Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Day 25

Judge Perry took the bench this morning at 8:56. Jose Baez was at the podium and ready to proceed with his defense.

Judge Perry mentioned that there was something that they have to take care of this week. He asked the attorneys to approach the side bar.

Maureen Bottrell was the first witness called by the defense. She is a Geologist Forensic Examiner with the FBI. She has held the position for 16 years. She gave her educational background. She has testified approximately 40 times in Federal and State courts. She was accepted as an expert witness in the field of geology.

She received evidence in this case. She explained her work in examining soil samples and matching them to evidence to locate where it came from.

Her report was dated March 4, 2009. She received items from the Pontiac Sunfire. Included was some debris from the trunk and in and around the car. She also received Brian Burner's shovel. Bottrell also received 22 pairs of Casey's shoes and a transport bag. She also received soil samples from Suburban Drive after the top layer was scraped away.

There were insufficient samples from the car. The debris from the trunk had material from a various number of locations. They were not suitable to study to find a single location. Therefore, there was no connection between the car and the scene made.

The shovel was being studied when the body was located and she stopped her examination because there was no need since it had been hoped the shovel would lead the where the remains were located. Ms. Bottrell was never asked to go back and compare the material from the shovel to the scene.

Only three pairs of the shoes had material to make a comparison. None of them matched the crime scene.

The transport bag had insufficient evidence to be tested. It was the bag the shoes came in.

Baez had no further questions.

Jeff Ashton reaffirmed the negative comparison with the shoes. He had her explain to the jury as to why. Bottrell explained that you can walk across a scene and not pick up any soil. You can pick up the soil and it would later fall off. You can walk across an area and get soil on the shoes and then walk in another area, making it impossible to identify the soil. The last scenario was that the person wasn't at the site.

Ashton then asked if the absence of soil meant that the person wasn't there. She said that the person could have been there and didn't have any soil from the area on the shoes for the reasons given above.

Baez then came up on re-direct. He pointed out that she found nothing meaningful to connect Casey Anthony to Suburban Drive. (He was leading again!)

For some reason, Baez got her to testify that she was not speculating.

The witness was excused.

Madeline Montgomery, another FBI analyst was the second witness of the day after a brief sidebar.

Ms. Montgomery is a forensic toxicologist with the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia. She's been employed there for 15 years. She gave her educational background, professional background, and a brief discussion of forensic toxicology.

The court recognized her as an expert in forensic chemistry and toxicology.

March 13, 2009, she received a hair sample to test. It was the Q-59 hair mass.

She went through the processes she used to test the hair. She tested the hair for xanax and klonopin. There was none found in the hair sample. She was also asked to look for other drugs as well. She used a new test which was more accurate and ten times more sensitive that the previous one. She tested for more drugs related to the other drugs. There were none found.

Again, he asked this witness if she could "guess" at how much exposure a person would have. The witness said that they are not always able to find the drug in the hair.

Again, he asked her if she could speculate! (Baez was leading again.) All she could say was that she did the tests and they were negative.

Jeff Ashton asked if the testing doesn't say whether or not the drug was given. Ms. Montgomery said she could only say that the tests were negative.

An interesting question was that if the child had been given a single, fatal dose, it would not have been detected.

She also testified that they don't test for chloroform in hair.

Baez tried to get her to say who did the rest of the testing, and was sustained a number of times.

He then tried to have the "meaningless" comment by Ashton into the fact that he was implying that her work was meaningless!

The next defense witness, Dr. Michael Sigman was questioned by Cheney Mason. Sigman is a faculty member at the University of Florida. He has a PhD in chemistry. He gave his full educational background and his history of employment.

It was interesting to note that he is a former employee of Oak Ridge Labs and knows Arpad Vass.

He spent some time explaining what a peer-reviewed article is and he also testified he had over 60.

Dr. Sigman first became involved in the case July 21, 2008. He was asked if he would speak to Mr. Striker of the OCSO about taking air samples from the car. He came recommended by Dr. Vass. Sigman recommended the use of Teldar bag and Vass agreed.
He went to the OCSO and took two Teldar bags and a syringe to pull air samples from the car.
He pulled a liter of air and 300 ml and put it in the other bag.

Sigman went through the procedure which we have heard before.

He ran a test and injected it directly into a GC/MS.

Mason then had Dr. Sigman explain the testing in extreme detail.

The end result was that there were trace amounts of volatile organic compounds. The sample gave such low peaks, it was not significant.

The second sample was taken from the bag using the methodology for testing air from the bag which concentrated the sample. Dr. Sigman's results for the second sample was similar to the first sample, but with a better signal. The results were consistent with the presence of gasoline. They did not do any quantative analysis.

Mason then had him list the compounds (which I'm not going to spell). They said that they knew they could get better results if they got a better sample, so they didn't go all the way through the analysis.

On July 22, they went back to the forensic bay and took more air samples (using a filter and carbon strip in the trunk for 40 minutes). The following day they returned and collected four filters left in the car for 7 ½ hours.

When they analyzed the samples, the chromatographic sample was better. The primary pattern was that of gasoline. There was chloroform, diethel disulfide, tetra chloral ethylene (used in dry cleaning) and one other compound. There was no quantitative analysis.

When asked if the compounds found were chemicals produced by decomposition Sigman said that he read the literature on the subject (Vass and the Greek researcher). Based on his reading, he said he believed the chemicals found could be associated with human decomposition.

Mason then asked if he believed that there was human decomposition in the car. Dr. Sigman said that he could not conclusively determine if there were human remains in the car.

He understood that there was garbage found in the car.

Mason completed his questioning, no, one more question. How many samples did he take? Six. Mason then went on for about another five minutes with a few more questions.

Jeff Ashton then began his cross after a 15 minute break.

Jeff Ashton reminded Sigman that he took his first air samples July 21. They opened the trunk about 1" and stuck the needle in. Sigman was not aware the spare tire cover and liner were removed 4 days before. There was a discussion of the amount of gas removed and by what means they were taken from the trunk.

Ashton made the point that the sample he took was of the air in the trunk. Even with the liner and spare tire cover gone, he was able to identify chloroform and the other compounds in the air. He could also say that they were consistent with human decomposition.

Then, Ashton questioned the witness about chloroform being formed by the mixture of bleach and other cleaning compounds. There was also a brief discussion of chloroform being formed from chlorine from pool chemicals. The amounts would be small. The reaction, however, would form other compounds besides chlorine.

Ashton asked if there was any literature discussing chlorine being formed by a bathing suit thrown in a trunk. Sigman said it wasn't likely. Sigman found nothing to prove that chloroform came from pool chemicals and an organic compound.

Ashton asked if he detected an odor from the trunk. Sigman said he did, but could not identify it.

Mason had a question on re-direct. Sigman did not know the source of any of the three compounds. The main thing that was there was associated with or identified as gasoline.

On re-cross, Ashton asked if it surprised him that he found samples of gasoline. Sigman said he wasn't.

Dr. Sigman was excused.

Jose Baez then called Susan Mears of the OCSO. She is the Crime Scene Supervisor.

Baez showed her three photograph. They were photographs of items she took from Suburban Drive. She described the red Disney Bag which contained a bottle.

Baez moved the items into evidence. Ms. Mears said they were found 7" from the skull. The GatorAde bottle was in the bag.

He had no further questions for the witness.

The witness was excused.

The defense then called Dr. Michael Rickenbach of the FBI. Baez had him review a report he filed.

He was given a picture of the red Disney Bag. Also mentioned were the GatorAde bottle and the syringe found inside of it.

Ashton objected to items not in evidence. Baez said that they are in the posession of the Sheriff's office. Judge Perry invited him to approach to discuss the issue.

When the side bar was over, Baez provided Dr. Rickenbach with a copy of his report from 2008.

He received items which he identified as car seat and a steering wheel cover.

I'm guessing the Disney Bag and its contents are out.

He was asked to test for the presence of volatile substances, including chloroform. There was no chloroform on either item.

Baez asked him if he was told that he was going to test to see if someone's hands had chloroform on them... (objection/hearsay/sustained) There was no more chloroform found.

He did not analyze the entire car seat, only cuttings. There was no chloroform found.

He was given a third item in a report from July, 2009, Rickenbach identified a doll to be checked for chloroform. There was none.

Jeff Ashton did cross.

He asked Rickenbach if there were indications that chloroform may be present in very small amounts. Rickenbach said he did, but it was not enough to render a decision.

Jose Baez then requested a side bar.

The sample matrix for the doll would have been the material and stuffing. He got a control doll from a co-worker and also found very low levels of chloroform. The dolls were similar, but not identical.

Of course, Baez had to do re-direct. He made sure to understand that a co-worker's child had a doll with chloroform on it. Rickenbach said that was wrong, there wasn't enough to make a positive identication.

Jeff Ashton then asked for a side bar.

Baez had another question about the GatorAde Bottle. He was asked to identify the liquid in the bottle and the syringe.

Apparently, there was some sort of deal made at that last side bar.

According to his report, the liquid in the bottle could have come from a cleaning product and testosterone compound The syringe contained the same testosterone compounds. He also detected low levels of chloroform in the liquid in the bottle but in very small amounts as not to be reported because they could have come from a cleaning product.

This testimony is provisional upon the items arriving and being entered into testimony.

Our old friend, hair and fiber analyst, Karen Lowe was called next. Baez rapidly ran her through the rest of her reports so fast it was hard to keep up!

She was now being asked about clothing from clothing items from Casey Anthony. She found hairs.

From another report, Ms. Lowe testified that she examined a trash box from the car. No hairs were found. She found that they were dissimilar because there were no cotton fibers from the tape at the scene.

In yet another report she inspected a hair recovered by another examiner. It came from the trunk liner. No death band was found.

There was another report she wrote in November, 2009, she identified items from the trash bags and paper towels. No hairs were found.

In a June, 2009 report, Ms. Lowe testified she examined a large number of items.

There were 12 items of trash and items from the trunk. Of the items that had human hair present and had no signs of decomposition.

There were items from the ME's office. Mr. Shaw looked at them. She looked at fibers recovered from the scene and checked the fibers against the fibers from the trunk of the car and spare tire cover. There were no fibers in common.

She received items from the residence. She said the vacuums were not examined. She was asked to compare the fabric from the duct tape with the fabric from a piece of duct tape from the home.

There were also other items from the scene and the ME's office. She compared hairs to Q-59 (hair mass).

She found one Caucasian head hair that was dissimilar.

Ashton then said that they needed items submitted into evidence for all this testimony. There was the inevitable bench conference. (Thank you, Mr. Ashton.)

The judge dismissed the jury for a 5-10 minute recess to conduct business.

When the jury returned, Baez continued with the unidentified Caucasian hair at the scene.

She then did a further investigation of those at the scene. (2010 report) She gave the names of the people who processed the scene. (No, I'm not even going to write the list!)
However, there were more people at the scene who weren't tested. The hair did not match anyone for whom they had a sample.

Back to June 25, 2009, Baez asked for more items. She inspected items from the scene, additional items from the vehicle, and the residence. She examined the items from the scene were compared to the hair mass. They were consistent with the Q-59 hair mass.

Ms. Lowe tested many hair samples, possibly hundreds, there was only one hair found with decomposition.

Baez was finally finished.

Jeff Ashton did cross.

He mentioned the 107 hair she checked came from an unknown item from the scene. The hair with decomposition came from the car trunk.

He asked her if she knew from June 15 to July 16, she didn't know where Casey Anthony was living. She didn't.

Baez then asked if she had been given items from where Casey was living during the 31 days, would she have tested them. She said she would have.

Ms. Lowe was excused, but subject to recall by the defense.

With Ms. Lowe's exit from the courtroom, we were finished for the day.

Court will resume at 9:00 tomorrow. If lawyers have any issues, tune in around 8:30!


Anonymous said...

This is like watching paint dry! It's time for the defense to get to the meat of their nonexisting case so that the jurors can get home and be with their families again and save the taxpayers' money.

Is the defense dragging this out as long as they possibly can hoping that something unexpected will happen to cause a mistrial or retrial, and thus cost the taxpayers even more money?

hetherfly said...

So bottom line, another boring day with boring testimony that does nothing to bolster the defense claim that Casey was abused and therefore went on to party like it was 1999 after her child 'accidently' drowned. If Baez keeps this up, I don't like the odds of this jury being home for the 4th of July!

maryb said...

Well here is an upside to all this incredibily boring testimony. I got some housework done!!!
I think the introduction of a potential new prosecution witness in the form of Ms. Whelan (sp?) is a hoot and a big big splash in Baez's pool!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the juror who said he can't judge people, all he has to do is follow the instructions given by the judge at the end of the case. There's nothing to really judge. All he has to do is to consider the evidence presented, use common sense, and simply follow the instructions. Just like taking the SAT or any exam, following the instructions will lead to the correct answer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recap. I know it has got to be very difficult to keep up with some of the technical jargon so I'm hoping you don't mind if I correct a small portion of what you wrote in case others want to look it up.

- Tedlar Bags

- Diethyl disulfide

- Tetrachloroethene (Perchloroethene/Perc/PCE)- [ethylene instead of ethene is also correct]

ritanita said...

It certainly was a boring day. We did find out all the evidence that was tested to no result. What matters is what did test positive for something!

Thanks for the spelling! I try googling, but it usually gets me nowhere!

shari said...

Priceless Baezism question of the day to FBI analyst Madeline Montgomery...."So what other meaningless things do you do for the FBI?"

She remained cool and replied "I don't consider anything I do for the FBI meaningless"


katfish said...

Just wanted to stop and say thanks Ritanita for your thorough recaps! I was on vacation for the last couple weeks and your posts were one of my first stops to find out what I missed. I saw most of this week's testimony.....yawn....I prefer your recaps :)

Anonymous said...

What is so difficult to understand about the hair banding!?


Let's MOVE ON with this case already, Baez!

caroleigh said...

Thursday June 23rd
zzzzzzz ....zzzzzzzzzzz

Dorothy Sims

[a good day to go to Wal-Mart ]

Baez and his stupid ideas and stupid questions ...zzzzzzzz

I agree, give your closing statements, and give it to the jurors.

They will put Casey in the big prison where she belongs, and where ''Big Bertha'' is waiting for her..................... she probably won't last two months. ..

Anonymous said...

What the defense is engaging in now is very transparent.

Unfortunately, this is too little, too late, and will NOT change anything that the state has already presented. In fact, Cindy may even get charged with perjury!