Remembering Caylee Marie
June 16, 2008. How many times will the defense use the mention of this date to point out the sad fact that this is the third anniversary of the death of Caylee Marie Anthony? Will they try and use it to elicit sympathy for a "grieving" mother? Will Casey appear all in black and wear a weepy face all day? If that happens, the jury will surely remember the pictures of Casey in the blue dress, partying away. They will remember she was busy getting a tattoo in a place she cannot see. If, indeed, it were a memorial tattoo, Casey placed it where she could never have to face it every day. She could forget the tattoo, just like she forgot her own daughter.
Casey was in the courtroom and Judge Perry took the bench at 8:59 AM.
The defense was ready to proceed. The jury returned to the courtroom.
Gerardo Bloise was the first witness called by the defense.
CSI Bloise was asked by Jose Baez about his inspection of a vehicle. He asked if Wednesday, July 23rd as the first time he inspected the vehicle of Tony Lazzaro.
He inspected the vehicle, interior and exterior. With an alternate light source found a stain was negative for blood. Bloise did not place the car on the lift.
He did not collect any items of evidentiary value from the car.
So far, Baez was objected to for leading questions/sustained.
On August 6, 2008, CSI Bloise executed a search warrant at the Anthony home. his assignment was to check the bedroom belonging to Casey to check for clothing and inspect with alternate source lighting. They also checked the living room, and the car. He just did a visual inspection of the master bathroom.
He went further in Casey's bedroom. Baez had him identify a picture of Casey's bedroom. Since the state had no objection to the other pictures, they were all marked and entered evidence. Baez then published the pictures to the jury. Bloise briefly described the picture, with emphasis on the pictures on the door.
The goal, in looking at the clothing was to identify stains with an alternate light source. Some of the pieces of clothing came from the closet. He said he did a thorough job inspecting the room.
Bloise then identified an item on which he found a suspected stain. They were of Zinc pants and they had no stain. These were the pants Casey was wearing on June 16, 2008. When he did find a stain, he photographed the clothing item and sent them to the FBI LAB.
After inspecting the clothing, he packaged the items and sent them to the FBI lab. He wore a lab suit and gloves with a hair net. He didn't need to wear booties because they were examined in the lab. He did not speak because he was alone. Alina Burroughs was with him, but not in the forensic lab where he was alone.
Burroughs and Yuri Melich were with him at the Anthony home, and Melich spent time in the room with him. That was the extent of his role in the search warrant.
Baez then had Bloise go into detail about how he sent items to the FBI lab. He explained how the items were protected.
With that, Baez was finished.
Linda Burdick did the cross examination. She pointed out that the scope of the search warrant was for Ms. Anthony's clothes only. The pants Casey wore on June 16, 2008 had been washed by Cindy Anthony.
She also asked if he smelled decomposition in Tony Lazzaro's vehicle. He said he didn't.
Then, Jose Baez asked one question on re-direct. He asked if the Lazzaro vehicle had a bag of trash in it for three months. Bloise said it didn't.
The next defense witness was Heather Seubert, the Unit Chief of the Fire Arms Tool Marks unit with the FBI.
In 2008, she was one of the forensic supervisors of the DNA unit at the FBI lab. She also gave her educational background and job history. Baez also had her describe her background in serology.
The witness was accepted as an expert witness in DNA and serology.
Initially, she was the individual assigned to the DNA analysis in this case. She explained how evidence is marked, Q is evidence that is questioned, a K specimen is a known sample.
She was given the following items from the car.
Jeff Ashton objected asking the purpose of the questioning in terms of admitted evidence. We had our first side bar of the day.
The jury was sent out until 10:10 (about 20 minutes). Judge Perry was seen removing his robe as he entered his chambers.
Apparently the break was so that John Ashton could help Jose Baez get the actual pieces of evidence together to speed the questioning along.
Q-13 & 14 Were swabs from the spare tire cover.
Uh-oh! The wascaly weasel (for FRG) is back out!
- Q-13 & Q-14 negative for presence of blood.
- Q-23 (Piece of spare tire cover) negative for blood. Brown and yellowish stains were tested and were negative for the presence of blood.
- Q-24 (Left side of trunk liner) brown and yellow areas were negative for blood.
- Q-25 (Right side of trunk liner) brown and yellow areas were negative for blood.
After being tested for blood, the swabs are not retained.
- Q-23-25 were processed for DNA typing and the tests were negative.
- Q-33-43. These items were the clothing items taken from Casey Anthony's room.
- Q-33 (dark pants) no biological stains observed, no stains noticed.
- Q-34 (pants) negative for blood
- Q-35 (blue jeans) no biological stains observed,
- Q-36 (skirt) negative for blood
- Q-37 (skirt) negative for blood
- Q-38 (skirt) negative for blood
- Q-39 (shirt) negative for blood
- Q-40 (shirt) negative for blood
- Q-41 (shirt) no biological stains
- Q-42 (shirt) no biological stains
- Q-43 (shirt) no biological stains
- Q-44 (piece of spare tire cover) negative for blood
- Q-45 (piece of spare tire cover)
- negative for blood
- Q-44 and Q-45 samples were combined and tested for DNA. There was no DNA found.
Q-46 was negative for the presence of blood. There was no DNA profile.
The expert was allowed to discuss touch DNA testing.
Are you all getting the idea that this is only going to what wasn't found? Just because there is no DNA on the shovel, there is the fact that Casey did borrow it.
Baez then went on to her December 16, 2008 report.
When Jose Baez questioned Ms. Seubert further, Jeff Ashton again objected. He cited relevance as the reason for the second time. The first time, Judge Perry overruled the objection and the brief explanation of touch DNA was allowed.
The second objection went to any further discussion and led to a bench conference.
Ashton's objection was overruled and we got a lesson at the easel. Luckily, Baez did put on a body mike!
We went on to a lengthy discussion of low copy DNA. (enough said)
As I listened to InSession during the latest bench conference, Mike Brooks said that Baez was going to attempt to prove that if Caylee had been in the trunk, there would have been some DNA in there. Likewise, the defense could try to discredit Brian Burner's testimony that Casey borrowed the shovel.
The bench conference broke up and the judge again had to send the jury out so that they could discuss a "brief legal matter" out of their presence.
Jose Baez then made a proffer. He asked her to give the peak, there was an X for a female.
Jeff Ashton's question was that there was not enough information to say if a male or a female was profiled there because the levels were so low.
Baez said that he didn't want to ask if a male or a female used it.
Jeff Ashton asked the relevance of it? Baez responded that there was DNA on the shovel!
I say, so what? Shovels get used by people!
Baez said that the shovel was a relevant piece of evidence.
Jeff Ashton was asked to be seated to calm down.
When he next spoke, it was to the fact that the sample was below scientific levels.
Judge Perry asked the witness what the result meant. She said that the peak was consistent with an X at a certain locus. It potentially could be from a female, or a male because of the low level. (remember, females XX, males XY)
There was no Y peak and she could draw no conclusions about it.
Baez was allowed to ask the question and Mr. Ashton could clear it up on cross.
The jury was returned.
Baez then recapped the testimony about thresholds. Going back to the shovel, she had pointed out that one reached the 50 RFU level, below the limit for a report with scientific certainty.
Ashton objected (leading question/sustained) and the witness essentially said what Baez said.
Baez then moved on to her March 19, 2009 report. While Ms. Seubert hunted for the report, Jeff Ashton requested a side bar. When the sidebar broke up, Baez addressed the March 19, 2009 report.
Q-62-64 (duct tape from ME's office)
She examined the three pieces. First, the top side of the tape was swabbed. She described the Henkel logo on the tape. The swab from the tape generated a DNA result below the threshold of FBI protocol. On the top, the result was at 6 of 9 locations tested. The expert was invited to the easel to write out the locations.
Gentle readers, I will spare you the explanation of the DNA discussion. Most of us really want to know what was discovered on the duct tape!
The result she had on the non-sticky top of the tape was a profile (which she drew on the chart). She explained that it can take one marker to exclude a person. Casey Anthony was excluded. Caylee was excluded as well. She used all of the known samples submitted from other family members as well. They were all excluded.
It turned out that the partial profile was matched to one of the female examiners in the unit.
Baez then asked if one contaminated the sample, could the DNA overwrite other DNA.
Seubert said that it could shadow or hide another low level profile. She would have expected to see a mixture if there were two low-level profiles.
Baez kept asking the question in different ways, but Ms. Seubert would not agree to that. When asked if it could happen, she answered that it was possible.
The DNA unit was the last to process the tape. Baez asked her if that was a common process. She couldn't answer. Baez said that the handling by others before DNA testing made the possibility of contaminating more likely. She said it was possible. The Evidence Plan Unit makes the decisions about how the item passes through the lab.
The case information said that the tape had been outside and wet at times. Seibert testofoed tjat the elements can degrade DNA.
They decided to swab the tape to see if there might be DNA on it. She said that it is possible but that there would be several factors involved which would factor into whether or not you could get a DNA profile from something after being under water.
Baez went on with more questions about when one would expect a DNA sample. It started to sound like Charley Brown listening to his teacher!
Jeff Ashton asked for a brief sidebar.
When they returned, Baez re-asked the question of which was the better place to get DNA from duct tape. Ms. Seubert said it would be the sticky side which was next to the skin. When she tested the sticky side, the results were inconclusive.
There was a peak detected at the D3 Loci. It was a 17. Caylee Anthony and Casey Anthony were excluded.
July 24, 2009, Ms. Seubert made yet another report.
She received Q-89 (the child's shorts). There was no blood or semen on the shorts.
Q-81 (item of clothing, pieces of the Big Trouble T-shirt) There was no blood on that item. The preliminary test was possible but there wasn't enough to test.
It was continued on for DNA typing. There was no DNA profile.
- Q-82 (blanket) there was a possible indication for blood, and there was no DNA profile found. It also tested negative for semen.
- Q-84 (laundry bag) Test was positive for the presence of blood, but not enough sample was available for testing. No DNA was found.
- Q-103 (blanket) was positive for possible presence of blood and negative for semen.
Jeff Ashton told Baez that Q-103 was not introduced into testimony and not related. The judge struck the testimony.
Baez wanted to go on to Q-244 (doll). There was a stipulation that the doll came from the child's car seat in the Pontiac Sunfire. The doll testing was negative. (It had been cleaned/Febreezed by Cindy Anthony.)
The final report for the morning was from December 16, 2008.
Baez asked if she was given the DNA profiles of Lee, Cindy, and George Anthony. Ms. Seubert testified that they had been submitted to the lab.
Baez then asked if she had done a paternity test for Lee Anthony.
There was an objection and a side bar.
Almost simultaneously, the Judge Perry called for the lunch break and sent the jury out.
An angry Jeff Ashton stated that Jose Baez was well aware that the FBI lab was not asked to do DNA testing for parentage.
Baez responded that he had two good-faith answers. It was tested to see if Caylee was the potential offspring of Lee Anthony. This witness assured him that they did do the testing and sent the results out to another lab. Baez said that Lee Anthony was excluded as Caylee's father.
Ashton asked Ms. Seubert if she was ever asked to do a paternity test for Lee Anthony.
She read the conversation with Nick Savage. The lab said they could do it but the statistical analysis would have to be sent out to another company for statistical analysis.
The name, Lee Anthony never came up in the record. Ashton also pointed out that both Lee and George were excluded and Baez had no good faith reason for asking the question.
Ms. Seubert said she had a second conversation with Savage. The FBI lab had decided that Lee was ruled out and the samples were not sent out for statistical analysis.
Ashton then questioned the relevance to suggest to the jury implications other that the straight-up question as to whether Lee was excluded.
Judge Perry explained that you can ask about the results. He wouldn't want to speculate as to what Baez' question suggested. He also gave him some case law.
Obviously, the Judge didn't believe that Baez had a good faith basis for asking the question.
Of course, I remember from Baez' opening that he stated that Lee never went as far as his father and then went on to excoriate George. Later he came back and said the situation was so bad, the FBI tested Lee for paternity.
Judge Perry said he would consider striking the question Baez asked over lunch.
Court came back to order at 1:37.
Judge Perry asked Baez if he knew what his next question was going to be.
Mr. Ashton had an objection to the question as to the relevance of the question.
Baez reworded his question to ask if she had done a paternity test on Lee Anthony thereby leaving out who asked.
The jury was called in and Jose Baez was on his way again.
Ms. Seubert, referring to a report on December 16, 2008, did not address the question right away, but, finally, the question was answered, Lee Anthony was not Caylee’s father.
Finally, Baez moved on to more in the same report.
Jose Baez asked as to what Q-47 was. It was the car seat from the Pontiac. There was no presence of blood.
Q-48 (Steering wheel cover from the Pontiac Sunfire) There were no biological stains. Q55 and Q66 consisted of debris from the spare tire well and a swab from the tire wheel well.
Jose Baez was finished with the witness.
Jeff Ashton started with the testing of the swabs of the spare tire cover. Ms. Seubert explained that the phenolthelene test reacts with the heme portion of the blood when it is present. It is only found in intact red blood cell, but can be found if still attached to the.
He asked if the tests react to other substances in the body, like fat. Ms. Seubert said that it would be possible if there were intact blood cells within it. All her test could say that there were red blood cells in those items.
Ashton asked if there could have been other decompositional fluids there and she said there could have been.
Next, Ashton asked what happened when cells decompose. Seubert said that the DNA would diminish with time. For DNA testing, she would have to have intact strands of DNA which had not decomposed.
Ashton then went to the easel and indicated the 50 RFU. It is the first level recognized as a peak in DNA testing. The 55 peak, was inconclusive as to the sex chrosome. There was no information she could put weight to.
Ashton then brought up the single aliel at 17.
Before the answer above could be given, there was yet another bench conference. This one brought Ashton, Baez, and Judge Perry to the court reporters desk to check what was already said.
When it was all over, Jose Baez asked one more question about the 17 aliel on the sticky side of the duct tape. Ms. Seubert attempted to eliminate other individuals the same way she did before. There was no threshold, but there was one person who did have a 16,17.
Mr. Ashton then continued. He said that the results were inconclusive, because you can drop out aliels. Ashton also pointed out that George Anthony was excluded.
Ashton then spoke about all the blood that didn’t show up in her tests. Ashton asked her if the absence of blood could be because a method of killing someone without bloodshed would produce no blood evidence. Seubert agreed.
As to the tape, Ashton asked if she was involved in the talk about the order of the examination of the duct tape; she said that she was.
Ashton pointed out that it would be difficult to say that DNA would survive 6 months of exposure to the elements in a swampy area.
Mr. Baez objcted and there was a side bar.
Unable to ask his last question, Ashton then asked what description of the conditions where the evidence came from was sent to her. She was told there would be water and it was a swampy area. This time, the heat and humidity were included.
Ms. Seubert indicated that the DNA would degrade. The same would happen with the other items at the scene.
Then, Ashton brought up that the DNA samples used for Caylee were a toothbrush and powder from the tibia. For the paternity test she generated the DNA types for Casey and Lee and there was no match for paternity.
All she knew is that the stain in the car was not blood. The only DNA from the scene is explainable as coming from someone in the lab.
With that, Aston was finished.
Baez then did re-direct.
He brought up decomposition in the trunk and how cells break down, the DNA is lost. Baez wanted to know how long that would take. Seubert pointed out that as we decompose, the ability to detect DNA is diminished. Baez then asked if it was at the latter stages that decomposition occurred.
Seuburt said it would depend on environmental issues. All she could say was that she got no DNA from the trunk.
Baez asked if there was the possibility that blood could leak out onto the trunk liner from the decompositional process? She responded that if the body were placed there, and not contained in a bag, it would leak. Baez got her to admit that if there was a hole in the bag, it could leak into the trunk.
Baez asked more and more questions, some of them leading, some not and there was nothing new to be learned for a while. He finally gave up.
Jeff Ashton questioned the witness again and asked if it is hot or wet, even blood would decompose. The witness agreed.
There were thankfully no more questions and the witness was excused.
When Ms. Seubert left, the Judge Perry called for a 20 minute break.
I was wondering if the jury would have the urge to run their faces under ice water to wake up!
When court reconvened, Jose Baez called, after a long consultation with Linda Burdick, his third witness for the day.
Robin Maynard was next on the stand. In 2008, she was a CSI with the OCSO. She found the heart-shaped sticker. Baez showed a picture of 313 to the jury. He asked her what she did when she found it and how she processed it.
Since the evidence came through sifting buckets of material collected, a map couldn't be made, They would have the searchers name and the lane number. She would photograph it, and record the information from the bucket. The item was from lane 6, about 45 fee west of the base line.
He asked CSI Maynard to show the jury where, on a grid, where the sticker was found. The area was general and not to scale.
Baez asked if any bones were found in lane 6. She said there was.
Linda Burdick had no cross.
Baez then called another forensic specialist from the OCSO, Ronald Murdock.
He was the person who did the mapping. Baez asked him to tell how far from the area where the skull was found that the heart sticker was found. Murdock said it was approximately 30 feet, based on the middle of the lane.
Baez tried to get him to say how far it was from the two pieces of duct tape, but Linda Burdick pointed out that it was inaccurate.
Linda Burdick had no questions.
Next up was CSI Jennifer Welch. Ms. Welch testified to a number of pictures entered into evidence by the defense.
Ms. Welch testified that there was a great deal of disposable waste left at the scene. A lot of the items were collected. Baez asked if there came a point where they stopped collecting trash. She didn't remember, but that it was large stuff.
Baez then asked her to identify pictures of trash collected. They were miscellaneous items collected in lane 4. They were not sent for tested. He showed items from lane 1 which she identified. They were not sent for testing. The same happened with trash from lane 3. These went on and on.
Here comes the sloppy police work! Hundreds of items were not sent for testing! They only collected bones and items near the bags and the skull!
Linda Burdick asked Welch one question, and one question only. Was an area considered to be a TRASH DUMP? Welsh agreed and she was excused.
Next, Baez called Lorie Gottesman, a Supervisory Document Examiner at the FBI since 1992. She gave a description of her job and her professional background.
She was admitted as an expert witness in the field of document examination. She received the three pieces of duct tape, Q-62, 63, and 64 and was asked if she could detect a heart-shaped sticker or sticker residue with a special instrument. After much explanation using sample documents, she testified that she could not find the outline or residue of the sticker.
During her examination of the duct tape, it was found out that it was her DNA on the tape. Since she wore gloves and din't sneeze on it, she couldn't figure out how her DNA got there.
She also received other items to test. Referring to her report April 2, 200?, she examined a number of pieces of plastic and was asked to give an overall assessment and to compare some of the pieces to others.
She was unable to match any of the bags at the scene to those found at Suburban Drive.
Jeff Ashton crossed the witness.
As to the sticker residue, Ashton simply asked if someone else had seen it, noted it, processed it, couldn't find it and sent it to her and she couldn't find it either.
Ms. Gottesman also compared the bags from the scene to the bags from the Anthony home. She testified that some of the bags were different, but others she couldn't rule in or out.
Baez came back on re-direct.
His question was objected to and sustained.
The witness was excused.
Baez asked to approach before calling his next witness.
When the side bar broke up, Baez called Cary Oien. He has been with the FBI for 15 years. He gave his background with the FBI and his educational background. He worked as a hair and fiber analyst in 2008.
He was accepted as an expert in the area of hair and fiber analysis.
In September, 2008, he was the head of the Trace Evidence Unit. At the time it included Karen Lowe and Stephen Shaw. He conducted an analysis on the shovel which had a hair attached to the sticker on the shovel. He found a 1/4" apparently Caucasian hair. It was too small to evaluate and he sent it to the mitochondrial unit for DNA analysis. He didn't know the results for that.
Baez then went on to part of his job, quality control. The lab is ASCLAD accredited. We were treated to a fairly long discussion of how the lab becomes accredited. Then, Baez asked if a research lab has to go through the same criteria. Ashton objected by saying it is beyond his area of expertise. Baez then asked if research labs were monitored or were they on their own. (Ashton objected/side bar).
The objection was obviously sustained and Baez was finished.
Jeff Ashton then made the quickest, most clever of cross examinations. He asked about the 1/4 inch hair. He said to the witness, don't know whose it is? Don't know how it got there? and a few more quick questions and he was done.
The point was made. Anytime Jose Baez finds a lab person who is in any way involved in quality control, he tries to launch a massive attack on how Arpad Vass’ research lab is in no way up to the task of testing anything with proper controls.
Baez asked one courtesy question, just to be last, and the witness was excused.
At 4:23 PM, the judge dismissed the jury for the day.
My question of the day: Did Baez let you down? What were you expecting him to do today?