09/20/2014 09:04 am ET Updated Sep 20, 2014

Doctor Says Lover Gave Him Poisoned, 'Sweet' Coffee


(Reuters) - A Texas doctor, who prosecutors said was poisoned by an obsessed colleague and lover, testified on Friday in her criminal trial that the woman served him a sweet cup of coffee one morning even though he preferred his black.

Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, 43, an oncologist, is charged with aggravated assault of a family member, a charge that covers domestic violence in dating relationships, for allegedly spiking Dr. George Blumenschein's coffee in January 2013.

"It was very, very sweet," Blumenschein testified.

Blumenschein, 50, said he asked Gonzalez-Angulo why the coffee was sweet and she told him she had used Splenda, an artificial sweetener.

"I found it odd that she put Splenda in the coffee, I like it black and she knows that," Blumenschein said.

Prosecutors contend the coffee was laced with ethylene glycol, a colorless and odorless chemical commonly found in anti-freeze and science labs that has a sweet taste.

The doctors, cancer researchers at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, developed a romantic relationship as they worked long hours together in the lab, at her home and during frequent trips out of town, Blumenschein testified.

"We were very good friends. I was close to her, I trusted her," Blumenschein said.

Gonzalez-Angulo asked Blumenschein to try a coffee blend that morning, he said. When he complained about the taste, she told him to finish it because it was expensive, he said.

Blumenschein said he felt very ill later in the day and was admitted to an emergency room 16 hours after drinking the coffee.

He was diagnosed with central nervous system damage, cardiopulmonary complications and renal failure that night. He survived after undergoing dialysis, he said.

A kidney specialist saw a hazy quality in Blumenschein's urine and alerted authorities after finding signs consistent with ethylene glycol poisoning.

Blumenschein said Gonzalez-Angulo admitted, after the alleged poisoning, that she had access to ethylene glycol.

Prosecutors contend she was obsessed with Blumenschein, with whom she had been in an affair for two years.

An attorney for Gonzalez-Angulo has told jurors his client is innocent and that experts who have testified have done a little more than guesswork.

Gonzalez-Angulo would face five to 99 years in prison if convicted. Blumenschein's testimony is expected to continue on Monday when the trial resumes.

(Editing by David Bailey and Bill Trott)