First, the good news. There will be no hearing tomorrow. Now, the bad news, there will be a hearing on Friday, April 1 at 8:30 AM to complete the motions not finished today. If they are not finished on Friday, the plan is to continue on Saturday, April 2 at 8:30 AM!
Today's hearing was mind-numbing, to say the least. We managed to get through one witness on the K-9 issue and one witness on the chloroform/trunk odor situation.
Dep. Jason Forgey was the first witness today. He is a canine handler with the OCSO. He told Baez his is a good one!
He used a dog names Gerus for just over six years. He now has a new dog, Griffin.
Baez asked about Gerus' training. He trained with the OCSO and with other outside specialty schools. The schools are run by the Andy Redmond who authored the Cadaver Dog Handbook.
Baez asked what Gerus trained on. Forgey listed the different types of materials he trained on. It is an extensive list.
Forgey filled out training logs. When asked by Baez, "Who gave you the bright idea to keep a training log?" (That was an insult!) Forgey answered that he didn't know. He indicated that the forms had changed over the years.
Gerus was certified after the 400 hours training school in general work and again after a 160 hour specialty training school
There is no State or FDLE training program. Gerus had certified and continued to have a trainer who evaluated the dog on a regular basis.
Gerus was last evaluated February 29, 2008. The evaluator was FDLE certified as a trainer. Deputy Ramos was the trainer. It was cadaver training using bones. Gerus located both bones. There were no problems noted.
The next time the dog was evaluated was in June, 2008.
Baez wanted to know if this was double-blind testing. Forgey didn't know. Baez went after Forgey asking if he wasn't thorough in his reports.
One thing I would like to know is if this is a normal set of procedures for dog training. Otherwise, it has no meaning.
Baez asked if Forgey knew about single and double blind testing. Forgey pointed out that there isn't a space on the form for that sort of information.
Baez next brought up the issue of handler bias. Forgey didn't seem to think much of it, so Baez went on to explain it to the deputy.
Baez then had Forgey go through the entire log to see when Genus was last tested in a double blind situation (neither the handler nor the dog knew the location of the bait.)
Forgey found one in 2005. This testing was for Forgey's own certification as a dog handler. This was done also in July, 2005, November 2005, and the same for a school in 2006.
Baez tried to make a big deal that some of the details of the double blind studies that are not written in the logs. Forgey states that there were other experts there to validify his testimony.
Baez fought mightily to prove that it was quite possible that Forgey "cued" the dog when doing the searches of the Pontiac and the Anthony back yard.
Personally, I think that these searches were indeed double blind since nobody had told Forgey where the target odors were, if there were any.
Baez pointed out that since Forgey filled out the logs, it was possible he could lie or lie by omission.
Linda Burdick objected for relevancy and Judge Perry sustained the objection.
Baez still went on to insinuate Forgey could have lied on the records for Gerus.
I found it odius that Mr. Baez accuses all sorts of people who go on day after day, doing their jobs, and doing them well are liars.
Baez then went on to the actual search of the car, although there was no body in it. Again today, Baez honed in on the phrase that Forgery said he'd, "give it a shot." (I'm wondering what THAT was about!)
Gerus searched two vehicles that day. The Sunfire and a blue truck.
Baez then had Forgey draw the picture. (I'm waiting for an "aha" moment from the defense when all are revealed and there are slight differences in them.)
Baez had Forgey go through how he had conducted the dog search. He first did the blue car and then Ms. Anthony's car. It started at the front bumper (driver side) counterclockwise around the vehicle. He knew it was the suspect's car. The dog started to alert as he approached the vehicle. The second time around he started indicating and had someone open the driver side door. The dog put his head in the car and looked towards the rear seat. They then opened the trunk and the dog jumped up with his front paws only, looked at Forgey and sat for a final trained alert at the trunk.
Baez pointed out that Forgey had to refer to his bond hearing testimony for details and he used this to indicate that the logs weren't detailed enough.
Baez then showed Forgey his police report which is not very long. Baez pointed out that there was no blue car there that day. (Needless to say, Baez is looking for every nook and cranny to get his butter into.)
Dep. Forgery also pointed out that in a "real world" scenario, it's not always possible to do both cars. Baez then tried to get the witness declared "adverse". Linda Burdick corrected the term to hostile because he is a State witness. The judge didn’t agree with this as he is not being hostile!
At this point, Linda Burdick started objecting more. Forgey did mention the blue car/truck in his deposition. Baez then asked what he testified to at the Grand Jury. Forgey is instructed NOT to answer the question.
Baez said that the defense will be asking for this testimony in the future.
Baez asked if the search was videotaped. When Forgey answered that it wasn't he pointed out that while the handbook might state it as a suggestion, it is not a hard and fast rule.
There was a test set up for a new dog with a lineup with one car with a pizza in it to run that scenario due to all the hype in the case!
Mr. Baez was then asked by Judge Perry to look at the four corners of the motion he filed and see if it fit his questioning. Then, Perry told him to move on. (Mind you, there had been no objection at that point!)
Forgey also took Genus to the Anthony home to search the back yard. He they completed a search of the entire yard. He got an alert near the play area and the dog ended up giving him a final alert in the southeast corner of the yard
When he finished the search, he called Osceola County to run a second search to verify the results. He did not call out Dep. Brewer because of the changes in the case. He wanted to go "above and beyond" at that point. He believed the dog was off the leash. The dog was on the lead for the search of the car.
When Sgt. Brewer came out, he told her he'd probed three areas and that the area was clear but did not tell her what the dog did in the yard. Bones alerted at the same locations.
He then informed the detectives of the results. Forensics then began to search where the dogs alerted.
Forgey went back the next day. The area where the dog had alerted skimmed the area. The dog did not alert at that time, nor did Sgt. Brewer's dog.
Baez kept calling the alert a false positive because the dogs didn't alert the second day. Forgey pointed out he didn't believe so and, had Sgt. brewer said yesterday, soil had bee moved and the scene changed.
Judge Perry then called for a bench conference. I do believe that he was telling Baez to get a move on with his witness. This whole cadaver dog thing has been a big waste of time as the testimony will come in and the defense can pull all these cards at the trial.
After the break, Baez continued with Dep. Forgey. He stated that there is no testing for residual odor. He also said that the term "false positive" doesn't really apply.
Baez started going into the smell of garbage in the back of a car until Linda Burdick objected and the judge sustained the objection.
Forgey pointed out he does not know what forensics has. (As I recall, the dog is a tool, and it was the CSI who examined the trunk and discovered there was adipocere, a volatile fatty acid from decomposition in it. It simply isn't the job of the dog or it's handler to identify the nature of what they found. The dog alerts, someone else investigates. This is the fallacy behind Baez' whole argument about false alerts. In fact, I have to wonder if dog handlers ever find out that their dogs have these so-called false alerts in real life because by the time the area has been thoroughly searched or tested, the dog and handler are long gone.)
Linda Burdick briefly cross-examined Forgey, pointing out his years with the OCSO and the number of dogs he trained and how they were trained
Burdick clearly understood that the admissibility of cadaver dog information into a trial rests mainly on the dogs' training and certification. She certainly gave the judge enough information to make a decision! She included both the many hours of training and on-the-job experience. This detective had literally been on thousands of searches with his dogs.
It is also to be noted that she pointed out that Gerus had been trained under situations where a body had been discovered and removed. The dog had alerted on that site.
Burdick then asked for Gerus' records put into evidence. As with last time, Baez objected due to heresay and the judge went through them all. Perry accepted all the documents into evidence.
Burdick, in her final question, elicited the fact that Forgey is a certified dog trainer.
Baez got up and then asked Forgey if he knew what the dogs alerted to and asked him if he knew if his dog had a false alert on urine. Forgey had to go back through the logs to find out. He found an example where Gerus was slightly distracted by animal urine. He did not alert on it.
Baez also asked if Forgey knew what chemicals the dog alerts to. Forgey indicated he was not a chemist and couldn't answer that.
Baez took that to segue to "false alerts" as in the second visit to the yard. Baez then asked if he had training logs for false alerts in "real life" scenarios. Forgey explained that in real life, the dog is not in training and he can't know if there are false positive alerts.
Forgey also took the dog to the remains scene. He stated that the dog did not alert there, but that he had not taken the dog into the area near where the body was found.
Baez tried to go on further, but with one more objection as to relevance, he was finished.
When asked if he had more witnesses, Baez said that he had one who would also testify against Vass and he could testify during that portion.
Arpad Vass is a research scientist at Oak Ridge Laboratory. He gave a brief summary of his education.
He developed an interest in forensic anthropology while working for the department of microbiology. He worked with Dr. Bass, the founder of the Body Farm. He became interested in post-mortem intervals from a biochemical perspective. He earned his PhD in 1991.
He worked in that field for 10 years and published a number of articles on his research. He developed a number of methods to determine post-mortem interval which have been peer reviewed.
He became interested in the location of clandestine graves in about 2000. He felt he would be most productive in studying odor analysis (based on what cadaver dogs do).
They used four subjects and buried them at various depths in the soil and put a piping system around the body with a capture hood at the top to capture the decompositional gasses.
They would collect the gasses with a triple sorbent trap containing activated carbon. They were then taken to the lab and analyzed. These traps have been used for many decades.
They collected data from 2002-2006/7. New samples were taken at shorter to longer intervals as the bodies decomposed.
They studied how these chemicals "liberated" from one time to another.
He first published on these findings in 2004. It discussed the chemical compounds found. With the publication of that study, Vass continued to monitor the graves and in addition on individuals decomposing on the surface in anaerobic conditions.
They also collected the gases with the same traps. There were about six bodies involved. They sampled the gasses from "fresh" to almost skeletonized at intervals. Since these bodies decomposed more quickly, they collected the samples more often.
He also collected samples from a crematorium where the bodies had not been cremated.
There was also research from a Greek scientist whose name I did not catch. He referenced this research in a 2008 paper he published.
Both of his articles were submitted to the Journal of Forensic Sciences for peer review.
Jeff Ashton asked if there had been any disagreement with the material in his 2004 paper and the article was never sent back for any objections or revisions. The same was true for his 2008 paper.
He was given evidence in 2008 to test from this case. Yuri Melich contacted him to see if Vass could ascertain the source of the odor.
The sample was sent in a sealed paint container. Dr. Marcus Wise ran the initial test. Wise is an analytical chemist. Material was removed from the head space of the item and injected it into the GC-MS (gas chromatography mass spectrometer). There was a large peak of chloroform. Vass was surprised at the result. He had never seen chloroform in that amount in any sample he had ever seen.
They then decided to concentrate the sample to see what else they could find in the sample.
They took the carpet sample out of the can and put in a Teldar bag and heated it. They then drew out the sample and tested it.
From that test, they saw the major chloroform peak and another 51 or so compounds.
(At this point, we lost sound.)
When sound returned, Ashton was discussing squirrels. Vass got a squirrel and allowed it to decompose on a control piece of carpeting. It stained the carpet and there was bodily debris on it.
The squirrel smelled nothing at all like decomposition. It hardly had any smell at all.
Based on everything he found, he tried to used Laser-induced spectroscopy to use a non-destructive method to save the carpet piece.
Dr. Martin helped with these tests.
They also received a sample of a paper towel from Dr. Neil Haskell. They had a large amount of fly pupae and Haskell wanted to know what the substance was that attracted the flies.
He studied the stain and discovered it contained the components of adipocere (grave wax).
Based on the results from the paper towels, he decided to check the carpet. Again, he discovered a fatty acid (butyric acid) which is common in early stages of decomposition.
This information is backed up from information from his formerly peer-reviewed papers.
Going back to the chloroform, the levels were uncharacteristically high. It was the dominant peak. Chloroform is a product of decomposition, however the amount of chloroform could not be accounted for by decomposition. There was much more.
There was an explanation about the chloroform that went right over my head. However, it was a huge amount, like 10,000 the amount of the standard sample.
Ashton then asked Dr. Vass if he had smelled human decomposition. He said he had and had also smelled the decomposition of other animals he studied. Based on his experience, he said he can tell the difference between human decomposition an other smells, such as a skunk. He said that when you run over a skunk, you don't have to look at the skunk.
Ashton then asked if he had smelled garbage. Dr. Vass went through all the ill-smelling types of garbage he had smelled and none of it smelled like decomposition.
Then, when Vass opened the can, he detected the strong smell of human decomposition.
Jose Baez started out by telling Vass he is not a chemist. He also pointed out that Mark Wise is an analytical chemist and Dr. Martin is a physicist. Vass entitles himself a research scientist.
He then went through Vass' CV with him.
I'll spare you the details.
Baez accused Vass of being intentionally vague in not listing the type of PhD he has in one article. He pointed out that there are some sources such as Wikipedia that list him as a bio-chemist. (Mind you, Vass DID say he "did some" biochemistry.)
Baez then told Vass he REFUSED to turn over his data base. Ashton objected (the data base is proprietary in nature and does not belong to Vass).
After an objection, Baez then stated that the defense had not received the decompositional data database because it belongs to the sponsor of the research.
Vass said that his publications are taken from the data base and his conclusions were based on the chemicals he found. They were only based on compounds he used in his publications.
Baez was trying to get Vass to say that his results couldn't be verified unless they had the complete data base. Vass replied that the only verification needed was what was in the articles.
Much as he tried, repeating himself, Baez kept asking Vass that IF he wanted to verify his results, wouldn't he ask for the entire database and bench notes?
Baez then tried asking if Vass would want "partial disclosure" of information. Vass didn't understand this because there is a lot of information that may be relevant.
Vass finally agreed that if ALL the information to allow him to replicate the experiment was provided it, that "yes" "partial disclosure" was fine.
Baez then brought up a "sniffer" machine that wasn't used in the tests. Ashton objected and then stated that it went to financial issues. This machine, the Labrador, has not been validated.
Baez asked if the goal was to sell the device to LE was the end goal and he would get royalties from the patent.
I got very angry at this point. Baez tried to get Vass to say that being involved in a high profile case would earn him a lot of money if his Labrador machine were validated.
Vass said it was possible but the machine was not used on the case.
According to Baez, this scientist was going to make a fortune off of the machine.
When Jeff Ashton objected, Baez stated that this financial interest would go to his credibility. Judge Perry pointed out that it would, but that Baez needed to get back to the Frye issue, which is the science.
It sounds like he's trying to turn Vass into the inventor of the Sham-Wow. He spent all that time getting educated as a research scientist in order to get rich if he invents something. The fact is, most of the money would go to the maker. The royalties would be a drop in the bucket of Dr. Vass life. Perhaps Mr. Baez thinks about it from his own perspective.
Baez then set up his easel with paper and had Dr. Vass write stuff on it. What it was, we'll never really know since we couldn't see it. It seemed to be something about error rates. When Baez asked why it was written the way it was, Vass replied that he was "frazzled" by all of this.
Vass then said that an error rate does not apply to the comparison Baez gave him.
Baez asked if Vass if his articles used buried remains. Vass replied that the first one did. Baez asked if the soil would have an effect as to what gasses came out. Vass indicated that the soil could affect the flow of the gasses. In a burial situation, the gasses took 17 days to reach the surface.
The 2008 paper also included bodies on the surface. Baez asked if chloroform was detected in bodies on the surface. According to the 2008 paper, chloroform was not detected in surface cases.
Vass indicated that the issue was oxygen deprivation. In this case, he referred to the bodies laying on the surface being wrapped and anaerobic in nature. (Much like Caylee in the car.)
Baez tried to ask if only buried bodies would have chloroform. Vass pointed out that some of the bodies above ground were wrapped in body bags.
Baez then read from Vass 2008 paper that the top 30 compounds could be found anywhere. Vass said that was as individual compounds, not as a mixture which he deemed to demonstrate human decomposition.
Baez read sections from the article and Ashton objected because it was out of context. Baez had to read the entire section.
There were more questions that I missed. It got pretty complicated for non-scientific me.
Baez did try and get Vass tp say that the author of another paper "disclosed" all HIS compounds. Vass didn't agree with that.
One thing in all this testimony told me that Dr. Vass is a true academic. When he gave his answer, he added, "that's cool." That man is a scientist first.
Baez asked about the bag of garbage found in the trunk. Vass had no memory of even seeing pictures of it. He was sent a list of what was in the trunk. He said he looked at the list and said most were plastic and paper products, not a pile of rotting hot dogs.
There was a bit of confusion about Baez' stipulation about questioning the instruments used in the testing. Apparently, Jeff Ashton believed was going to do so.
Baez said that they were bench notes and problems they ran into during the testing.
Ashton went through the information in the stipulation which was part of the agreement for the State to drop the show cause motion.
Baez then tried to wiggle out of it. Baez then used terms such as coercion, forcing his hand to say that he doesn't understand what was said in open court.
Perry re-read the stipulation that he was only going to attack the results.
All of a sudden, Baez wanted to talk about a machine that wasn't working properly. Perry pointed out that Baez knew it at the time he executed the document.
Perry indicated that Baez was "waiting in ambush". Baez incorrectly said that Ashton was waiting in ambush. He said that Ashton took advantage of him!
Perry then made himself "abundantly clear" and said that both sides overly uses the term "contempt" and that he had only applied sanctions, not contempt. Only the State and Baez used the term contempt.
Perry also said it sounded like Baez was trying to rescind his agreement. Baez could have written it down and he and Perry might or might not have come to agreement.
Baez was in big trouble and tried to weasel out of it.
Perry went on to explain the Frye rules and that his problem with the machinery could come up in trial itself.
Ann Finnel came up and spoke in Baez' ear. Baez asked for a five minute recess.
After a short recess, Baez returned to the podium and said that he would "clearly reiterate" that he would not enter into agreement to rescind it.
He then continued asking questions of Dr. Vass. He asked if it was generally accepted scientific procedure to use the GC-MS to measure human decomposition.
Vass doesn't understand the question because the machine is scientifically accepted to measure the compounds. He finally answered yes.
Baez then asked for another laboratory that uses the machine to measure human decomposition. Vass then stated that all institutions use it and he would like to know if they do measure for human decomposition.
Baez then honed down the number of gasses to exclude gasoline. At the present time, Vass only used a smaller number. He also said that not all the 478 gasses he found are relevant.
Baez asked which compounds Vass found critical and Vass said there were the 30 in his report.
Baez then went after the 30 gasses and if Vass had them written as a protocol.
Ashton voiced the objection that Vass has stated that if all 30 gasses are found, there is human decomposition. Baez said he wanted to know the methodologies how he came to that conclusion.
Ashton pointed out that Dr. Vass had never implied that in his report. (He said that they were consistent with human decomposition.)
The judge allowed the question. He did indicate that the release of the compounds were cyclical and it was a very taphonomic issue. (At that point, I got lost.)
In this case seven of the thirty compounds were found and Baez had him list them.
Baez went on teaching Dr. Vass science. There was a disconnect between the two, for sure. What I found most interesting was that there were only trace amounts of carbon tetrachloride in the trash bags with higher levels in the carpet in the trunk.
I hate to say this, but this whole section of questioning sent me reeling back to my Jr. High days when my mother, who never studied algebra, attempted to instruct my algebra teacher in proper methodology.
At this point, Baez was trying to indicate to Vass that most of the chemicals found in the trunk overlapped with other items in the trunk.
Vass clearly didn't understand what Baez was trying to prove. By eliminating the chemicals found in the trash and junkyard car carpet, there would be no reason to say that he could say there was a possibility of a dead body having decomposed in the car.
It is my conclusion that Baez wouldn't allow him to differentiate between trace and higher than trace amounts.
This was a very painful series of questions because there was never a meeting of the minds as to what the results of the test meant.
Baez then questioned Vass about the paper towels. He referred to the fatty acids found and said that it could be that the individual chemicals would not mean there was a body in the car.
Vass pointed out that this particular combination would indicate it was adipocere or similar to adipocere.
Baez then tried to indicate that it could come from meat.
Vass also said that certain flies were attracted to it. Baez quickly pointed out that Vass wasn't an entomologist.
There was also marijuana found on the napkin. (THC)
Baez continued with the fatty acid found on the paper towels. Baez indicated that it would be consistent with smoking a joint and eating a hamburger.
All Vass would say that the composition of the fatty acids were consistent with adipocere.
There was a comment from Judge Perry that today's hearing would go to 5:30 and would continue next Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2.
Baez asked Dr. Vass if there was anyone in this country who could replicate his tests. Vass said that everything needed was in his articles. Baez then asked for a laboratory. Vass said it could be done in any lab with the correct equipment.
Then Baez asked if scientists "every day" do what he has done. Vass said the procedures were common and anyone could do it.
Then Baez asked if there was any other scientist who could do what he had done. Vass said that there were at least two people he knew of who could do what he did.
Baez then brought up the case of the Manson Ranch. Baez claimed it went to his methodologies. Judge Perry allowed the questions.
As the questioning continued, Jeff Ashton objected yet again that this testimony was not heading towards the Frye Hearing.
Vass pointed out that this was a totally different situation.
More questions were asked about the Manson Ranch and trash near the samples.
Baez kept pushing the trash, Vass kept putting it off pointing out the differences.
Baez question that "trash could give off false readings" elicited "I don't know how to answer that question" from Vass. (I call a super-over-simplification.)
Baez then mentioned fabric softener sheets that were in the trunk. Vass said that he didn't know but assumed there would be no chloroform in them because it was a carcinogen.
At this point Vass had his arms crossed and was looking at his watch. I think the hours of over-simplification were getting to him.
Baez started talking about air samples from the garage. Dr. Vass looked exhausted and frustrated.
Vass never received air samples from the garage or the Anthony home.
I'm not quite sure what is going on at this point!
Thankfully, Mr. Baez had no further questions and Mr. Ashton had nothing to say.
Baez stated that there were 3 more motions. Ashton asked about the root growth motion. Perry decided that at 8:30 AM April 1 the hearing will reconvene. Jeff Ashton pointed out that the rule of sequestration should still apply since there is still Dr. Logan to testify about both the cadaver dog and the air in the trunk issue. Should the defense decide to add an amended motion concerning root growth, it must be filed by March 29.
The defense wants to add two witnesses (mental health experts). The judge asked why they were added so late. Baez said it was in his motion. Judge Perry told him he had not received the motion yet.
Baez asked to approach about Danziger, but the judge made him speak in court. Baez stated that they had just received the information. Ann Finnel stated that they are for the penalty phase and also for the guilt phase. Their testimony goes to state of mind. Jeff Ashton pointed out he needed the reports.
Finnel pointed out it is not an insanity defense, but their opinions and recent conclusions are ongoing. Jeff Ashton wanted to know when he would get the results. He was not a happy camper about that.
Judge Perry said he had a problem with this because he would want to have her examined. They said it is not a mental health defense. Judge Perry said that it was curious if it went to diminished capacity. Finnell said that wasn't the issue. Ashton said he needed a copy of the report!
Finnel said they could have the report tomorrow and Ashton wanted to conduct depositions as soon as possible.
At that point, my feed went away and I do hope we had heard enough for one day!
Courtroom Gets Heated In Day 2 Of Casey Hearing
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