I am so happy that Dr. Vass was up yesterday. In spite of a zillion objections and a few million side bars, the good doctor managed to get his points across in a logical manner that the jury could follow. Don't count on Dr. Vass' testimony to stand alone, though. The prosecution has been sure to back up his assertions with other witness testimony. We've heard from numerous witnesses as to the odor in the car. I expect to hear from Gerardo Bloise and the cadaver dog witnesses today. I believed I guessed wrong yesterday because the prosecution had said on Saturday that they had Bloise in the wings to testify if Karen Lowe finished early. Now, I realize he was a "place holder" for Dr. Vass.
Bloise will be the trash man! He can testify to the odor when the bag was opened and how it smelled. He's already established his credibility on the ability to distinguish human decomposition from garbage. He will also testify to the EMPTY food containers.
Unfortunately, I have one of those "can't miss" medical appointments this afternoon. My plans are to post the morning session and go to my appointment. I'll review the testimony from the afternoon with some help from my friends and post an updated version of Day 12 when I finish.
We had a slow start today, there was a side bar to begin.
Judge Perry called for the first witness, who was Gerardo Bloise.
I got that one right!
Linda Drane Burdick immediately brought up the trash bag he had received from Awilda McBryde on July 16, 2008 at 11:06 PM. He removed the plastic bag and put it aside and did a visual inspection and photographed the items.
He described the picture shown on the screen. He remembered that the bag was a little wet. The handles were opened.
Once he photographed the bag, he inspected the interior of the bag. Then, he fully pulled the items out of the bag. He photographed them when they first came out of the bag.
He then placed the items on paper in the dry room. Some of the items were wet.
He said the bag smelled like regular trash and not like the interior of the car.
The items were in the dry room after 2 days and he placed them in the evidence locker after photographing them again. Bloise went through each item found in the bag, one at a time.
Interestingly, one item Baez objected to was a receipt from Fusian Ultra Lounge! The judge admitted it.
The state asked for the item to be admitted that was conditionally admitted yesterday. Baez explained that a witness in the chain of custody has yet to testify. The judge will wait.
As to other items, the defense had no objection.
Bloise made a written list of all the items and indicated that there were 37 items in the box. He placed each item in a separate enveloped before boxing it all.
Bloise read the complete list, along with their serial numbers!
All the drink cans were empty as was the Arm & Hammer laundry detergent. The crystal light bottle was empty. As Ms. Burdick read off the food items, she mentioned that they were all empty.
Jose Baez then did the cross examination.
Baez went over the fact that some of the trash was wet, some dry. It was dry after two days in the drying room.
Baez used his own photograph of the trash which was composed of two pictures.
Baez indicated that the two photographs and indicated that they looked different. Bloise testified that when he logged the evidence, it was dry. He had no idea that the trash would become a disputed item in the case and he didn't unintentionally destroy evidence.
Linda Burdick objected and was sustained. Jeff Ashton gave a firm nod on the word from the judge.
Bloise testified he preserved the evidence according to the protocols. Baez keeps trying to get him to say he altered the evidence.
Baez showed the paper towels. They were wet when put in the dry room and dried when he put them in a plastic bags. Baez put the fact that evidence being tested for DNA should not be put in a plastic bag.
Another objection sustained.
Bloise did his inspection and said there were no indications that there was anything on it that could be tested for DNA.
Perry is annoyed with Baez. When Burdick objected to something, Baez objected to the speaking objection and the judge just told Baez to go on.
Baez kept asking that Bloise didn't realize he was destroying evidence and the judge kept sustaining the objections.
Linda Burdick, on re-direct had Bloise explain the reasons for the protocols he followed.
If an item remains wet, it could become moldy. Burdick also pointed out he dried the carpet he took.
Bloise didn't remember if he put the napkins in a plastic bag because there were bug larvae on it.
Baez went on to mention that there were air samples taken of the garbage. Bloise did not know.
Baez kept asking about DNA evidence which could be collected and the objections were to the fact it was beyond Bloise’s area of expertise.
Jeff Ashton then recalled Arpad Vass to the stand.
Ashton told Vass that he made a mistake yesterday. He had Vass identify the correct can which he was sent.
For some reason, Baez wanted to object to Ashton explaining to the judge that he wanted to substitute the can.
Jose Baez then cross examined Vass. Naturally, he brought up that Vass had identified the wrong can yesterday. Jeff Ashton objected and they went to the bench.
After the bench conference broke up, there was a long silence as we watched Judge Perry wait for what would come next.
Baez pointed out to Vass that he mistakenly admitted the evidence and he attempted to tie that fact with his lack of experience with chain of custody since he works in a research lab.
For those of you who may not be aware, this is the first time Dr. Vass has ever been called as a witness in a trial. He, for sure is not a "professional" witness for hire!
After Dr. Vass' testimony, the prosecution asked for the morning break so they could gather the evidence for the next witness.
After the break, the jury returned to the courtroom and the next witness was called.
Dr. Michael Rickenbach is a forensic chemist examiner for the FBI. He has been with the FBI since 1996. He became a forensic chemist examiner in 1999. He has testified 12 to 15 times in Federal and State court.
Well, Baez can't complain he's not a chemist!
Rickenbach received items from the case in 2008. Prior to testifying, he identified the items he received. While most were in bags and boxes, we could see the spare tire cover and a metal can used to collect air samples.
Dr. Rickenbach was asked to examine the items for the presence of chloroform. He first examined them visually for stains and took samples for head space gas chromatography
The first item was a piece of the spare tire cover. He opened the can, observed material inside and took a cutting of a stain. He submitted it for testing with gas chromatography. When he opened the can, he noticed an odor.
Residues of chloroform were found on the sample (Q-22).
Next, was Q-44, another can. It was another piece of the spare tire cover. The results were the same as the previous specimen.
The next was Q-45 and the results were the same again.
The specimen Q-23 was the spare tire cover itself. He pointed to a fabric portion of the cover and again said that residues of chloroform were fount.
Q-24 was the left side of the trunk liner. A chemical consistent with chloroform was found there.
Only one of tests proved positive for chloroform.
Q-25, the right side of the trunk liner had the same results as Q-24.
Jeff Ashton then turned the witness over for examination by Jose Baez.
He gave his usual greeting and then wanted Rickenbach to go a little more into depth about the GC/MS instrument. He did so and stated that the ones they use are very sensitive. It can detect very small amounts of chemicals. There was also a second test which was similar to the first test but uses a different detector to identify the compounds.
Baez then had him define "residues" for him. They consist of solid portions that have lodged in the item. There were small amounts of chloroform.
Baez asked about chlorine. Rickenbach said he'd never tested for it. He asked the bathing suit questions but Ashton's objection was sustained.
He also testified that some cleaning products have small amounts of chloroform. Those products had small amounts consistent with what he had found.
Baez pulled out his easel and asked what a chromatogram was. (We saw those yesterday during Dr. Vass' testimony.
Baez had him step down and draw a sample chromatogram.
A chromatogram gives a qualitative analysis. Rickenbach said that you could tell relative amounts (as we saw with Dr. Vass yesterday).
He explained how he ran a positive control with a known amount. He found it was less than his positive control.
Baez made sure to have him mention that it was not the highest level he had seen in 20 years and it was not shockingly high. Then, Baez went on at length about every item tested and stressed that the chloroform found was at low levels.
When Baez asked if he had tested the steering wheel of the car, Jeff Ashton called for a side bar.
The objection was sustained. Baez asked Dr. Rickenbach if the levels he detected was the same as found in cleaning products. He said it was.
Ashton asked if he searched for other ingredients in cleaning products. The witness said he hadn’t.
He then got Rickenbach to agree that high and low were relative terms. He had never been asked to look for chloroform in solid form. He had looked for choloform in liquid form in product tampering studies.
Ashton is pointing out here, that Dr. Vass tested the air, and he tested it in solid form from a dry sample.
Ashton asked how the trunk liner was packed. The witness said it was inside a cardboard box. Rickenbach stated that the effect of such packaging would allow chloroform to leak out because it is so volatile. He was surprised he had any results at all.
Then they went into the details of the testing and Rickenbach said his standard was in parts per million. He also said his results were a very rough estimate.
They then went on to the specimens sealed in a can. (Those were the ones that registered positive for chloroform.) He prepared a rough percentage from the samples, he gave an estimate of 5% of the positive control for the specimen in the can. On the second, it was about .1% from the unsealed tire cover. The second sample from a sealed container had a rough percentage of 1% and from the other .2% unsealed container. He didn't make sure that each sample was example that was the same size, so it could explain the differences.
Rickenbach also said that the chloroform from the samples could have dispersed prior to being packaged.
Rickenbach had not tested air samples for chloroform.
Baez' objections kept getting overruled. He had said the questions were beyond the scope and misleading. Judge Perry repeated his reasons and overruled the objection.
Baez then came back for re-cross and asked if Rickenbach would want to give the sorts of figures, based on the amounts he used.
Baez asked if he wanted to testify accurately in a court of law. He did.
He asked a bunch of questions about the packaging and the witness said he could testify about the packaging of the items.
Baez kept harping that quantitative amounts given were speculation. The witness agreed. That closed Baez’ questioning.
Jeff Ashton asked if he could say that he could say that the levels were similar to the level in cleaning products, he meant only that both were detectable.
The witness was excused, subject to recall.
Next, we went on to the cadaver dogs.
Dep. Jason Forgey was called next. Jose Baez wanted to discuss something, but the judge said that the state would have to establish their foundation.
Forgey has been with the OCSO as a canine handler. He's worked with a dog since 2001. His present dog is a general service dog.
Forgey went though his extensive background and training to become a dog handler.
He received a dog when he began and started as a part-time Bloodhound handler with Garrett.
Garrett had to be put down after 11 months and he received a new Bloodhound, Ike. Years later, in 2004 or 2005, he gave Ike to another handler.
During that time, he had other dogs he was training. He received a German Shepherd, Bones, a human cadaver dog.
Forgey went into great detail into how he trained Bones to be a single-purpose dog. He did a wonderful job of explaining how the dog would indicate he was tracking an odor and how they would sit for a final trained alert.
In the imprinting stage, he used rags soaked in a cadaver chest. Later they used bones, placentas, chest cavity rags, blood, grave dirt, dirt from areas where cadavers were recovered and pseudo-scent for drowning victims. A tablet would be dropped into a body of water and the dog tracks the scent in the water.
When they tried to make Bones a full service dog, he didn't make it. He ended up with Sgt. Brewer of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.
His next dog was Gerus, a German Shepherd, who he trained to be the full-service dog that Orange County wanted. He was about 20 months old when he got him. He will be nine this October.
He trained Gerus during a 400 hour training course. He was then FDLE certified.
After that training, he went into training for cadaver dog work. Gerus was taught a "down" as a final alert. They used the same training aids as Bones. He also trained on adipocere, burnt bones, cremated remains, and body parts.
During training, they "proof" dogs off of other odors that would distract him. Gerus never received a bone to eat so he wouldn't eat them if he found them.
They trained him not to react to food items, other animal scents, gasoline, and many other things.
Linda Burdick then went on to cuing, where a dog reacts to the trainer and gives a false alert. They train the handlers to be sure to not let that happen.
He said that cuing mostly occurs with new handlers.
Gerus also was sent to a cadaver dog school independent of the OCSO with a search and rescue group. The person who ran the school, Andy Webman (sp?) is a noted trainer in the field. It was a week-long seminar.
Then, before Ms. Burdick was able to go on to another topic, Judge Perry stated they would stop for lunch. He hinted to the jury that it would be a special lunch and that they would be adjourned until 1:30 or until the jury came back! It must be the buffet he promised!
I had to leave at this point and our new contributor, Days Like This covered for the time I was AWOL. Thanks so much! Her portion is in the section between asterisks. I did some editing to make the article run smoother.
***After lunch, Casey was hiding behind a Mac Notebook while she did something with papers.
When the jury was returned, it was obvious that they had liked their special outing for lunch.
Dep. Jason Forgey was called back to the stand to continue his direct examination with Linda Burdick.
She showed him the certification and training logs for him and Gerus. The defense objected to them being entered into evidence as hearsay. Judge Perry asked Ms. Burdick to ask him some more questions to find out what the exhibit contained, which she did.
It looked as though Casey was trying to dig a tunnel through the table. Maybe she thought that she was a cadaver dog and was digging for clues. Then, she started to write. Whenever she looked up, her eyes were open VERY wide. Whatever she was doing was VERY important to her and she looked scared. It SEEMED like whatever she was doing was associated with this dog/cop certification stuff, but I couldn’t imagine what SHE would have to say about it except maybe: "Heel boy! Sit! Play dead! NOW DO IT FOR REAL! Good boy."
After going over really boring dog certification records, Baez STILL wanted to voir dire the records before they were put into evidence. He asked Forgey about the keeping of the records. Burdick asked him that over and over for individual records for the trial record because of his objection. But, no Baez had to ask him AGAIN. Burdick objected. I couldn't hear it, but it had to do with training logs and probably Baez’ inane questions about "real world" versus "in the field".
Baez tried to keep the records out and cited something. Judge Perry cited something else and admitted the certification and the logs into evidence.
Baez looked miffed.
Casey was still writing her cadaver dog manifesto. Woof!
The K-9 Training Log was put on the screen. Linda Burdick asked Forgey what the notes meant. He answered that it's the date, time, location, environment, quantities, search area, target locations, what the dog was doing, and if the target was found or not. That particular one was for a drainpipe/culvert, a trailer like a portable school trailer, a mound of gravel from a dump truck. There were indications if the dog found or missed a target. Gerus located ALL the targets.
Casey raised her eyebrows in a "surprise, surprise" manner. Any false alerts or missed alerts would be noted at the bottom of the form. This particular one had 8 targets and 8 finds.
The bottom half of the form had weather information, hot, cold, clear, rainy, humid, overcast, fog as well as wind direction, speed and temperature and the type of objects to be found.
Burdick showed photos to Baez, discussed it, then showed to Forgey. They were 2005-06 photos of the Forgey and Gerus. Baez smirked, but did not object. They were entered into evidence.
Burdick asked him about other training of the dog at another school. One was a basic cadaver dog course and the other was an advanced cadaver dog course. The more advanced one had more distractions. Some pictures would show what they had to go through to pick out stuff and some of the distractors. Burdick showed him a photo and asks at which school (2006) it was taken. Technical difficulties with glare ensued. The IT guy was called over. (Baez smirked and bobbled like a bobble-doll on the Road To Hana.)
Burdick told the judge that it was the canister lights on the ceiling that are causing the glare. The lights were dimmed. Casey made a run for it (just kidding). You could see Baez laughing and smirking, even in the dark. Then, he was shaking his head. Yeah, Baez, they were really making fools of themselves over glare, unlike when you knocked the poster on the easel onto the floor.
The photo was of the Gerus standing over a pile of clothes. Someone whispered that something didn't work. The dog was alerting. His hackles were high and proud, which is part of his alert that he's onto something. He was doing a head-snap just before his final trained alert.
The next photo was of the Bone Room in a haunted house. Two real bones were placed among a bunch of fake bones and the dog had to find only the real ones. There was an upright skeleton on the wall and piles of "bones" all over the place.
The next photo was the dog outside in 2005, in a horse training field. There was a training aid underneath a wooden box. The dog was off-lead and tail was up and fuzzy, nose is down (meaning he's onto something).
The next photo was Gerus laying down, making eye contact with Forgey, which is his "Final Trained Alert". He looked to Forgey for acknowledgment. Deputy Forged looked very proud of Gerus. (awwww!)
The next photo was of a vehicle search. Gerus was up on his hind legs looking into the windshield of a blue car. He was on a lead, but it was slack.
The next photo was of Gerus sniffing a white car. The officer was going to spin him because he thought he might have missed it. The evidence was under rear bumper.
In the next photo there was someone holding a femur. Next is an upper jaw bone. There were photos of Gerus and Forgey in a horse training field at seminar, Forgey by a culvert where it took some work for the dog to get to training aid, one of block searches. In the last one, Gerus was about to give a final training alert and the leash was slack and Forgey was still moving as is proper procedure.
The last photo was one of Gerus working odor. You could see lots of cement blocks (about 1'x1') and only one had a training item. Gerus went straight to it and you could tell that Dep. Forgey was clearly proud of him
When the Gerus was successful, he got a reward. Forgey would handle him, praise him and give him a ball to play with. That was his reward for a job well done.
Burdick asked if Gerus ever had any false alerts? He had one as well as a few misses. When asked to explain why that happened, Forgey said they had done15 searches which lasted all day.
In the Haunted house he missed two small pieces of napkin with a couple of drops of blood. But he found the 13 other items. They did 31 searches that day, the most he had ever done, and Gerus was tired. Forgey pointed out that he had included that information in the log. The dog was bored and tired.
At that point in the testimony, Baez looked like everything was beneath his educational level and he was being forced to sit in on the class anyway.
In the next 12 searches, Gerus had one false alert. Listed were the types of training aids used, bones, adipocere, etc.
Linda Burdick asked if dog would normally do 31 searches in a day. Forgey replied that they never do. They normally do only ONE search a day.
In addition, Forgey testified that Gerus did maintenance training twice a month and was also evaluated quarterly. Burdick asked about the 2005-2010 Gerus evaluations. Gerus was evaluated 21 times. Forgey had records for all the evaluations. He did not have information on misses or false alerts on the evaluations.
Ms. Burdick asked if Gerus had training on residual odor (body there, but then moved). Dep. Forgey said that the first time was September 5, 2005. A body was recovered next to a retention pond in high grass. The man had been deceased for about 7 days. They went back 10 days later after body was removed and worked from two directions because of wind change. Gerus found 2 bones that were missed when the remains were removed. Also, on April 4, 2006, there was a body of a transient who had been deceased for about 2 days. His body was located about 25 yards into woods with food around her. It was a BIG scent source (with food around her). Gerus gave no false alerts. Then, on July 22, 2007 there had been a body removed from side of road. About 10 hours after body removal they worked it. Gerus had no misses or false alerts.
Burdick then asked, how many cadaver canine calls he had since 2002. Dep. Forgey said there were over 200 in the “real world” and 498 in training. Casey looked a little worried at that point, but she wasn’t writing her manifesto now.
Burdick then asked if Gerus underwent any other training? Forgey said that they worked about 80 hours every two weeks. He said that a detective will call, sometimes on a cold case 10-30 years old, or a fresh case. Some were calls where he'd heard police dispatched or saw on the screen something where he thought they could help and goes out on his own initiative.
Forgey said he had no calls in 2005. In 2006, he had 6 calls. There was 1 alert and found something out of the 6 calls (not all incidents have anything to find). There were no false alerts. In. 2007, there were 9 real world searches, but no alerts or false alerts. In 2008, there were 71 cadaver searches with 3 alerts. The first one March 24, 2008 and it was a find. Gerus found a mandible with teeth attached.
After July 15, 2008 he had several call-outs for suspected grave sites or something suspicious as it related to Caylee Anthony. "Absolutely!" (heh). There were 100's of tips on the case, hence so many searches. Linda Burdick asked him if he saw anything to suggest disturbed earth, etc. Forgey testified that there were 2 cases where it looked like a recent, small shallow grave, an indentation in the earth, or where the grass is not the same. Gerus did not alert on either of them. They were dug by forensics. Both were animals.
The next question was if, in 2009 did Gerus have any cadaver searches? Forgey said there were 12, with one alert. That resulted in finding a man who had fallen out of a canoe and had not surfaced.
In 2010 Gerus had 11 searches and no alerts.
Gerus was retired. His last day of work was a call on September 24, 2010. Forgey said "He went down on a call." (I'm not sure what that means.)
Linda Burdick then asked Dep. Forgey if he and Gerus had ever been videotaped while working. Forgey testified that on May 29, 2006 there was an alert. A male called in and said he had heard that there was a deceased female shot and discarded in a pond. Searchers could not find anything, nor could a helicopter. The helicopter had switched crews and fueled up. Forgey volunteered his help. When it got dark, they told him they were leaving and warned him of a large alligator spotted in the area. Forgey asked them to stay to watch. A video of those events was introduced. The defense objected, there had been no prior disclosure of this. The lawyers were told to approach bench.
Judge Perry did some research on his computer, then went back to Burdick and Baez at the continuing sidebar concerning the aforementioned video.
That canine stuff was WAAAAY more interesting to Casey than any of the more scientific stuff.
Court was in recess until 2:55 PM.
Apparently Judge Perry ruled in favor of the prosecution because Ms. Burdick began to introduce the video.
The video was to be started at 15:45 since that's when Forgey and Gerus came into view. Baez had an issue (of course). He said this is not in accordance with Harris(?), something about a proper predicate. It was analogous to a motion to suppress in front of the jury. He wanted this done outside the presence of the jury.
I suspected he might ask for a mistrial because of Dep. Forgey’s testifying to the video in front of jury. Blah, blah, blah, jury, blah, improper, blah, irrelevant to THIS case, blah, blah. If we proceed, it makes it worse and it's a matter of law. So THERE!
Judge Perry said the jury would have to decide if this or any other canine is reliable. The reliability, dog training, certificates, handler's training and certification, experience, etc., all go to factors that will enable the TRIER OF FACT to decide if they will accept or reject this evidence. Perry said that the previous ruling stands. The jury was called back.
The 20-minute video was published to jury. Forgey said that he first appeared at 15:43 or 15:45. The video was taken from the helicopter with an infrared camera that works on heat source. Did Forgey KNOW where the body was? No.
Baez renewed all previous objections.
It was hard to see much. I could just barely make out the throat and tail of dog (lighter, I guess) and some of the deputy. WFTV unhelpfully showed it on a split screen. OOh, I could SEE the body -- it looked like one of those chalk outlines or a silhouette on infrared . The dog got excited and alerted. The body was in the water not far from the shore.
Dep. Forgey described the body of water as a previous sinkhole. It had steep sides. Gerus was jumping high to smell through the high grass. There was trash all over, as it was known as a transient area which was also wooded. All this was not apparent on the video since it was infrared.
Forgey went on to explain that the wind was out of NE blowing to SW. He parked at the SW part of the woods. Gerus winded the body from the woods. He dragged Forgey through woods and down an embankment. Gerus was DEFINITELY working odor and "bracketing" (jumping) to get to it. He was on tighter lead because no light meant that Forgey couldn't see water and might fall in. Gerus turned and made eye contact on alert.
Burdick asked about another cadaver dog, Bones. Prior to Bones' transfer to another county, did Forgey work him on real calls? Forgey stated that Bones had 4 real finds within 11 months (after attending training school). The first was a call Forgey heard on radio. Someone thought his house dog had brought home a human bone with teeth in it. Forgey called the unit and asked if they thought it was real. (Objection, hearsay) The prosecution said it was the circumstances of the find and concerned with the fact they needed to the predicate involving testimony about Bones when Forgey is no longer the handler.
The bone appeared to be real to officer on scene. Forgey said it was definitely a mandible with teeth and fillings. He interviewed the dog owner and asked where dog normally played in that wooded area. The man didn't know the dog went all over the place. Forgey gave a command to Bones to find human remains. The wind was out of north and they were south of it. Bones pulled him past some stuff and through a field to the body, which had been pulled apart by animals.
Bones also alerted on a buried body in a garage and another place. He found 3 bodies in 3 places on the same case!
Another case, they were asked if Bones could locate an item with blood on it (Bones WAS trained to find blood). Forgey didn't want to get too much into the sexual battery nature of the case. He said he and Gerus went to area the woman described and Bones located a rag that the suspect had wiped off some blood with.
Note about video introduced. Defense had the same objection. Perry overruled it. This testimony was entered into evidence.
Burdick wanted to approach the bench.
***After the side bar, Linda Burdick began questioning Forgey about his involvement in the Anthony case. He was called to assist on July 17, 2008. He responded to the forensic garage at 3:31 PM.
He used a collar as an indicator to tell him to search for human remains. If he has a harness, it's for other purposes.
Burdick pointed out that at that time, Forgey had 5 years experience in working with cadaver dogs. In that time, he'd learned to recognize the odor of human remains. He said that the odor smelled strongly of human remains.
Gerus was in the car when he went into the bay. He asked them to move the vehicle outside because there bio-hazards in the opposite bay. He asked them to put the car in the parking lot. This was done to put it in the open air and remove it from the other bio-hazards there.
He let the car sit a little while before the search. Prior to searching the subject car, he "swept" another car in front of it and then went to the subject vehicle.
The first sweep around the car, the doors were closed. Forgey described the sweep. Gerus indicated something on the first sweep and Forgey had someone open the door. He went into the front seat and indicated near the trunk. Forgey kept moving to avoid cuing the dog. Then, he opened the trunk and the dog jumped on the trunk with his paws. Then the dog was called down and he sat down in a final alert. Forgey also mentioned the smell in the trunk was powerful.
He went to the Hopespring residence the next day to check some areas of concern in the back yard. Forgey went to the yard first to inspect the areas of concern with the detectives.
Then, he brought Gerus into the back yard. He was commanded to find human remains. He was off-lead. He entered the yard by the garage and there was an area in the NE corner where there was an indentation in the soil. Gerus did not give an alert on that area.
They only areas where he gave trained alerts was near the playhouse and the play area. He removed Gerus from the yard. He suggested that Bones be called in to confirm the alert.
Forgey gave Bones' handler a general idea of what he wanted Bones to do. Bones then did a search and Forgey was present for it. The other handler conducted the search.
Finally, Jose Baez had a chance to cross-examine Dep. Forgey. He began by asking if it wasn't a big back yard, but said it was a matter of personal perception.
Forgey agreed that there was less grassy area than the size of the courtroom. He showed Forgey the picture and had him show the jury again where the dog alerted.
Baez asked about the residual odors Gerus was trained on. One was 7 hours and one was 10 hours old.
On re-cross, Baez asked about why the dog didn't alert in the yard the second day. Baez said, that a dead body in the yard was not in dispute! Burdick objected and Baez had to reword.
Forgey was asked if he had any finds on residual odor for a longer period of time, such as 30 days.
Baez had a hard time getting this question answered because he injected a lot of ideas into it. He did get Forgey to admit that there is the possibility of a false alert since nothing was there. However, there could be something there.
Baez referred Forgey back to the amount of time he had worked with the dogs. Baez said that there were ONLY two residual training sessions.
As to bringing the car outside due to bio-hazards, Baez tried to get Forgey to say he knew nothing about it. (However, he knew enough to bring the car out!)
Next, Baez went after the two cars. He asked why the search wasn't videotaped. He insinuated that by not taping, nobody could see if he had cued the dog. Forgey said that if he knew then what he knows now, he would have since he didn't normally videotape all his searches.
Baez fetched the handbook from Casey and pointed out it was written by the man who trained Gerus in Sarasota. He indicated that the handbook recommended to videotape searches.
Baez went on to the training Forgey mentioned earlier. He made it sound as if it was not very much. Baez knocked the fact that the work he did with Gerus was not blind testing. Gerus' "real world" work was blind testing!
After Forgey searched with Gerus, Bones did a search. Then CSI did some work in the yard and found nothing. When he came out the next day, after they scraped the surface of the area of the alert, he did not get an alert.
Baez brought up that there are no reports to LE or in his log about the lack of alert that day. Apparently, Forgey doesn't report on non-alerts.
Forgey said that on all the other searches without alerts, he had no way of knowing if evidence was later found at the place the dog missed, er... had no alert.
He was also called out to search for missing bones at the remains site. He did not find any. His dog gave no alerts at Suburban Drive. Forgey reminded Baez that he had already told him that the dog was alerting on those spots because he removed the dog to keep him from the area. He was looking for bones away from the area where animals had disarticulated them and moved them away.
Then, Baez went back to his deposition. Baez read a section which stated exactly what Forgey had just said! When Forgey went on to explain again, Baez told the witness there was no question! Judge Perry allowed him to finish.
When Baez asked if he was called out to find human remains, Forgey answers small bones. Baez repeated and went on to point out that he didn't give a trained alert anywhere on Suburban Drive. Forgey again reminded Baez he wanted to find what had been removed from the area. Baez indicated rather snarkily that that he wouldn't let his dog find human remains. He belittled the man unmercifully that the dog did not find those tiny bones!
Baez quit with that and worked away.
Linda Burdick pointed out that Forgey had gone out on 3000 calls in a real world scenario and very few were taped. The only reason they would have taped was because a helicopter was there. With the drowned man, it was a fluke that he had asked the man to stay.
She asked why he didn't write reports for no alert, he said that it was because he had nothing to say!
Then, she led him through a list of some of the items in the bag and said the dog would not alert to them. He reiterated that bio-hazards are stored in the other bay to be taken to the incinerator.
It seemed to me here that Baez would have WANTED a good, solid alert that second day as well.
The last set of questions left my head spinning. Baez jumped from the car to the yard, was Forgey speculating? It was one hot mess!
After a five minute break, there was a side bar which started without Jose Baez.
When the side bar broke up, the jury was returned to the courtroom and Judge Perry informed them the last witness was another canine witness. Rather than break up the testimony, he decided that court would end now! He also told them that their “Italian” and “Steak” were in the works!
See you tomorrow in court at 9 AM!