As I look at the motions filed by the defense last week, I am sent on a trip into the past. I find myself looking at old motions and old interviews. I find it fascinating to look at where the current motions are coming from. By doing a little research, the maze that forms the defense seems to come into focus.
On September 10, Assistant State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick filed a Motion to Compel Reciprocal Discovery. This motion was in response to a speech made by Casey Anthony's attorney Todd Macaluso as he began to argue for his motion to have Tim Miller certified as a material witness in the case in order to peruse the TES records of the searches around Hidden Oaks Elementary School.
As Your Honor knows, the body of Caylee Marie Anthony was found very close to the Anthony home, and the body was found in a wooded area that if one were to search for a missing child, this is the first place you would go search. There is substantial evidence that we’ve discovered, and that’s been set forth in our brief, Your Honor, that the body or the remains of Caylee Anthony were placed there after Casey Anthony was locked up in the Orange County Correctional Facility. There is substantial evidence, and that proves, Your Honor, her innocence. That’s exculpatory evidence, it proves that somebody else placed the remains in the area where it was ultimately found.
On September 17, Jose Baez fired back a response to the motion stating that:
5. The defense is not in violation of their obligation under the reciprocal discovery rule by stating in court that Caylee Anthony's remains were deposited after Miss Anthony was incarcerated because the defense logically interpreted the State's own materials disseminated in their voluminous discovery to support Mr. Macaluso (sic) contention. In addition, much of what has been learned regarding the timing of the depositing of Caylee Anthony's remains has come from depositions taken to date.
In short, the defense claims that it has a different interpretation of material submitted by the State. It does not have any independent information to offer in discovery. When the defense filed the motion for Tim Miller, it included a number of appendices to support it. It is to these appendices that Macaluso referred when he stated that "there was substantial evidence" that was "set forth in our brief."
I went back to the brief and it's appendices and read what it contained concerning LE interviews and other discovery. Then, I went back to the original interviews and reports to see what the defense was not referring to. I came up with the following:
According to the defense, Wray spoke with Sergeant John Allen and Special Agent Scott Bolin sometime in October, 2008. From reading the entire transcript, I tend to believe that the interview took place on Suburban Drive sometime after the remains were found since her visits to that area seemed to be the focus of the questioning.
The closest I can come to gleaning that she knew the condition of the remains site comes where she states on p. 33 of the interview (discovery page 6404) that she had been all the TES searches and took pictures, which is against TES rules and that she and her husband had visited the same site other times:
SB: Let's start with number, the time number three. Was it, was the water getting deeper or less, or do you recall when that was? JW: Uhm, I think it was getting, it was getting deeper. Because the most rain we has was in October.
If she is to be believed, the site wasn't dry in October, the month when Casey was arrested for the last time. Wray also indicated there was a lot of rain in October. To me this content, if it is to be believed, would put lie to the area being dry then!
What the defense may be looking for in the TES records is information that Ms. Wray was indeed a team leader with TES and officially searched the area where the remains were found. I can't see anything she said to support that the body was not there.
Former Deputy Richard Cain
The defense included one page of Deputy Cain's December 18 interview with Yuri Melich and John Allen. Cain was the officer who responded to Roy Kronk's call on August 13, 2008. The key quote from the page included in the motion was:
RC: Uhm, I went into the woods, kind of stepping on the, where I could step without falling into the water. It was kind of, I believe there was a, another couple bags around it. And I reached down, lifted the bag up. It was pretty heavy. But when I lifted it up it tore, you know the bottom. All leaves fell out, some sticks... Uhm, and I took my baton out and kind of poked around. I didn't see anything. And went back out to Suburban.
That would indicate that the area was still wet and he didn't find a body. Unfortunately for the defense, a complaint was lodged against Deputy Cain and there was an investigation.
The results of the investigation were included in a letter dated March 30, 2009. (pp. 5273-4)
The letter was adressed to Cain from Captain Larry D. Krantz, Office of the Undersheriff, Professional Standards Section.
On August 13, 2008, you were the primary deputy sheriff dispatched to investigate suspicious items in a wooded area described as a bag possibly containing bones. You were directed to an area by Mr. Kronk, but you failed to locate any items described by Mr. Kronk. You allowed Mr. Kronk to depart the scene without seeking any assistance from Mr. Kronk to locate the suspicious items. You failed to thoroughly investigate the call for service which ultimately delayed the discovery of the remains of Ms. Caylee Anthony...
On December 18, 2008 during a sworn interview regarding questions involving your employment with the Orange County Sheriff's Office you were untruthful when you said, after Mr. Kronk pointed out a suspicious bag in a wooded area, you picked it up and the bottom fell out. You later acknowledged you did not pick up a bag during your contact with Mr. Kronk.
I find the defense extremely disingenuous here. First of all, Cain's interview stated that he had to be careful not to step in the water. Then, they used Deputy Cain's interview of December 18 to buttress their argument that Cain had located a bag that did not contain the remains. Unfortunately, Cain lied and eventually was forced to resign. Some proof!
Keith Williams was the young man who, based on a psychic's report went to what we now know was the remains site and found a bag of stuffed animals and clothes approximately 30 yards from where the remains were found. He stated that the items in the bag were in good condition and seemed suspicious to him considering that a little girl was missing.
The deputy who came out to assist was Richard Cain. According to his interview, the part posted with the motion, he deputy (then unnamed) was very dismissive of his find. It should be noted that Williams took that bag from the site and brought it to the Anthony home. The Anthony's rejected the bag and Williams went back to the site and called LE. When Deputy Cain came out, Williams took the bag from the trunk of his car, not from the actual site where he found it.
In the full interview, Williams gives more specific information:
KW Yeah, I pulled it out of the trunk and I handed it to him and said, "Look, this. I found this right over here and there's other stuff over her, if, you know, I, I think you should look" and I also explained the whole psychic and the whole story. MR Okay. What did he do with the bag? KW He, uh, he held it, he told me the bag looked, looked too deteriorated for it to have been it and, uh, right when we process of, you know, right when this everything, right when our conversation ended, he, uh, he tossed it back in, in the woods. pp. 5463-5464
As far as I can tell, there is no proof that the body wasn't there.
Still looking for the information that Mr. Macaluso and the rest of the defense team found so compelling that the court should immediately declare Casey Anthony innocent, I turned to the next interview snippet I found in the appendices. I found a blog entry by Criminal Report Daily blogger David Lohr from Discovery ID. The only pertinent thing I found was that he had been with the TES search team behind Hidden Oaks Elementary School where the organization had conducted a sweep of the area.
This brings me to the topic that has intrigued me since the remains were found. The remains were located just behind the last two houses on Hopespring Drive. Across the street are more woods and a cyclone fence. Further down the road is the school. When the press and searchers describe the area behind the school, I tend to think of the area at the far end of Suburban Drive. The last interview cited in the motion was that of Kiomarie Cruz, who is hailed as having figured out where the body was dumped first.
In the appendix to the motion, there is a section where Kiomarie describes the location where they used to hang out as:
Um, well first of all there's tons and tons of shading. Not a lot of people know about this spot unless you're a teenager or a kid... And most of the kids don't come down here now because I guess they have the fences and I didn't know about that...
The area she is describing has fences. The site where Caylee was found doesn't have fences. As we all saw from photographs of the site where Caylee was found is certainly not conducive to socializing and hanging out. So, I went back to Kiomarie's interview from August 18, 2008 and found a complete description of the place they hung out:
...Um, then Jessica showed us this hiding spot behind Hidden Oaks Elementary School. And back in the day there was no fences put up here, there was just ah, like a dirt hill and you can go back there with your bicycles and there's two different spots back there where we used to hang out at...
Here is a Google Earth map of the area. The remains were found in the lower left-hand corner. The area described by Kiomarie is obviously at the end of Suburban where there is a dirt road and trails. The area is fenced and there is a gate across the end of the road, as in Kiomarie's description of the area. I don't know how information about behind the school relates to whether or not Cayee's remains were just off Hopespring Drive.
Finally, the defense documents cited Dominic Casey and his own search of the area in November. At this point, Mr. Casey is a total mystery. We know he poked around the area and there are various opinions as to how near or far he was to the actual site. The State will depose Mr. Casey in November and perhaps we will get a clear story from him then!
Coming soon: the last two motions.