I don't know what Jose Baez was expecting, but I'm sure he was looking forward to getting his claws into Roy Kronk on cross examination where he could ask all the leading questions he wants. Now, to prove his bizarre case, he will have to call Kronk in his case in chief and ask questions in a much different manner. He will try to get the evidence from his ex-wife in. I doubt it will work since the events involved are far removed in time from the events in this case. If they allow her testimony in, the cross examination would totally discredit her as a witness due to her criminal background and position as a bitter ex-wife. The prosecution hasn't given him a chance to question George Anthony about the drowning scenario and I'm sure George will hold up on the stand when accused.
To keep it short here, the lack of any witnesses concerning the search is also damaging. Who can the defense call to testify as to the conditions in the area to help prove the challenge to Kronk? I am so looking forward to the defense case. The prosecution has out-foxed him big time!
For CaliGirl, I agree that Mr. Baez needs to learn to spell!
TRASH BAGS AND FLIES
At 9 sharp, everyone stood as Perry entered the courtroom. Everyone stood again as the jury was brought in.
The first prosecution witness for today was Dr. Neal Haskell, forensic entomologist. Haskell gave his education and experience in the field. He has qualified as an expert witness in 28 states and Canada. He has worked on cases all over the world and has done more than 40 cases in Florida. He's also a farmer and former rancher.
The court accepted him as an expert witness and Jeff Ashton had Haskell explain the nature of forensic entomology.
He was contacted in August-September of 2008 by Michael Vincent concerning entomological evidence found in the vehicle.
He received the samples Vincent identified yesterday. There were larvae and pupae from flies. After he looked at those, he was unable to identify the species unless he had an adult of the species. Vincent said that there were a lot of the evidence on towels that were in the car. Vincent then sent the paper towels. He also examined the trash bag and found a number of adults which allowed him to identify the specimens. Dr. Haskell reviewed the materials sent to him and identified them.
He found hundreds of tiny phorid flies and consulted with an expert in California. He sent him the identification of the adults. The species would be found regularly in human and animal decomposition. This was from his own knowledge as well.
Dr. Haskell described how he retrieved the specimens from the plastic bag and the paper towels. They were all dried and dead.
The flies had been attracted to a substance on the towels. The larvae were obviously feeding on the material which would be decompositional fluid. He had the material analyzed by Dr. Arpad Vass. Vass identified the substance as adipocere, the eventual breakdown of fluids that emanate from decomposing bodies.
Baez objected with the tie-in to Vass - overruled.
Ashton then asked Haskell if he had personal experience with this substance and he said he did.
He also testified that there was only one leg of a blow fly. It appeared to be a southern species. None of the flies were specific to decomposition.
Ashton then asked Haskell a hypothetical that if the body of a child had been stored in the trunk of a car, would these flies occur? Haskell agreed. He said different insects feed on bodies at different stages of decompositions. Blow flies are usually the first ones in if the body is accessible, within seconds if the temperature is high. When the blow flies are no longer interested, other groups "kick in". The phorid flies are among them. They are very tiny. They can get through cracks and very small openings, even cracks in concrete.
Ashton elicited from Haskell that there was little evidence of the earlier blow flies. However, the phorid flies came in as decomposition progressed. Haskell stated that he has found that trunks tend to exclude the blow flies if it is a well-made car. Wrapping a body in a plastic bag or two would also inhibit blow flies as well.
Based on the entomological evidence he found, he estimated the remains would not have been in the car for very long because of the heat of Florida at that time of year. It had to be out by the time the car was abandoned. He felt the body could have been in the car for 3 to 5 days. The significance of heat was that they are cold blooded creatures and their metabolism speeds up in the hot weather. Cold weather would inhibit the growth or kill the pupae.
Haskell was coming to Florida a few days after the body was found. He had planned to come down to examine the car on December 16. When the body was discovered, he kept to his plan, knowing he had time to examine any evidence. Until he arrived in Orlando, he was able to work on the case. He also kept in contact with the CSU to keep them working to get evidence he needed from the site.
Haskell also went to the ME's office and made collections there. He took a large number of specimens from the scene and the ME's office. He went through the way in which he studied the specimens, including the importance of chain of custody.
Haskell went on to give a list of all the types of flies he found. He found puperia which were consistent with extended post-mortem remains. (I will admit, the scientific names were beyond me!)
The presence of all the flies suggested, in the absence of the blow flies, the body was placed in the trunk immediately after death.
At the site Dr. Haskell found flies that showed that the body was placed in the area where it was found for many, many months. He believed the body was deposited there in June or July when the body was partially decomposed.
The findings at the scene and at the car tell a consistent story. Decomposition had begun in the trunk (lack of blow flies in the car) and that the body had to be placed in the location where it was finally found.
Jose Baez then did the cross examination.
Baez began with Haskell's initial contact with the case. It was through Dr. Vass, with whom he consults frequently. Baez pointed out that they were good friends, and Haskell said they went back 25 years to the Body Farm. Baez then tried to get out that Vass said he was a bio-chemist... objection/sustained.
Haskell's said that the suggestion that they were coffin flies came from his conversation with Dr. Vass, prior to his receiving the specimens.
Baez definitely got on Haskell’s wrong side with that discussion about Dr. Vass. I was obvious that Haskell has a great deal of respect for his scientific colleague and consults with him on a regular basis. He even had dinner at his home.
Baez then went to Dr. Haskell's report. The first items he received was from the trash. The flies were phorid flies which are gnat-like type flies, which look like fruit flies. Baez went on to get Haskell to say these flies are found in trash. Haskell corrected the term to garbage.
We then had another demonstration on Mr. Baez' hi-tech easel and wrinkly paper.
Haskell testified that he asked CSI Vincent to inspect the trunk again for more specimens since he needed the adult flies for identification. The search of the trunk turned up negative results.
Does anyone remember Simon Birch testifying that when he opened the trunk, flies flew out?
Then, Vincent looked at the paper toweling and found the high number of specimens, which he sent on to Haskell.
Baez then said that DNA can be grabbed from cells other than red blood cells. Haskell mentioned that DNA can be extracted from insects.
Baez then asked if the towels were sent out for DNA. Haskell said that he didn't, he sent them to Dr. Vass his "trusted" colleague. He got the information from Vass that it was adipocere. Baez wanted to know what tests he ran. Haskell said he trusted what Vass said.
Haskell seemed to get his hackles up at Baez when Baez used certain phrases with him such as "old colleague," he changed it to "trusted".
Haskell pointed out that blow flies would be found mainly in unprocessed meat when found around the house.
When a decomposingg body has blow flies, there are huge amounts of blow flies. Baez pointed out he only found a leg. Haskell agreed that it was not unusual to find blow flies in garbage.
When the car was vacuumed, Vincent sent him the filters, and Haskell found some phorid flies consistent with the species I can't spell!
Baez pointed out that the vacuum filters were only sent to Haskell three years later. When Baez indicated that the flies in the filters fell out of the bag, Haskell said that it was more likely that those flies were feeding on decomposition fluid in the stain in the trunk. Some never made it into the bag. The adults could have left the bag, not the pupae.
Baez asked if Haskell does PMI (post-mortem interval). Haskell said that he does that on most of his cases.
Baez pointed out that, if on July 16, 2008, when the car was impounded, he had gotten the entomological materials, he would have had enough information to determine PMI in this case.
Baez pointed out that he wasn't contacted until September, 2008.
Then, he moved back to the December examination of the crime scene.
Baez was told to stop interrupting the witness.
He said that this was the best processed scene he had seen in his career. He observed the siftings and the re-siftings.
We couldn't hear much of what Baez said at this point because he was away from the microphone, busy with his easel.
Baez then went on to the blow flies collected at the scene. Haskell said that he though he got most of his samples from the ME's office. After looking over his paperwork, he said that he did have specimens from the scene.
Again, Baez couldn't be heard.
One of Haskell's answers was that you could see maggot migration up to 100 yards away.
Baez tried to get Haskell to say that (couldn’t hear Baez) the body partially decomposed somewhere else? (Wish I could have heard the entire question since Baez kept going off-mike) the end of the question AND all of the other entomological evidence are late colonizers. Haskell agreed.
Baez asked Haskell if his conclusions came from the good processing of the crime scene.
Was Baez trying hard to indicate the body decomposed with Roy Kronk?
Baez then asked if water or intentionally washing with water would get rid of the evidence... objection/sustained (TWICE).
Baez then mentioned if the body had been submerged at the site, the blow flies would have been washed away. Haskell agreed.
Baez went off-microphone again and it was mumble, mumble, mumble.... if he insists on going low-tech for the trial, he should be forced to wear a body mike!
Baez asked how much Haskell had been paid. He said $22,000 to 23,000. Haskell mentioned that he hadn't been paid for his deposition by Baez! Haskell charges $400 and hour for testimony. His final bill should be in the terms of $30,000-$40,000. Haskell said he hadn't added it up yet.
With that Baez was done with Haskell.
Jeff Ashton asked Baez to leave his easel up and flipped back to the beginning.
Ashton asked the difference between trash and garbage. Haskell said garbage was primarily decomposing organic matter. Trash is any non-organic stuff one throws out. The distinction is significant here because the insects he is dealing with do not go to empty boxes or empty trash cans.
Haskell said there was no food in the bag. Most of the phorids he found were on the paper towels eating the adipocere. Also, some of the specimens could have been picked up when the fluids were mopped up with the paper towels.
Ashton then brought out the unusual lack of blow flies in the trunk. If the body had been decomposing elsewhere, they could have been transferred to the car, and they weren't? Haskell agreed.
Baez came up on re-cross.
He mentioned Haskell wasn't present when they collected the bag. He didn't know if it was soaking wet with organic material. Haskell said he didn't know.
Baez searched through and found the double picture he likes to use to show the trash and showed it to Haskell. He then pointed out he did not inspect the trash before it was dried. Baez then asked a question off mike I couldn't hear but Haskell answered he didn't know.
Haskell never tested the seal on the car to see how hard it would be for blow flies to get in.
Jeff Ashton grabbed Baez’ picture and asked Haskell if he saw any organic material there and Haskell said no. (At that point you could tell Ashton was steaming mad at Baez and his questions.) Then, Ashton sat down and Baez got up to ask again if he saw the trash when it was in a pile and Haskell said he hadn’t. With that, Baez was finished with the witness.
Thank goodness, the judge called for a decent break. We all needed it!
Linda Burdick announced that the next witness would be Jennifer Welch. She had done the initial photography of the scene and had testified earlier in the week.
She now testified that she was on the scene for 10 days and it was her responsibility to phonograph what was collected. There were about 50 people on the scene. She also explained how the search was conducted. They set up search lanes, like a grid. As someone found something, she photographed it.
She described the dense vegetation at the scene. It was difficult to walk on the surface because of all the roots of various sizes. In order to clear the scene, they used a variety of tools, including machetes. She was shown a picture of palmetto trunks with an evidence flag. They would have cleared to the base line they set up and they had cleared 7-4 inches. The flag annotated a bone which was seen in the next picture shown. She collected the bone and documents the depth at which she found the bone. There was a picture shown of the bone.
Welch collected 943 items at the scene, which included trash and pieces of black trash bag. He also collected a piece of duct tape near where the skull was collected. Ms. Burdick had Ms. Welch identify the of duct tape which Ms. Welch used plastic gloves to handle. The imprint on the duct tape was that of the famous Henkel duct tape.
CSI Welch also collected lettering she had found at the scene. They spelled "in packages".
Jose Baez then did cross.
He started with a photograph of the street looking into the woods. She didn't know the distance from the street to the weeds. She guessed it was about 10 feet. Then, Baez asked how far from the street the skull was found. She had to refer to a report written by another CSI, the skull was about 19'8'' from the street. Baez then asked her to hold a tape measure to demonstrate the distance. CSI Welch pointed out that the distance he demonstrated was covered in vegetation.
The piece of duct tape was a distance from the skull, but she didn't have the exact distance. (She wasn't in charge of measuring everything.)
Baez asked if the duct tape had the same insignia as the duct tape found on the skull. Welch said it did. He then pointed out stones that were close to the remains. She said they could be consistent with pavers.
With that, Baez was finished.
Ms. Burdick had no re-direct and the witness was excused.
To prepare for the next witness, the court took a brief recess.
The prosecution then called Ronald Murdock. He is a forensic supervisor at the OCSO. He responds to major crimes to see everything that needs to be done gets done.
He responded to the crime scene on December 12, 2008 and assisted with clearing debris, getting supplies, and diagraming the area. He used a Total Station which gathers the data to map the crime scene. He worked with Dr. Schultz to identify areas where there were a lot of bones located near each other. He also documented other evidence at the scene, such as the duct tape that was found.
The Total Station is on his laptop and allows him to print out the screens as he testifies.
The first was with the bones in the diagram. These pictures don't show up well on TV, so we pretty much had to listen.
Murdock stated that the main area where the skull was found said that the remains were 19 feet from the south edge of Suburban Drive. They then zoomed in more closely and gave the distances of various items found at the scene. For example, D1 was duct tape with Henkel logo. D2 and D3 had no markings. (D= Duct Tape).
CSI Murdock then supplied his materials to a surveying company.
At that point, Ms. Burdick went on to have Murdock identify items he had identified during his participation in the serving of the search warrant at the Anthony home on Hopespring Drive, December 11, 2008.
He was shown a picture of the shed with the gas cans. Murdock then identified the gas can in the courtroom.
As Ms. Burdick attempted to admit a photograph of the heart-shaped stickers from Casey's bedroom, Jose Baez asked for a bench conference. (As testimony went on after the bench conference, Ms. Burdick didn’t admit the pictures. It seemed she needed to establish a foundation.)
When the side bar was over, Ms. Burdick switched to another photograph. It was a picture of Casey Anthony's bedroom. He asked to review the photographs that were taken the night of December 11. After doing that, CSI Murdock identified the room (the furniture had been rearranged since the picture was taken). Burdick then showed him another photograph of the room with the furniture rearranged.
Baez objected to the picture because Casey hadn't lived in the room for 6 to 7 months. It was overruled.
Ms. Burdick then asked if the stickers were photographed that night and Murdock said they were taken on December 12, 2008 during the next search. (I suppose the stickers will have to wait.)
CSI Murdock then identified a picture of Caylee Anthony's room. Murdock then testified to the items of evidence which were taken from that room. There was Winnie the Pooh bedding.
Murdock went on to identify items seized from the garage. The items in the bags were taken out and photographed. Murdock identified the square version of the laundry bag found at the crime scene. He also identified garbage bags taken from the home. When it came time to identify the bag, the tag was missing, but Murdock identified it, so it came into evidence. Next, we were on to more garbage bags, a garbage bag with yellow handles, another garbage bag with yellow handles, another one, and another two. The laundry bag was packaged in yet another garbage bag.
With that, we were finished with the identifying of the evidence and Jose Baez stood to cross.
Baez immediately went back to the picture of the Henkel duct tape outside of area A. Baez wanted to know how far away it was from the skull. Murdock had to get his computer out and check. After checking, he testified that the otherpiece of duct tape was located 6.27 feet from the skull.
Baez said that when they executed the search warrant, he knew he was looking for a special brand of duct tape. They never found that type of tape in the garage. It wasn't even seen in use around the house. There was no Henkel duct tape found in the yard or in the sheds. The only piece found was the one on the gas can.
At the time of the search, there was a lock on the shed, but CSI Murdock did not know how it was opened.
I can't believe the detail Baez went to with this guy about not finding the duct tape!
Ms. Burdick had no redirect, thankfully.
The next witness was Gerald Johnston. He owns a land surveying firm. He was the person who created the topological map of the crime scene and animation video in December 2008.
The video was published to the jury and then Mr. Johnston explained it to the jury as it was paused at certain points. The purple markers represented where the bones were located.
Casey carefully avoided looking at this video. I have to wonder what was so bad about this?
Jose Baez had no questions and Mr. Johnston was excused.
Linda Burdick made a slash action across her neck to let the judge know that she was finished for the day. Judge Perry instructed the jury and dismissed them until Monday morning at 9 AM.
See you all in court Monday at 9!