In a packed Houston courtroom, the girlfriend of a respected cancer doctor, who was allegedly poisoned by his mistress, told a tale of obsession and manipulation that eventually led to a near-fatal poisoning.
Prosecutors say that Dr. George Blumenschein began a casual sexual relationship with his colleague, Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, while they worked together at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. They allege that Gonzalez-Angulo, 43, turned violent after Blumenschein, 50, spurned her in favor of his longtime live-in girlfriend, with whom he was trying to start a family. Gonzalez-Angulo is accused of giving Blumenschein a cup of coffee tainted with ethylene glycol, a chemical often found in antifreeze.
Blumenschein's girlfriend testified that things got strange in 2012. "I purchased a watch for George, a Luminox. She purchased the exact same watch for herself," Dr. Evette Toney said. "I purchased some luggage for George. She purchased the exact same luggage for herself."
Jurors sat in rapt attention as they heard from Toney, who tearfully testified about having a miscarriage while Blumenschein was carrying on the affair with Gonzalez-Angulo. "He said he wasn't attracted to her," Toney testified. "He was adamant that it was just work."
She also told jurors about an alarming phone call she received on Jan. 27, 2013, the day Blumenschein was poisoned. His speech was slurred and he sounded gravely ill. "He said, 'Evette, I'm not feeling well,' " she testified. "I didn't know what to think."
According to Toney, Blumenschein promised to get medical treatment, but actually went to the home of Gonzalez-Angulo instead. Later, as his symptoms worsened, he finally went to the hospital. Toney met him there and was shocked by what she saw.
"He was unable to walk," she said. "I thought he was dying. I actually thought he was dying in front of me. It was heartbreaking to watch someone suffer. You're sitting there waiting for bad news."
Secret Tapes of Intimate Phone CallsProsecutors also played recordings of conversations between Blumenschein and Gonzalez-Angulo, made after the poisoning. In the tapes, Gonzalez-Angulo repeatedly tries to shift the blame from herself onto Toney.
"Why in Christ would I ever hurt you? Why?" Gonzalez-Angulo demanded in one of the calls.
"Why would Evette hurt me?" Blumenschein responded.
"I don't know," Gonzalez-Angulo retorts. "I don't know you two. For God's sake, someone assaulted you. I would've run away a long time ago. You seem to know her better. You trust her."
At one point, Gonzalez-Angulo grows hostile. "It's too late. She won," she says. "You go on, have a kid and I'll leave. It'll be fine."
Gonzalez-Angulo's attorney, Derek Hollingsworth, maintains that his client "has been accused of something she did not do," and adds that the prosecution has dramatized the relationship "to fit a theory that doesn't match the facts."
If convicted of first-degree felony assault, Gonzalez-Angulo faces a maximum of life in prison.