Jurors who will be tasked with deciding whether Joanna Madonna, a former Wake County teacher, murdered her husband or killed him while defending herself heard from many crime scene investigators on Wednesday.
Then shortly before the evening break, a former brother-in-law of Madonna's described how the defendant got the knife that killed Jose Perez in June 2013.
Madonna, who has been married several times and has fought substance abuse issues and post-traumatic stress from being raped several times, was visiting her former brother-in-law in South Carolina shortly before the fatal stabbing.
William Perez, no known relation to Jose Perez, told jurors on Wednesday that he had reconnected with Madonna and her two older daughters several years ago through Facebook.
Madonna had been married to his brother almost two decades ago, and although he had lost contact with the mother and his nieces for many years, they had gotten in several visits after that Facebook reconnection.
During a visit in June 2013, when William Perez's son was close to death from a rare bone cancer that primarily affects children and adolescents, Madonna and her former brother-in-law went to a pawn shop in South Carolina to price guns.
William Perez had noticed that Madonna was "a little off" during that visit, and she told him she was scared, that break-ins had been occurring in her neighborhood.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said during her opening statement on Tuesday that no such break-ins had occurred, that Madonna had begun a new romantic relationship at that time, and prosecutors contend had begun to plot her husband's demise.
Though Madonna did not purchase a gun at the South Carolina pawn shop, she talked about buying a gun later, once she had received her paycheck.
But once the two had returned to the house where William Perez's ill son was, the topic of weapons came up and the boy agreed to let Madonna take a Taurus .380 handgun from his extensive collection. The notion was that she would keep it with her until she got her paycheck and either send them the money or return the gun and buy one of her own.
The boy also gave Madonna a knife.
In opening statements on Tuesday, Cynthia Grimes contended that Madonna had fatally stabbed her husband after he shot a gun twice while she was trying to break up with him.
Madonna, according to the defense team, was threatened and began stabbing her husband with a knife. They said she was fighting for survival.
Investigators on Wednesday showed photos of Madonna taken shortly after the killing and she had few bruises and scrapes that might typically be associated with self-defense struggles.
William Perez told jurors on Wednesday, in response a question from Deonte Thomas, a member of the defense team, that he had no indication Madonna sought the weapons for a plotted homicide. She told him she wanted self-protection
The trial is expected to last into next week and offers two competing narratives.