I can taste it," Carmella told her wheelchair-bound brother, who has cerebral palsy. "I can feel it -- I can see the 'for sale' sign."

The jury has already heard Bruni's voice and his account on the 911 emergency tape.

When the dispatcher asked Bruni if his wounded wife is bleeding, he responds, "I love her so much."