A Huntington Station woman told a jury Wednesday that nothing seemed amiss about her son about a half-hour after a female neighbor was killed blocks away from their home in October 2014.
“He was normal Adam,” Renee Saalfield said of her 22-year-old son, who is on trial, charged with second-degree murder. He is accused of slashing the throat of Maggie Rosales, 18, as she walked along Lynch Street a few blocks from home.
During questioning by defense attorney Michael Ross of Huntington, Renee Saalfield said there was nothing unusual about her son when he arrived home at the same time she and her boyfriend returned from a trip upstate the night of Oct. 12, 2014.
He had no visible cuts and his demeanor was the same as ever as he helped unload her boyfriend’s pickup truck, she said.
Renee Saalfield’s description of her son could explain some evidence introduced earlier in the trial. For example, she noted he is a type 1 diabetic who has to prick his finger and test his insulin three times a day. That could explain spots of his blood found on his blanket and in his car, according to previous testimony.
As Ross showed jurors a photo of Saalfield at his 21st birthday in September 2014, his mother noted that his head was shaved. In a surveillance video taken 15 minutes before the killing, Saalfield is seen at a gas station with a full head of hair, but a half-hour after the killing his head was shaved.
His mother said he regularly grew his hair out and gave himself a buzz cut, suggesting there was no significance that he did it that night.
During cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Raphael Pearl, Renee Saalfield said she loves Adam — her only child — “more than anything.”
“You’d do anything for him, right?” Pearl asked.
“Pretty much,” the witness replied.
She told Pearl that her son “had a great relationship” with her boyfriend at the time, Suffolk police Det. Gene Geissinger. They sometimes went on trips by themselves, and Geissinger bought her son gifts, she said, including knives for his collection.
But when Pearl showed her the Ka-Bar Law Enforcement knife that officers took from Saalfield when he was arrested on a drug charge a few days after the killing, Renee Saalfield said she’d never seen it and didn’t know if Geissinger had got it for him.
Earlier this week, Chief Medical Examiner Michael Caplan said the knife was capable of causing the wounds to Rosales’ neck.
Renee Saalfield told Pearl she was stunned when detectives came Oct. 29, 2014, to her house with a search warrant and told her that her son was charged with murder.
“I was having trouble just standing,” she said. “I was in shock.”