Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stephanie Lazarus Pretrial Hearing 6

Updated 9:50 PM below

This is just a short entry to let everyone know that the Stephanie Lazarus case has been set for trial to begin on October 17th, 2011 and hopefully opening statements on October 24th. Jury selection will start on the 17th with pre-screening questionnaires. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for August 15th - 17th to hear two defense motions regarding "chain of custody" and redaction of portions of the video taped interview with Lazarus.

I'll have a complete update on the entire hearing when I get home, since my computer is acting up. I've decided not to stay for the Kelly Soo Park hearing at 11 am.

Update: 9:50 PM
Mr. Sprocket worked for about 4 hours on my laptop today taking it completely apart and replacing some items. It's not totally back together yet but it's functional. Sprocket.

Traffic was exceptionally light driving into downtown LA. It only took me about 25 minutes to reach the budget parking lot. When I arrived on the 9th floor of the Criminal Court Building, Stephanie Lazarus' mother was sitting on the hallway bench closest to Judge Pastor's courtroom. She had an attractive woman friend with her I've never seen before. The friend is about my height with blondish-brown wavy hair about to her upper back.

While I was trying to get my laptop screen to come up so I could check my mail, the friend next to Lazarus' mother asked me, "Did that deputy just come out of the women's restroom?" From where we were sitting, it certainly appeared that way but I smile and told the ladies, "No." I explained that the entrance to the ladies restroom is an alcove where there is also a private elevator/access that the sheriff's use to sometimes bring detainees into courtrooms.

We all smiled and then right after that, Lazarus' mother mentions an experience she had at a business (or a theatre or something like that) where the ladies restroom was closed due to a plumbing problem and the women waited in a line where they had to "share" the men's restroom. We all agreed that in those situations (when there's no other available ladies restroom and faced with a long drive home) you make do and use what's available. It was the first time I'd ever spoken with the woman whom I've sat next to or behind in all the hearings I've attended.

A few minutes before 8:30 am, Mark Overland shows up with one of his private investigators (not Bert Luper; I'm drawing a blank on this man's name at the moment) and the ladies go inside Dept. 104. I follow them in and decide to sit in a different spot this time.

Inside, Nels and Loretta Rasmussen are already in the first row sitting with two other women supporters. I sit directly behind them in the second row. Their attorney, John Taylor is with them. I don't see Greg Fisher, the producer from 48 Hours but the tall, bespeckled Dateline producer is here. Two very young interns from the DA's office soon arrive and sit in the back row. Shannon Presby and Paul Nunez are at the prosecution table. Lazarus is deep in conversation with the defense investigator. She's wearing the white, long-sleeved long-johns type shirt underneath her orange jumpsuit. Presby and Overland pleasantly chat. The two Robbery-Homicide detectives who interviewed Lazarus are sitting off to the right.

It's 8:33 am and Judge Perry is on the bench. From my new seat, I can see that Lazarus is wearing black framed glasses. Judge Perry goes on the record. It's 21 of 60 and there are some scheduling issues. Presby states that he has been in informal conversations with Overland regarding the jury questionnaire. Judge Perry asks Overland, "Mr. Overland, Hows trial preparations?" "Excellent Judge, excellent," he responds. Presby states they've been talking about a trial date, jokingly states he doesn't want to speak for Mr. Overland (Overland, smiling replies, "Don't.") but they have different views on a start date for the trial, in regards to several motions to be heard pretrial.

Overland has filed two today and will possibly file two or three more. Overland tells the court one motion will take two to three days. Overland asks the court to consider getting all the pretrial issues resolved in September and also picking a jury. Then go on recess until the court comes back (from Judge Perry's scheduled vacation). Judge Perry doesn't think it would be "helpful" to select a jury between now and October and go into trial afterwards. Judge Perry would like to set the motions sometime in September. Judge Perry outlines what he thinks is the best course for selecting a jury. He doesn't see this as a case that would have a particularly unusual voir dire, or that can't be dealt with in a (pre?) fashion. Judge Perry asks Overland when he will have his motions ready.

Overland states that one of his motions, he will have to wait for his expert to get samples from the serology lab. This motion is a Kelly-Frye motion. Judge Perry asks if the big motion, (that will take three days) involving "chain of custody" will involve testimony. Overland replies, "Absolutely." Judge Perry then suggests that they do the motions "piecemeal" and Presby states he has no problem with that. (In other words, as the motions are finished, they have separate hearings on them.) Judge Perry states something to the effect that they can take care of them "as they're ripe." (I thought that was an interesting description of a motion.)

Presby informs the court that he anticipates filing two motions and he will have them prepared (later?) today. Judge Perry questions if there will be prosecution witnesses as to the chain of custody. Presby answers that some of these witnesses testified at the preliminary hearing. Judge Perry asks him about the availability of these witnesses and Presby states he has not checked on that yet.

Matthew McGough from The Atlantic slips into Dept. 104 and sits behind me in the last row.

Judge Perry briefly goes over the two motions that Overland has filed. One is to redact portions of the video tape of Lazarus (when she was interviewed in the basement of Parker Center) and the other motion is for chain of custody (two to three days for that) and the last motion, Kelly-Frye, that can't be filed until the expert looks at evidence. Judge Perry asks if there are any others that come to mind?

The people mention that they want to file a motion to have an expert testify if this was a "staged burglary." Presby states that he has another motion, but he would like to talk to Overland informally about it before bringing it to the court.

Judge Perry sets a date of August 15th, 16th and the 17th to do the two defense motions already filed. The issue of availability of witnesses is mentioned again. The Kelly-Frye motion is basically on hold. Presby states that's fine. Judge states that by that week, Overland should have a better idea on the Kelly-Frye motion. Judge Perry asks if once they have these rulings, could they start the trial on August 22nd. Overland quickly responds, "No. There's still some discovery we haven't received." Overland states that they're compiling a list of missing discovery documents that they are going to give formally to the prosecution. Overland states they are having a problem with the "computer issues seized" and they are dealing with Mr. Presby informally on that. "Will I be ready in August, the answer is no."

Judge Perry asks the defense, "What do you want to do?" Overland responds, "Why don't we start after the court's vacation?" Judge Perry responds, "I would start you on the 17th of October. I would hand out questionnaires on the 17th.... (snip) give you a couple of days to process those and come back possibly Thursday or Friday (for voir dire) and start the opening statements on the 24th."

Judge Perry then goes over the options of prescreening the jurors. One option is to have the jury assessment room prescreen. (He goes into detail what this would encompass.) Judge Perry states (the jury room) tells us, that to get a panel of 250 to 300 you have to talk to about 1,000. Judge Perry feels that they should do the prescreening in his courtroom. That a set distribution would be for his courtroom. They would have like, 70 jurors arrive at 10:00 am; 50 jurors arrive at 10:30 am; 50 more jurors at 11:00 am. And we would keep going until (they have what they need for the jury questionnaire). Judge Perry states he would prescreen and announce the case in the courtroom. In his experience, his opinion, this works better than having the jury service prescreen them for the court. Judge Perry states, (with this process) "I think you would have jurors that would want to serve. (snip) I don't think the jury room does a good job of prescreening (jurors), but we can talk about that."

Judge Perry states that with this process, they would have the questionnaires in their hands by the 18th. Judge Perry goes onto explain that since this is not a death penalty case, there will only be 20 peremptory challenges. Judge Perry states his thought is, they could probably go with sixty or seventy at most, to get a base. They will have 12 jurors and 6 alternates. "The advantage in me prescreening the case, is they come here, it's more effective getting a group that will sit on a case. (snip) Then set the next round of voir dire. (snip) My major concern is pretrial publicity.

Overland asks Judge Perry about cameras in the courtroom. Judge Perry states that he has had requests but he has not granted any. Judge Perry states he understands that it is the position of the DA's office not to oppose. The defense states they are opposed to cameras, and Judge Perry responds, "And so am I." Judge Perry states, "I feel having cameras is anti-(ethical?) to the search for truth." Judge Perry then goes onto say that he's been involved in many high profile cases. He mentions the John DeLorean case. "I'm not at all inclined to allow cameras in this court. "

Back to the issue of prescreening jurors. Overland requests the court to prescreen the jurors. Judge Perry states again that it's a chance of getting better jurors is increased. Presby states that's fine with the prosecution. Regarding the jury questionnaire, Perry states, "We may even agree on each and every question..." but it's said with a smile on his face. Judge Perry replies, "And I'm going to strike some."

Judge Perry sets the trial at 0-60 for the August 15th chain of custody hearing. With it set at 0-60, (I) hope we can set trial at October 17th. We will come back with the trial tentatively set for October 17th and opening statements October 24th. Judge Perry also states if the trial goes to Thanksgiving week, we will take the entire week off. It's easier to select jurors if we are not in session the entire week. Once they get closer to the trial date, they will be able to tell more to the jurors.

Judge Perry then addresses Lazarus and asks her specifically if she waives her right to a speedy trial. "Yes, your honor," she replies. "That will be the order then," Perry rules.

Overland has one last issue, in respect to Lazarus' clothing. They want to take her measurements. Perry doesn't have a problem with that. Presby has one other matter that he will speak informally with Overland about. It's regarding the defense firearms expert and releasing property (exhibits) to her for testing. The prosecution want assurances that none of the defense expert's tests will be destructive tests. Overland confirms this. Presby states that the prosecution did get from the defense a list of witnesses. He goes onto say that he has every (belief?) they will have all discovery from the defense (before trial).

I miss something. The deputy is handing back a bag to the friend who came with Lazarus' mother. Maybe this is the clothing that Lazarus is going to try on. Someone states Lazarus is not going to keep them. And that's it. Next hearing August 15th.

Stephanie Lazarus Case Coverage Quick Links

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stephanie Lazarus Preliminary Hearing Recap 2~Day 1, PART II

December 7th, 2009

Continued from Day 1, Part I....

After a recess was taken the court states that a second amended felony complaint was filed November 30th, 2009. It adds a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait. The defendant was arraigned and entered a not guilty plea.

The people bring to the court’s attention that there are two possible witnesses in the gallery who may testify. Presby identifies one of them, Ms. Jayne Goldberg, who may testify. She’s excluded.

The people called their first witness, Lloyd Mahanay. After Mahanay takes the stand, the other potential witness is identified by Presby. It’s Sherri Rae Rasmussen’s father, Nels Rasmussen. The people don’t want to totally exclude him but will make specific motions to exclude him from any witness that might testify to something that is relevant to the possibility of his testimony. Torrealba presents the witness.

On February 24th, 1986 Mahanay had been a senior criminalist for the coroner’s office for six years. He testifies to his CV and training. He was experienced in the proper collection of evidence, especially sexual assault evidence and how to package them and preserve them. In ‘86, he had already processed over 200 crime scenes. He worked for the coroner’s office for 27 years and retired in 2007.

Mahanay states he was called to 7100 Balboa Boulevard, unit number 205, in Van Nuys, CA. He prepared a lab report of his activities at the scene. He remembers going to the scene specifically because that day, he was already dispatched to a crime scene and he received notification at that scene that he had another crime scene (Rasmussen) to go to when he finished up there.

Mahanay needs to review his notes to refresh his recollection as to what he specifically did. When he arrived at the scene the victim’s body was still there. Then Judge Perry interjects and asks a few questions if the witness remembers what time of day he arrived, (early morning) whether it was still dark outside (it was).

The coroner’s investigator, Walter Rainey, was already at the scene. Since Mahanay cannot remember specifically what he did, he is asked to recount what his normal practice and procedure would have been to process a body.

Depending on the position of the decedent, Mahanay would check for trace evidence on the front or back of the body. Once he gathered trace evidence (hair, fibers, anything unusual) they he would proceed to take sexual assault evidence.

Mahanay describes collecting the sexual assault evidence. Oral, breast and external genital swabs and making slides. Two vagina and two rectal swabs and making slides as well as a body surface control swab. He would also look for evidence of gunshot residue.

Mahanay identifies the unique case number assigned to this death: 86-2676. (This means this was the 2,676th death that the coroner’s office processed. That’s a significantly larger number than for a similar month, seventeen years later. Lana Clarkson’s death was 03-903.)

Mahanay’s report is entered into evidence. Looking at the report he filled out to document the sexual assault collection, Mahanay collected nipple swabs, oral swabs and slides, anal swabs and slides, vaginal swabs and slides, vaginal aspirants.

At the top of the document, it indicates he collected “bite mark evidence.” Mahanay states the document reflects he collected that sample back at the forensic science center.

Photographs of the tubes containing the sexual assault swabs are entered into evidence. Torrealba has the witness identify the number on the tube #671 and that number matches the kit number he used to collect the evidence. Judge Perry asks if the photographs were taken at the time the evidence was collected (they were). The victim is visible in the photos and Mahanay identifies her for the record.

Mahanay outlines the procedures for sealing and documenting the evidence in the kit box and then taking it to the coroner’s evidence room. The coroner’s evidence log is entered into evidence.

Torrealba goes over other items on the evidence log that indicate his initials: the fingernail kit, the damaged nail kit, the hair kit, pubic hair kit, sexual assault kit. Torrealba points out the bite mark swab on the evidence log and his initials beside it that Mahanay booked it into evidence.

Mahanay explains how he collected the bite mark evidence. He first moistens the swab with distilled water and then he takes a swab of the bite mark area on the arm. He describes the type of cotton swab that is used. It looks like the type people use when they clean their ears but it’s much longer and on a wooden stick. It’s about six inches long. The end of the wooden swab stick is attached to the cap of the plastic tube.

The labeling of the tube and how it’s packaged and documented is described in detail. The tube would be put in a physical evidence envelope and that envelope would be documented with the case number, the decedent’s name, what the contents are, where it was delivered, date and time then sealed.

Torrealba presents Mahanay with two photographs to identify. The first item Mahanay identifies as the envelope he put the bite mark evidence in.

Mahanay testifies that the envelope did not look like how it appears in the photo when he first put the evidence in the envelope. He states when he first packaged the evidence, it was a nice, clean envelope. The witness didn’t bring his glasses, so Judge Perry takes the document and attempts to read the writing.

Judge Perry states he can read Sherri Rasmussen and the date of February 25th and 10:32. Judge Perry then asks the witness a few questions regarding the envelope, if it was the type of envelope he put evidence in (it was); how he put the swab in the tube and then place the tube in the envelope (correct); and if there was anything on the envelope that indicated his signature (there is; it’s pointed out to Judge Perry).

A photo of the tube containing the swab is reviewed with Mahanay and the fact that the swab was taken from Rasmussen’s left arm.

That’s the end of direct and cross begins by Overland.

Overland verifies that Mahanay looked at his notes to help him remember what happened. Those notes are the criminalistics expert laboratory report, the form 81 and also looked at the evidence log. People’s exhibits 1, 2 and 5. Mahanay states that the photographs of the victim also helped him remember.

Overland asks Mahanay if he knows who Dan Anderson is. Mahanay states when he retired Anderson was the supervisor of the criminalistics laboratory. Overland asks if Mahanay remembers taking any notes himself, three pages of notes. Mahanay remembers taking notes but not the number of pages. Mahanay doesn’t remember giving those notes to Anderson. He states they should have stayed with the laboratory’s copy of the criminalistics laboratory report.

Overland has Mahanay state that he doesn’t specifically remember collecting the evidence in this case. Mahanay is firm that he collected the sexual assault evidence at the scene since that’s what his report states he did.

Overland questions the fact that the report states the evidence was collected at 0634 Hours. Mahanay states that would have been the time that he finished collecting all the evidence, not just the sexual assault evidence.

Overland also questions Mahanay at about what time Rainey also arrived. Mahanay states that they arrived about the same time. That Rainey was at the prior crime scene with him. Mahanay states that the prior crime scene was at the corner of Chevy Chase and Woodland in a parking lot in a car.

Overland questions Mahanay about his procedures in collecting evidence at that crime scene and how it was packaged.

Mahanay explains exceptions to his following his normal procedures. If a body was tied up or wrapped up Mahanay would have to wait until a pathologist visually observed the ligatures on the body. Once they were removed then he could complete his sexual assault kit on the body.

Overland asks Mahanay detailed questions about the sexual assault kits, where they are obtained from, their numbering and what specific items make up one of these kits.

Overland asks Mahanay about fibers taken from the robe and hair and if Mahanay remembers specifically taking those items (no).

Overland asks almost the same specific questions about the vial/swab he used to collect the bite mark evidence as Judge Perry did. Where the swab kit came from, if it was numbered and the procedures he did to collect the evidence.

Mahanay explains that there are two swab sticks inside each vial. The reason they do that is so that for testing at the crime lab, they have two swabs to work with instead of just one.

Overland asks if there was blood or some other kind of fluid that he collected. Mahanay states it was just a swab of a bite mark. Overland asks again if there was blood but Mahanay doesn’t specifically remember if there was. He states they automatically swab a bite mark for he chance of having saliva there.

Judge Perry asks if he remembers what the bit mark looked like (no).

Overland asks about a GSR Kit #4322 that was used on Rasmussen’s hands. Anything they have a victim that’s been shot, they automatically take GSR kits from their hands to see if the victim may have also fired a gun or not.

Overland goes over the evidence log with Mahanay and has him explain every single column on the log and what they mean.

Overland moves to the evidence envelope that contained the bite mark swab and it’s current condition. Mahanay states that on the photo of the swab tube, the word LEFT is barely readable along with the coroner’s case number, which is not readable in the photograph.

Overland asks questions about the number of crime scenes Mahanay visited before this one in the course of his work and about how many swabs he took at those crime scenes.

Cross is finished, there’s no redirect and the next witness is called.
Torrealba presents the witness. Heath currently works in the Investigations Division at the LA Co. Coroner’s office. He’s been working for the LA Co. Coroner since 1972. Back in February, 1986, his position was evidence custodian. His duties as the evidence custodian were checking evidence into the evidence room and releasing evidence. He would obtain evidence from a “drop site” where he would sign for it and collect it.

Torrealba asks him if he knew the individual who just left the courtroom and he identifies him as Lloyd Mahanay. Heath states he did not work directly with Mahanay. Mahanay worked in the labs which ws associated with the evidence room. Heath received his training to work the evidence room from other staff employees. He started in the evidence room approximately 1983. A year later he became a full time employee. Heath also trained others in the evidence room procedures, including Joe Murillo.

People’s exhibit #5, the evidence log is presented to Heath and he explains everything it’s used for. Heath identifies his initials on the log where he received evidence in this case. He received several items on the card into evidence, including the bite mark evidence.

Torrealba has the witness look over the columns on the card for initials for when evidence is released. There are no signatures on the card by where the bite mark is logged in that indicate the bite mark was logged out of evidence.

In cross examination, Overland asks about a box that’s checked that indicates there is more information on the back of the card. Through further questioning by the court it’s testified to that the back side of the card is also present on the prosecution’s copy of the card.

Overland brings out the first defense exhibit, A, an evidence log. On the card is the case number 1986-02676, the victim’s name Sherri Rasmussen (with an “O”), the investigating officers names Pida and Mayer. There is an objection as to whether this document has had the proper foundation to be admitted, and Judge Perry asks some foundation questions. Heath’s name is on the card, but he states his signature is not on the card. Heath testifies that the “R. Heath” on the card was not done in his handwriting.

In further questioning, Overland is having a problem laying the foundation for the document to come in. He’s not able through this witness to say where the form came from even though the form looks exactly like the one that the prosecution entered into evidence.

Judge Perry states that he will accept that this form is the type used by the coroner’s office, but at this point he can not state through this witness, where he obtained the document.

At this time, the people interject and state that they are going to call the witness who prepared this form. With that information Judge Perry asks Overland why they can’t wait to hear from that upcoming witness to what he did and why. Overland concedes and there is no more cross and no redirect.

They take the lunch recess at this point. After lunch, the next witness is called. Ms. Torrealba presents the witness.
Murillo is employed at the LA Co. Coroner’s office. He’s been employed there 21 years. He started working there in 1982 and became a permanent employee in 1988. In 1986 he was a student worker and he worked in the evidence room. His job duties were to wrap clothing, blood swatches and release evidence to the agencies. He received on the job training from his supervisor, Richard Heath.

Murillo describes his duties as to how he prepared wrapping and drying clothing as well as making blood swatches. He then is show people’s #5, the coroner’s evidence log card and the items on the card labeled “collected” and an individual’s name that he personally wrote on the card. The blood vial, the panties, t-shirt, robe. Murillo verifies that the time listed on the card, 1500 hours, is when he placed those items into the evidence room.

Several photographs are shown to the witness regarding evidence he handled and logged into the evidence room. A photograph of the bundle of wrapped clothing; the items of clothing; the toe tag; the various packaging and close-up photos of the labels and his signature on the tags.

On the evidence card, the witness identifies the handwriting of his supervisor, Richard Heath as logging into evidence on the evidence card, the bullets that were collected by Dr. Selser. His initials are by those and other items as being released from evidence on February 28th, 1986. He released the clothing and bullets to LAPD Officer L. Bagget badge number 14750. He would have the officer write in his information when they picked up the evidence.

The witness states that other items booked into evidence, like the blood swatches, etc., he did not do anything else with them.

On cross examination, Overland asks how and where Murillo obtained the evidence to log it into the property room. Judge Perry interjects and asks a series of questions about how the custom and practice back in 1986 in the coroner’s office. Clothing coming into the office is removed by the photographer and placed in the drying cage.

Once the clothing items are dry, Murillo would make his evidence tag for each item, place each item in a separate bag, and then wrap those bags all up in one big bundle. Murillo would then make out a label for when he performed that task. Then the bundle would go in the evidence room on a shelf.

Overland asks Murillo to identify on the evidence card who he released the clothing, the damaged hair kit, the pubic hair kit to. The copies of the evidence cards are difficult for the witness to read and he cannot tell from the document “who” in the LAPD’s Science Investigation Division (SID) he released the evidence to.

Murillo released the sexual assault kit and the envelope with the bullet in it. Going down the line on the card he released the bullets and clothing to Officer Bagget, but the date on the card the items were released are in question. Murillo states that after releasing these items he never saw them again.

Overland now brings out defense exhibit A. Murillo states that his handwriting does not appear on this card. Murillo states that only himself and his supervisor, Richard Heath had authorized access to enter the property room. Murillo also states that the freezer where biological evidence was stored is also located inside the property room.

Shannon Presby presents the witness. Gorder is asked if he knows John Ruetten. He says he does and he identifies a photo of Ruetten. Gorder met Ruetten in seventh grate a Persian Junior High School, in San Diego, 38 years ago.

Gorder states he was best friends with Ruetten through junior high and high school. They shared a locker, were chemistry lab partners, played on the same sports team and shared most of their classes together. Their families were very close and their mothers were best friends. He testifies he is familiar with all members of the Ruetten family.

Gorder states he knew that Ruetten had girlfriends while in high school. In the fall of 1977, both Gorder and Ruetten enrolled at UCLA, School of Engineering and Applied Science. They were both in engineering school. Gorder’s focus was electrical engineering. Ruetten’s focus was mechanical engineering. In his undergraduate course work, Ruetten and Gorder took classes together.

As a freshman, Gorder and Ruetten were both residents of Dykstra Hall, a large resident hall on campus. Besides the difficult classes they took, they played intramural basketball together, traveled back and forth to San Diego together and saw each other socially quote often.

During his sophomore year, Gorder and Ruetten were still residents of Dykstra Hall. During that time, they met another Dykstra resident, Stephanie Lazarus. Gorder identifies Lazarus for the record. Gorder does not have a specific memory today of how he met Lazarus, but he knows it was during his sophomore year.

Gorder and Lazarus became casual friends. During that time he observed Ruetten in contact with Lazarus. From his observations, he came to a conclusion about the relationship between Lazarus and Ruetten. He observed that they had a very close friendship. They did spend a significant amount of time together. As far as Gorder could tell, it was a platonic relationship.

Gorder testifies that he never saw Lazarus and Ruetten engage in any activity that one would associate as a romantic relationship. He never saw them holding hands or kissing. Gorder did observe Lazarus and Ruetten playing basketball outside Dykstra Hall. During the game he observed their interaction while Ruetten was guarding the defendant. After some detail questioning by Judge Perry, Gorder recounts one particular incident (although he states there could have been more) that stood out for him.

Gorder, Lazarus and Ruetten were shooting baskets. Lazarus posted Ruetten up, backed him down. There was a lot of body contact. He thought at the time, ‘It looks like Steph would like John to guard her a lot closer.”

Overland raises an objection and Judge Perry does sustain the objection but then asks his own question of the witness. “Did it appear to you that she was provocatively backing into him; is that what you’re saying?” Overland makes an objection to that question and Judge Perry overrules. Gorder answers, “Yes, sir, it did.” Gorder is then asked about Lazarus’ level of athleticism while he knew her at UCLA. She was very athletic.

During his time at UCLA, Gorder did not observe Ruetten with a serious girlfriend. During Gorder’s junior and senior years, he lived off campus but he still had a meal ticket. He ate all his meals i the Dykstra Hall cafeteria for both those years. Gorder states that during his senior year, Ruetten moved out of Dykstra Hall and into an apartment. Gorder and Ruetten are still friends to this day.

After Ruetten graduated, Gorder met Sheri Rasmussen and identifies a photograph of her. Gorer’s wife was a nurse at the UCLA medical center and Rasmussen was his wife’s supervisor. They nurses had many friends together among the other nursing staff, so Gorder met Rasmussen on several occasions.

Presby tries to get questions in about how Ruetten and Rasmussen met and if Gorder and his wife played a role in that. Judge Perry questions why the court needs to know who Ruetten and Rasmussen met. Gorder is not certain at what point Rasmussen changed employment from UCLA to Glendale Adventist.

Gorder attended the wedding of Rasmussen and Ruetten. He does not believe that Lazarus was at the wedding. He states he did not see her there. Gorder states that there were somewhere between 150 and 200 guests.

Gorder states that in the entire time he knew Ruetten, Rasmussen and Lazarus he never saw the three of them together. He learned about Rasmussen’s murder the following day. His wife called him at work. That evening he went to see Ruetten at a hotel in the Van Nuys area. Gorder never discussed any details of the case.

Under cross examination Gorder states the last time he saw Lazarus was sometime in 1983. He doesn’t remember the month. During his years at UCLA, he states he probably had direct contact with the defendant somewhere between 10 and 20 times. He can specifically remember the details of three or four events, and details a time in 1983 when he was jogging the perimeter at UCLA He ran with the defendant for about a half mile before turning back around in the direction he was going. They talked as they jogged.

Gorder was interviewed by detectives twice in May, 2009 and at that time detectives told them they were focusing their investigation on Lazarus.

Torrealba presents the witness.

In 1986, Celaya was a deputy coroner. His exact job title was photographic, forensic technician. He documented evidence through photography. At that time he had been employed by the coroner’s office for five years.

Celaya explains his duties of photographing the bodies that would come to the coroner’s office. The bodies would be brought to the photography room. First, he would photograph the body as it arrived. Overall photos then facial shots and then the clothing would be removed. The clothing would then be placed on white paper to dry. The paper with the clothing on it would be moved into the drying cages.

Celaya states that he is familiar with Dr. Selser and that she was working at the coroner’s office in 1986. A series of photographs are given to the witness to identify. They are not put on the overhead screen. The witness identifies a photograph, People’s #21 as a photograph he took, via the information on a “blue card” (something that’s probably in the photo itself). This is a photograph of the bite mark. People’s #22 is an overall photograph of the victim, clothed. People’s #23 is another photograph of the victim and Celaya identifies the clothing on the body. People’s #24 is an identifying facial photo of the victim. People’s #25 is a shot of the victim’s eyes. People’s #26 is a profile shot. People’s #27 is another photo of the victim’s head.

Celaya describes that as a matter of routine, he would then remove the clothing. Under questioning by Judge Perry, he doesn’t have a specific memory of removing Rasmussen’s clothing. A document is given to the witness, and his name is on it but he states the handwriting is not his.

Celaya states that Dr. Selser was normally a morning doctor but he cannot specifically remember if Dr. Selser was there when the clothing was removed. Celaya remembers when he removed the clothing a bullet fell out and he gave the bullet to Dr. Selser.

Under cross examination, Celaya doesn’t remember if he had an assistant that day.

Ms. Torrealba presents the witness. Ramirez is employed at the coroner’s office. She has been employed there for 18 years as an evidence and property custodian. She was working at the coroner’s office in 2004. Her duties in that position were to collect evidence coming in from investigators, transport, doctors and check that everything was properly sealed, signed and initialed, labeled. They would then process the evidence by putting into the evidence logs and file it away on proper shelves or freezers.

She testifies that she knows who Dan Anderson is. She works with him. He is the supervisor of the laboratory. He was not her direct supervisor. That was Michelle Sandberg. In December of 2004 Anderson asked her and her coworker Jackie Partida to find a piece of evidence from case number 86-2676. Ramirez was the one who found the bite mark swab evidence.

Ramirez recognizes an evidence log where they keep a chain of custody of all evidence coming in and out. She identifies her handwriting on the document. When she found the envelope, she contacted Dan Anderson and notified him that the evidence would have to be repackaged because the envelope was damaged.

Ramirez wrote on the bottom of the evidence log a description of the evidence. She obtained that information from the original envelope. On the new envelope she wrote: “Original evidence torn, repackaged by Dan Anderson in order to release to LAPD. Original envelope included 12/22/04 at 1350 by Dan Anderson” She then initialed the new envelope.

Ramirez identifies photos of the original envelope she found and the new enclosing envelope she placed it in. The original evidence log was obtained from microfilm. After she found the evidence, she placed it on white butcher paper for Dan Anderson to repackage it. She observed him repackage the evidence.

Judge Perry asks the witness a few questions. She states that she started looking for this item sometime in December, 2004. The coroner’s office had four freezers and she had to look through all four freezers to find the evidence. When she found the envelope she states that it had a tear in it.

Overland crosses Ramierez. Ramierez states she doesn’t remember “which” refrigerator she found the evidence in. She states she doesn’t know when the photo of the envelope was taken. She affirms that the photo depicts how the original envelope looked when she found it. She didn’t move or touch anything (inside?) the envelope.

The tear at the top with the red cap protruding, that was exactly how she found it. She states that Dan Anderson came to her department and repackaged it in front of her. She does not know who printed out the evidence log from the microfilm.

The second evidence log, the witness states that she made that new log after she found the evidence. She identifies the lines on the new log that she completed. She states that her coworker’s initials are on the log indicating that her coworker released the evidence to a detective. She cannot remember if she was present or not, when that evidence was released. She’s asked to identify another set of initials beside the “release” column and she cannot.

There is no redirect of the witness.
Ms. Torrealba presents the witness.

Ms. Garcia states she can be referred to as Ms. Garcia. Garcia states she currently works at the coroner’s office. She has worked there since 1994. In December of 2004, her job title was evidence and property custodian. She explains her job duties (which are exactly the same as the previous witness) and her training. In December 2004, she had been an evidence custodian for ten years.

Garcia identifies Defense exhibit A, as a type of evidence log and her department keeps to track chain of custody of evidence coming into the coroner’s possession and as it’s released out to the investigating agencies.

Garcia identifies the case number on the document at 1986-2676. Ms. Torrealba draws the witness’ attention to a specific area of the card where there are initials for releasing the “bite swab” evidence. Garcia states those are her initials and her handwriting on the card.

Judge Perry asks the witness to use the laser pointer and just point to what she wrote on the card.

Garcia confirms that she also wrote the release date, December 30th, ‘04. Garcia also states that she recognizes the handwriting of the receiving individual, their badge number and agency. Garcia states that it was the LAPD lab tech at the time which was “Millie.” Garcia states Millie has a real long name. She reverifies that she recognizes the handwriting as belonging to Millie who worked at the LAPD at the time.

Garcia explains in detail how the evidence is released, where she obtains it from, signs the envelope released by her, the individual picking up the evidence, sign the evidence log as chain of custody and the individual receiving the evidence takes it from there.

Garcia states that the envelope would not be opened unless something needed to be checked. That would happen in front of the criminalist or in front of the person picking up the envelope. Once the evidence is released, it would not come back to her department. It’s in the hands of the receiving agency.

Cross examination by Mark Overland.

Overland verifies that Garcia has been properly trained in collecting and packaging evidence that the coroner’s office collected.

Garcia explains the purpose of the seal that’s attached to the envelope. It’s to show who sealed it and prevent tampering with the evidence.

Overland shows Garcia a photo of People’s 6, a photo of the original evidence envelope that was torn. Garcia states that when they are trained to package evidence, the envelopes are not supposed to have tears in them like the photo shows of the original evidence envelope.

That’s it for cross and no redirect.

Ms. Torrealba presents the witness.

Anderson states he is currently employed at the LA County Coroner’s office as a supervising criminalist. He has been a supervisor there since 1995. He has been with the coroner’s office almost 20 years. He had a one-year stint at the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department in between all the years.

Anderson describes his duties as primarily a toxicologist. He manages the toxicology laboratory. Several years ago he managed the filed criminalist program. His job title back in 2004 was managing the field criminalist program.

Anderson then gives his CV (Curriculum Vitae). He is accredited by the American Board of Criminalists in 1988 and certified by the American Board of Toxicologists in 2007.

Anderson states that he does remember conversing with a person named Jennifer about case number 86-2676. Anderson is shown People’s exhibit number 5. Anderson recognizes it as a photocopy of a microfilm of the coroner’s evidence log. Anderson states the department no longer has the original document. The only copy available is the microfilm.

Anderson is directed to some handwriting on the side of the document. Anderson reads the information: “Jennifer” with an “X” and “0061.” Anderson states 0061 was Jennifer’s telephone extension at the old LAPD laboratory at the time. The document has a date of 12/20/04 and there is a note “Jackie will look.”

Anderson states that what he remembers of the conversation along the lines of, “They’re looking for a bite mark swab. Our evidence section can’t locate it. You need to help since you’re the supervisor.” Anderson states he started an investigation.

Anderson is directed to some writing on the bottom of the document. Anderson identifies it as the handwriting of one of the evidence custodians, Alica Ramirez. Anderson remembers going to back to the evidence room on December 22nd, 2004 and repackaging the evidence.

Anderson cannot remember the last name of Jennifer, who he identifies as one of the serologists at the LAPD.

Anderson states again that he repackaged the evidence since it could not be released in the condition it was found. Anderson states the reason was that the envelope was “...pretty beaten up.” It had a hole in it.”

Anderson is shown People’s exhibit number 6, a photo of the torn envelope. He testifies the image is how the envelope looked when he first saw it.

Judge Perry asks a few questions of the witness to determine the sequence of events of what he did when he was notified. Anderson states that when he first saw the envelope, he saw that the red top of the “swoop tube” was sticking out of the envelope.

Anderson states that the evidence would have been kept in one of the freezers in the coroner’s office. There are many different types of containers in the freezer: cardboard boxes, paper envelopes.

People’s exhibit’s number 28 and 29 are shown to the witness. Number 28 has a photo of the original envelope the evidence was packaged in on the left of the photo and the new evidence envelope that Anderson repackaged the evidence in is on the right in the photo.

Anderson explains how he knows this was the new envelope that the evidence was repackaged in. The seals on the new envelope have his initials and the date of 12/22/04 on it. Anderson takes the pointer and identifies his seals and the seals of the LAPD above his seals. Exhibit number 29, is another photo of the new evidence envelope. Anderson identifies his handwriting, what he wrote on the envelope (decedent’s name, case number, etc.) and what he was repackaging.

Anderson states that he did not do anything with the actual contents of the envelope. He did not touch it, remove it, or open the tube.

Direct ends and cross begins by Overland.

Anderson states that he did not shove the tube down into the envelope more when he saw that it was protruding. Anderson states that the length of the scoop tube, is long. The image that is up on the screen of the envelope, that’s the length of the tube and it would already be hitting the bottom of the envelope. He states that it could shove the tube maybe over, over to the left and into the envelope a little bit more. Anderson doesn’t recall doing that.

Anderson states that he doesn’t remember doing anything like that to the “scoop tube.” Anderson doesn’t believe that the tube was protruding any more from the envelope. He believes that the envelope was only damaged around the “cap” area.

Anderson states that in his memory, he does not recall the tube sticking out any further from the envelope when he first saw it. He states that if it was, he would have remembered that.

End of cross, no redirect.

Mr. Shawn Presby presents the witness.

Ms. Goldberg identifies a photo of the victim. Goldberg and Sherri Rae Rasmussen were friends and roommates. They worked together at UCLA and were peers. Goldberg met Rasmussen in 1978 when Rasmussen came to work as a staff nurse. Goldberg was working at UCLA as a nurse as well. After Rasmussen finished her master’s degree, she became the head nurse in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) and Goldberg’s supervisor.

Goldberg states Rasmussen was very well liked by the staff she supervised. In the fall of 1982, she and Rasmussen became roommates at 7100 Balboa Boulevard, Unit 205. Rasmussen has purchased the condo and Goldberg moved in. Goldberg described the condo as a multilevel townhouse. The condo had an attached garage and they entered mostly through the garage.

Goldberg describes the entire layout of the condo. There was a powder room on the first floor living room area and a balcony with a sliding glass door on the level off the breakfast nook area. The bedrooms were off the stairs on different levels higher up.

Goldberg states that Sherri was a very neat and organized housekeeper. Everything had a place. Goldberg identifies a photo of John Ruetten and that she knew him. Goldberg lived at the condo from the fall of 1982 to June of 1985, almost three years.

Goldberg states that during the time she lived with Sherri, she was unaware of Sherri having any enemies. Rasmussen became engaged to John Ruetten in May of 1984. They got married on November 23rd, 1985. Goldberg states Sherri was murdered on February 24th, 1986. Goldberg is asked again about the engagement and restates it as June of 1985.

Presby asks Goldberg a question whether Rasmussen ever described to her an event, sometime between the time Rasmussen became engaged and was eventually killed, where Rasmussen spoke about an event in which Sherri said a person came to her work in regard to her engagement or proposed marriage. Goldberg is allowed to answer that question, but the defense is trying to keep out any more information about the event, making a hearsay objection.

Presby tells the court that the testimony is not offered for a hearsay purpose. Presby tells the court that he believes the witness would testify as an offer of proof that John’s ex-girlfriend came to Ms. Rasmussen’s place of work and essentially said that “I belong with Mr. Ruetten and if the marriage does not work out I will be there to pick up the pieces.”

Presby argues that it’s relevant as to whether or not Sherri would admit her fiance’s “ex-girlfriend” into the apartment or not. It would reflect state of mind of the victim in respect to her prior contact with the defendant.

Judge Perry sustains the objection, so this testimony will not get on the record.

Goldberg is not able to state specifically how many units are in the gated condo complex. She states the entire complex is gated. To drive onto the complex you needed to have a remote control device (to open the gate). For pedestrians, there was a locked gate. Residents were able to enter the complex by either the remote control in their car or with a key at the gate.

Goldberg states that at the main entrance on Balboa Blvd., there was a main board with everyone’s name and a button one could push. There were also locked pedestrian gates at either end of the complex. There was a wall surrounding the entire complex.

Judge Perry asks the witness how high the wall was and she replies “....about six feet.”

Goldberg states there were plantings, bushes near the exterior walls. Goldberg states she had moved out of the apartment once Ruetten and Rasmussen became engaged.

There’s no cross examination of this witness and this is the last witness of the first day of testimony.

Ms. Torrealba did have one housekeeping matter regarding documents that were dropped off at the DA’s office. She asks Overland to stipulate that she can open the documents, make copies and provide copies to him, keeping the chain of custody. Overland says, “Yes.” and that’s it for the first day of the preliminary hearing.

Continued in Preliminary Hearing Recap, Day 2...

Stephanie Lazarus Quick Links

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Review: The Criminal Justice Club, by Walt Lewis

GUEST ENTRY by David in Tennessee

After the shocking Anthony verdict, I thought our T&T readers would appreciate a little change of pace. Sprocket.

A Review of Walt Lewis' book, The Criminal Justice Club.
By David In Tennessee

Three years ago, I bought "The Criminal Justice Club," by former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Walt Lewis. Since then, Walt and I have exchanged emails about current trials and criminal justice issues. The controversy over the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial makes this book especially relevant.

The "Criminal Justice Club" is available on Amazon and at

The book points out that the players in the criminal justice system are members of a club and each has their own role. Prosecutors and defense attorneys have very different ethical obligations. A DA can ethically charge a suspect only if they are certain that with the available and admissible evidence all twelve people in the jury will be convinced the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This ethical rule means that only the cases with the strongest evidence are filed. This is a safeguard against convicting an innocent person. Because of this high standard, many suspects who are guilty of serious crimes go free.

The defense attorney's role is very different. His job is to get the best possible deal for his client, often a plea bargain. The fact that the defense attorney believes or knows his client is guilty is irrelevant. A defense attorney cannot stand up in court and say "My client is guilty." If he did, the conviction would be reversed and the attorney would likely face discipline by the state bar. The attorneys for defendants like O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony did nothing wrong by winning acquittals for their clients.

The book is critical of the media and the Los Angeles Times in particular for, among other things, not telling the truth about the gap between sentences reported and the actual time served. Credit is given to the media when warranted.

Walt praises women's groups for demanding reforms regarding sexual assaults, child molestation, domestic violence, and drunk driving. Politicians of both parties come in for criticism.

The California justice system has undergone dramatic reform since 1978. Most of this was due to ballot initiatives. Walt Lewis was a Deputy DA from 1968-2000. In the early years of his career, he would have defendants who had been convicted of murder, been paroled from prison and were back on the street committing crimes. The general public would see a news story about a convicted murderer sentenced to "life in prison." They would not know that he would be up for parole in seven or eight years. Those in the criminal underworld were very aware of it, law abiding citizens were not.

Another thing that surprised Walt upon becoming a Deputy DA was that very few murders are reported in the press. Either the suspect or the victim had to be a celebrity, wealthy, or very good-looking for there to be press coverage.

Walt discusses some of his cases. Among these are the Dorothy Mae Apartment fire and the Lois Haro murder case. There is also a "Perry Mason Moment."

When I asked Walt his opinion of the Casey Anthony verdict, he answered:

"I did start following the trial near the end. I saw the closing arguments. I don't recall if I said it in my book, but I have always believed that the most important part of any criminal trial is jury selection. These 12 people are everything. The DA cannot make a mistake with selecting one juror who will find it very difficult to convict a defendant regardless of the evidence presented. I heard that juror #4 said in voir dire that she didn't like to judge people. The DA tried to excuse her (I heard) but judge Perry would not allow the DA's peremptory challenge because she was black. If this is true, my hunch is that the best the DA could have gotten was a hung jury. I have had many prospective jurors (mostly religious) tell me that they believe it is not their place to sit in judgment of another human being. When they said this I never had a problem excusing them no matter what their race."

"In L.A. County I think it would have been unlikely we would have sought the death penalty, although I think that searching the Internet for chloroform and neck breaking and the masking tape over the nose was sufficient evidence of premeditation for 1st degree murder."

"During the trial I saw many talking heads predicting this and that. The truth is that nobody, not the DA, defense attorney or judge, can predict what a jury will do. These talking heads with all their opinions and theories mostly just fill space between commercials. I could never be a guest on these shows because most of my answers would be "I have no idea."

"The Criminal Justice Club" has given me more understanding of the criminal justice system and helped me in following trials, including writing about one. There is much more valuable information in the book than I have mentioned here.

David in Tennessee

Casey Anthony's Civil Judge Recuses Himself

7:11 PM EDT

In a session in the judge's conference room, Judge Munyon ordered the deposition with Morgan&Morgan for October 8,2011.


According to a twitter message from Matt Morgan, a new judge has been assigned to the case. Circuit Judge Lisa Taylor Munyon will preside over a hearing TODAY at 3:30 PM (EDT).

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

I was up bright and early to watch the hearing in the Zenaida Gonzalez case. Keith Mitnick and John Dill were there to represent her. For Casey Anthony, we got our first brief glance at Charles M. Greene, her civil attorney.

The Morgan & Morgan firm was in court to argue for Casey Anthony's deposition to be taken either in jail before she was released or on July 19. Greene had filed a motion saying that she was too exhausted after her trial and he was busy on the 19th anyway.

The hearing began at exactly 8:00 AM with Judge Jose Rodriguez taking the bench in the same courtroom where the murder trial took place. The attorneys then went to a 20-minute side bar. After they returned to their seats, Judge Rodriguez announced that he was recusing himself and the case would be assigned to another judge.

Casey Anthony will now have time to rest and relax in an undisclosed location as she "heals" from the ordeal of her murder trial.

Stay tuned for any updates on the fallout from the Casey Anthony case.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Casey Anthony Faces Civil Suits And Costs

I've managed to move on and now I am seeing the aftermath of Casey's not guilty verdicts. As is my personal preference, I am limiting coverage to the various lawsuits and financial issues that she will be facing for the near future.

On August 25th at 9:00 AM, there will be a hearing in which the prosecution will present the costs of the investigation. If you go back to the sentencing (part 1, part 2) Judge Belvin Perry laid out the lies Casey told to investigators and stressed the resources that LE put forth to find a missing child based on those lies. As we learned from the fraud hearing, there were fees attached. The last we heard about that was the hearing where it was discussed with Judge Stan Strickland. How much Casey would have to pay fell by the wayside as the murder trial loomed.

Next, Casey has to face the civil suit filed by Zenaida Gonzalez in 2008 for defamation. John Morgan served a subpoena to Casey and her civil attorney, Charles M. Greene for her to do a deposition on July 19, 2011 at his offices. Yesterday, he filed an emergency motion asking Judge Jose Rodriguez to allow him to take her deposition in the jail prior to her release. He based the motion on the fact that it has become known that it is likely that Casey will leave the jurisdiction upon her release and possibly adopt a new name and new appearance.

Her attorney has stated that he objects to the motion and that he considers it a"publicity stunt" that is "abusing the court process." He said he would not attend the deposition unless ordered to by the judge.

Next up is the TES motion filed by Tim Miller on July 12. In it, he is asking for reimbursement for the expenditures made in the search for Caylee Anthony. Although the amount he is asking is not in the motion, Mr. Miller has stated on various programs that the expenses ran about $112,000. He also stated that he is asking for an Internal Revenue audit of his books to back up his claims.

The motion is based upon the representations made to him by the Anthony family when he traveled to Orlando to assess the situation. Some key points he made in his motion were that:

P. 4, #25: Based on Cindy Anthony's request, Mr. Miller travelled to Orlando, Florida and met with CASEY ANTHONY, her parents, Cindy and George Anthony, and CASEY ANTHONY's attorney, Jose Baez, to determine whether or not TES could help with the search for Caylee, and whether it should dedicate its limited resources to the case.

P. 4, #26: Mr. Miller met with the Anthony family, including CASEY ANTHONY, Cindy and George Anthony told Mr. Miller, in the presence of CASEY ANTHONY, that Caylee was still alive. CASEY ANTHONY did not correct, question or otherwise comment on the representations made by her parents, Cindy and George Anthony, that Caylee was alive. In fact, CASEY ANTHONY likewise told Mr. Miller that Caylee was alive, and asked him to please bring her back.

There are over 40 paragraphs in the suit and well worth reading. TES is suing on two counts, FRAUD and UNJUST ENRICHMENT.

Jose Baez' opening statement to the court will come back to slap Casey if Mr. Miller and TES prevail in this suit:

P. 8 #55: CASEY ANTHONY gladly accepted the benefits conferred upon her by TES knowing, all the time that her daughter was deceased and that the search for her daughter was unnecessary, particularly to the extent that searchers were looking for a live child.

I was listening to InSession when Leonard Padilla announced that he is considering suing Casey Anthony for $200,000. Another one jumps on the bandwagon.

Finally, let's not forget that Casey has a tax lien against her for about $70,000 in unpaid income tax for the $200,000 she earned in 2008 by selling her daughter's pictures and videos to ABC.


Attorney Files Motion For Casey's Deposition In Civil Suit
Hearing in Casey Anthony civil case set for Friday
Casey Anthony's legal woes continue

Friday, July 8, 2011

Casey Anthony Verdict: An Analysis by Marsha Clark

Former LA County prosecutor Marsha Clark wrote an excellent analysis of the jury verdict titled Casey Jury Brainwash that appeared in The Daily Beast. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony Murder Trial: SENTENCING

Ritanita is on a much needed short vacation, and I have attempted to fill her shoes in covering the sentencing. As you all know, for the last three years she has lived and breathed this case and did a herculean job in covering it.

I am lucky. I get up in time before court has started. I'm listening to the live feed from WESH. At first, all they are showing is a view from the hallway outside the courtroom.

It's 5:29 am PT. The only camera live on my computer is the view of the hallway on the 23rd floor. I just saw one of the defense team walk by the hallway camera. I see court personnel, an occasional officer come into camera view.

Now on the WESH live feed, we have commentary.

OCSO is getting ready for the possibility that she will be released.

I did not stay up late last night to hear the one juror who spoke on Nightline.

I see Mason, George. Oh lord. WESH is replaying the reading of verdicts.

Now the talking heads are saying she could have the cost of the trail charged against her.

It's unclear from the statute how much she might owe.

Anthony is inside the courtroom. Here hair is now hanging down loose.

My trial watching friend, LinZbee tells me Juror #3, Ms. Ford spoke on Nightline last night. (I haven't watched the show yet.) Ms. Ford felt that one could not convict if you didn't know how someone died or the motive.

I totally disagree. You don't need to know a motive. You don't need to know how someone died. It's my opinion that often times people don't realize that behavior is evidence, powerful evidence.

On WESH, there are some talking heads discussing the “courage” of these jurors. I'm personally sick of hearing talking heads say these types of things.

Judge Perry takes the bench. The case is called by the clerk.

JP: Let the record reflect the defendant is present along with her counsel and states attorneys. (snip) Are both sides ready to proceed? (snip) Mr. Mason before we proceed, you had asked me to rule on a motion for mistrial?

The defense withdrawals their motion for mistrial.

JP: The defendant is before the court for counts four, five, and six, and legal cause not to proceed with sentencing?

(I think JP at this point, is corrected by the defense that there is also a count seven.)

Only legal cause... (I miss this.) ... no legal cause not to proceed with sentencing.

JP: Would the state care to present any manners relative to aggravation..

LDB: No not on that issue your honor.

JP: Any issue concerning any other matters?

LDB: Your honor, yesterday, day I filed a motion to tax special costs of investigation and prosecution....

Crap. My feed went bad just as LDB started talking. It’s taking me forever to get a feed.

When my feed comes back, Drane Burdick is gone and defense attorney Lisabeth Fryer is arguing prior cases for sentencing.

LF: It’s our assertion that the Hammel (sp?) case is temporal....

Judge Perry asks Ms. Fryer about count number four, lying about her employment. Fryer is arguing that all four instances were part of a single act, so she should be charged for only one act. Judge Perry reviews the case law the defense provided.

Many legal pundits think she will only be sentenced as a single act and will walk free from court today.

JP: One last question. Are you saying that, Ms. Anthony did not have time to pause, reflect, and form a new criminal intent for each one of those four separate acts?

LF: Yes. your honor. That under Hammell there has to be a separation of time, place, or interview.

JP: Response from the State of Florida?

Only provided... LDB, cites other case law.

LDB: It is the states position there is a temporal break between each lies. (snip) During the course over three separate statements. (snip) 1 am 4 am and 1 pm. (snip) Each of the lies are mater to the issue investigated. (snip) each were intended to mislead law enforcement. (To give an example, LDB says) We see this with separate sex acts acted upon a child at the same time, are charged separately.

LDB: Given the fact that there were multiple statements over 12 hours, it is the position of the State that these separate acts do not violate separate double jeopardy.

Drane Burdick brings up another case to the judge.

JP: Does your client wish to say anything before imposing sentence?

CM: No your honor.

JP: The court will make the following finding concerning the defense motion, to bar imposition of sentence, these four state counts as to violating double jeopardy..

JP: Count four. Basically dealt with the following conduct. It is alleged that the defendant was employed at Universal Studios to 2008. This information was given pursuant to the investigation to a missing person’s report. That information caused law enforcement to go to Universal Studios to expend law enforcement resources to determine that in fact Ms. Anthony did not in fact work at Universal.

JP: Count five is, Ms. Anthony informed authorities that she had left her child Caylee Marie Anthoy, at the the Sawgrass apartments with a babysitter. Which caused law enforcement again, as a result of a missing person report, to develop and follow varous leads trying to locate this babysitter commonly known as “Zanny."

JP: Count 6 again, dealt with the fact that she had informed two employees of Universal Studios "Jeff Hopkins" and "Juliet Lewis" of the disappearance of Caylee Marie Anthony.

JP: Count 7, (she) indicated to law enforcement that she had received a call and spoke to Caylee Marie Anthony on July 15th, 2008, at approximately 12 pm, thus causing law enforcement to devote extensive resources.

JP: As a result of those four separate and distinct lies, law enforcement expended a great deal of time, energy and manpower looking for young Caylee Marie Anthony. This search for her went on from July through December, over several months trying to find Caylee Marie Anthony.

JP: Four distinct separate lies. Just as the jury spoke loud and clear on counts one, two and three, they also spoke on loud and clear on counts four, five, six and seven. There being no legal cause shown (that the court) should not impose sentence, and the court having previously judge you to be guilty in the counts four, five, six, seven, I will sentence you to one year in Orange County jail, (for each count) imposing $1,000 fine on each count. All for counts to run consecutively. (snip) Consecutive to each other, giving credit for the time previously served. Mr. Baez, Mr. Mason, we are going to spend some time this morning figuring out her time for credit served, and it’s going to take us probably about an hour to sort it out. (snip) ...because of the previous sentences she has been given.

JP: With the good time and gain time, depending on the preliminary figures, sometime early August, Maybe late July, but I can’t say that until I first determine time served, and the jail applies their good time and gain time. So if you want to wait around, or we can communicate that with you, or if you have a different figure.

JP: I will reserve jurisdiction for 60 days, to determine cost of prosecution and investigation.

So, Casey Anthony gets four years for the four guilty counts.

LDB: I have advised a minimum of 30, so any time after that.

JP: Mason?

(I can’t hear him.)

JP: I’m trying to give you a date now. The week of August 15th, I will not be around. The week of the 22nd, I’m involved in an evidentiary hearing. I have time on the 25th an 26th. Depending on how long, I can fit you in on the week of the 29th, but I’ll have to fit you in. but I’m going to take over Judge Adams division since he’s leaving at the end of the month. I have a week or August 1st, but would have to fit you into that division's regular work.

They are still trying to figure out a return date.

JP: So when would you like the hearing folks?

LDB: Any of those dates would be acceptable.

I'm not clear, but I think they settled on Thursday the 25th of August.

Judge Perry rules she can waive her appearance. Mason waves her appearance. Will impose statutory court costs.

Judge Perry addresses Anthony.

JP: You have a right to appeal the judgement and sentence provided you file a notice with the court. If you can’t afford an attorney to assist in your appeal, (snip) you wish to appeal?

JB: If we could have a moment your honor. (So he can confer to see what Anthony wants to do.)

JP: You may.

JB: We would like to reserve our right to make our decision at a later time.

JP: Does she have the financial where with all, if she decides to appeal to pay for appellate counsel?

I miss the full extent of this answer.

JP: If she decided to do that, make sure she fills out insolvency with the court and bring that, so counsel can be appointed. (snip) If she does not file a timely notice of appeal then she forfeits a right for appeal, but it will be YOUR responsibility to file appropriate appellate paperwork (more that I miss.) with the court.

JP: It will be your responsibility before you are relieved of your responsibility of this case to have those documents filed. Are the any other matters on behalf....any other matters behalf of the state? On behalf of the defense?

Both sides answer no.

JP: Okay. Court will be in recess.

She could be released later this month or early in August.But today is not the day that she walks out of the courtroom.

CNN's blog reported: "Anthony has remained stoic during this portion of the court hearing. She is conferring with her other attorneys as the judge hands down the sentence. But as she prepared to exit the courtroom Casey Anthony let out a tiny smile."

Later, a court representative came out and addressed the media. Her time served had been calculated and Casey Anthony will be released from jail on July 13th, 2011.

July 13th, almost 2 years to the day from the time that the world became aware that little Caylee had already been missing a month.

A Reflection on the Jury Verdict by Sprocket
I was in shock like everyone else when the verdicts were read. The jury obviously did not see the case as the prosecution presented it. But what did they really think?

We finally got to hear from one of the jurors, Juror #3, Jennifer Ford who spoke on Nightline. If you listen to Jennifer, she states that you cannot convict someone of murder if you don't know the cause of death or have a motive for the murder. She stated that the prosecution did not provide the jury with those facts. She also stated that she did not believe the defense case. On the Nightline show, she completely sidestepped the evidence of the duct tape on Caylee's skull. She never addressed it. She also stated she didn't know what to think about the chloroform. She basically didn't know about that.

After hearing a short clip of Jennifer speak, here are my thoughts.

Like lie detection expert EYES FOR LIES, I was blown away that the jury totally discounted the defense case. That even though the defense in their opening statement presented to the jury that this was an accident, that the defendant was at the home and involved in an accident with her daughter, they totally discounted that when considering a verdict.

I think this jury was totally taken in by the CSI effect. They were unable to make any type of conclusion about Casey Anthony's post-incident behavior and wanted all the evidence tied up for them in a neat package. In my opinion, that's what the CSI effect is. They wanted to know when she died, where she died and how she died before they were willing to convict. It shows us a jury that is unable to analyze evidentiary behavior critically, and come to a conclusion about it. This jury also rejected the prosecution's motive that was presented to them. I believe they rejected it because they didn't understand it.

Even though Casey Anthony lied to every person in her immediate orbit, law enforcement officers, the general public and beyond about having a job, where she was doing what when, having a "Zanny the nanny" and a kidnapping, that behavior by Casey Anthony was rejected by the jury as having any weight as evidence that a crime had been committed. They basically said, Casey Anthony's post incident behavior means nothing without a motive or cause of death.

Even though the prosecution presented strong evidence that there was a dead body and high traces of chloroform in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car, they still could not come to the conclusion that a dead body had been placed inside it. Even though the prosecution presented powerful evidence that three pieces of duct tape were attached to the child's skull, mandible and hair, the jury did not see that as evidence that a crime had taken place. Many of us are wondering what person in their right mind could think that how and where little Caylee ended up, in plastic bags, in a swam, with duct tape wrapped around her head was the result of an "accident?" To me, this tells me that this juror, and most likely the rest of the jurors were unable to connect the dots and put the pieces of evidence together.

When you have jurors that are unable to make reasonable conclusions about post-incident behavior and powerful scientific evidence this is the type of verdict you get.

I also believe that some of the blame has to rest on the shoulders of the prosecutors, who I do think did an excellent job presenting the evidence. Is it possible that the prosecution team, so sure of their understanding of the evidence and what it would prove, had a bit of tunnel vision that the evidence could only be interpreted one way? Because I did not see all of the prosecution's closing arguments I do not know if the prosecution spent any time addressing the "unknown" issues to the jury, or presented compelling arguments refuting the defense theory of an accident.

I'm reminded of the OJ Simpson case. The defense theory proposed that OJ Simpson was framed by the LAPD. There was absolutely no evidence to support that, but they hammered home that possibility. According to former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi in his book Outrage, stated that in closing arguments Marsha Clark spent about two sentences in her entire closing argument on the defense theory of a frame up. That's it. The prosecution was so certain of their evidence proving guilt, they didn't think it was necessary to spend any time refuting in arguments the defense theory.

As like ritanita said in her last entry, I don't think I wasted any of my time following this case. With every case we follow, there is something to be learned from the experience. I've learned quite a bit about Florida law during this case thank's to the open courtrooms and Florida's "Sunshine Laws." This case also reaffirmed my belief that, regardless of what evidence is presented, you can never predict was a jury will do (or an appellate court for that matter), because juries will surprise you. This jury certainly did.

Postscript. I highly recommend reading an excellent analysis of Casey Anthony's behavior over at or fellow blogger Valhall's site, The Hinky Meter. Although it was written over a year ago, it's spot on in identifying Casey as an "Eraser" killer, like author Marilee Strong outlines in her book, Erased.

Did the CSI effect sway this jury?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Verdict Watch Day 2


Casey Anthony gets to live the "Bella Vita" as a jury acquits her on all counts, with the exception of the four counts of lying to the police.

Her sentencing will be this Thursday, July 7, at 9 AM.


I'll be keeping a journal of the jury deliberations. To know the latest, check back during the day. I am following Bill Sheaffer live on WFTV.

8:30 AM: Judge Belvin Perry called court to order. He called for the jury and immediately sent them out to deliberate. Jose Baez arrived too late for the brief proceedings. Cheney Mason spoke for the defense. Casey was very animated and spoke with the guards and Dorothy Sims.

1:25 PM The jury didn't ask to see any videos, they had no questions for Judge Perry. But they have a verdict!

Anthony Trial: How Would You Vote

How would you vote, it you were a juror?

There are several polls below to show the various counts before the jury. If you were inside that courtroom, how would you vote?




1. Special Finding Count 3

2. Special Finding Count 3



Monday, July 4, 2011

Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Day 35 Closing Arguments

Happy 4th of July everyone! For once I am happy that my husband and I never travel on holidays. Our 4th will be the same as always. We have a barbeque for two capped off by a walk around the corner to watch the fireworks that are set off in the park just across the street from us. Ten years ago, we would just watch them over the trees from our back porch, but the trees have grown so much, we walk around the corner for an unobstructed view. Meanwhile, we will get to watch the fireworks in Judge Perry's courtroom as Linda Drane Burdick gives her rebuttal closing. I always remember Bill Sheaffer's comment that she uses a surgical knife to carefully dissect a witness. I expect her to do the same thing today with the defense's closing yesterday. Jury instructions will be read and the members of the jury will have to make one of the most difficult decisions of their lives. Let's hope they sift through all the evidence to come to a just verdict.

Judge Perry entered the courtroom at 8:30 sharp. Both sides had received copies of the final instructions. Mr. Baez wanted to clarify an issue. He was saying that he objected to the state having Ms. Burdick doing the rebuttal. He was of the opinion that it was not done as the court order indicated.

Perry stated that if she went beyond the rebuttal, all he would have to do is object.

Surprisingly, Jeff Ashton began speaking first. They split the rebuttal. Ashton addressed the science. He wanted to take a more measured and complex approach, indicating that Baez used a simplistic version. He said that, in a dispute between experts, it is up to the jurors to decide what they believe from what the experts said. He then isolated the science by subject matter.

The first was the forensic pathology and anthropology. He started by saying they heard from Dr. Garavaglia, Dr. Utz, Dr. Schultz, Dr. Michael Warren, and Dr. Werner Spitz.

All of them agreed that there is nothing in the bones that told us anything about how Caylee died. They also agreed that, because of the way the body decomposes, the mandible and the skull should not be together. They agreed that the skull and mandible were in anatomical position as if there were flesh holding them together.

Drs. Garavaglia, Utz, Shultz, and Warren all agreed that the only thing that could have held them together was the tape. The one who had the most experience, in Sarajevo testified that the only skulls with the mandibles intact were the ones that were duct-taped together.

Dr. Spitz' alternative was that someone else had come along afterwards, took the skull and the mandible someplace else, duct taped them together, and brought them back and put them in the spot they were found. Ashton pointed out that his findings were inconsistent with the fact that the duct tape was as degraded as the body. Then, there was the issue of the hair, Dr. Spitz blamed it on the ME's office faking the evidence.

The other difference of opinion was about the necessity to open the skull. Spitz said that since Dr. Garavaglia didn't, he called the autopsy sloppy. On cross, he could not say where there was any protocol. He finally he admitted there wasn't such a protocol.

Dr. Warren indicated it was not necessary to open a skull unnecessarily. It is not sloppy, it fact, it is dangerous to open the skull with a child, because the skull can fracture. Dr. Spitz said he didn't recall fracturing the skull, and he did.

They disagreed on the issue of "brain dust" or residue. Spitz said he could tell by looking at it, he knew it was and indicated the position the skull had originally rested. Dr. Goldberger did the saline wash and testified that it was not what Spitz said it was. Dr. Spitz had a problem with the arrangement of the hair mass based on this theory. Spitz had said that it was important to know the circumstances surrounding the death. Dr. Spitz didn't know much at all. His fund of information was insufficient to make a decision in the case.

The entomological evidence was next. They heard from Dr. Neil Haskell who had practiced 30 years in the field. They heard about Timothy Huntington, who is a bright young man, but had only been practicing for about three years.

They agreed that the evidence at the scene indicated that the body initially decomposed in some other location where the original flies could not get to her. She was then dumped in the swampy area. They both agreed it took place between June and July.

They only diverged on the single issue. They disagreed as to whether the trunk would have excluded the original colonizing flies. Haskell said it was, Huntington said it wasn't, even though he'd never dealt with a dead body in a trunk in real world conditions. He did one experiment with the pigs to decide. It was up to the jury to decide the credibility of these two experts.

Ashton next addressed the chloroform. The jury needed to understand what they were testing and what their perspective was. Ashton explained that Drs. Vass and Dr. Wise are used to looking at environmental air samples. Based on that experience, Wise said that the amount of chloroform was high. Dr. Vass studied decomposiing bodies and had found chloroform before, but not at those high levels. In addition, Dr. Wise explained why the quantification had no meaning because chloroform is a volatile gas.

Dr. Rickenbach tested a similar sample out of a can, and also the spare tire cover out of the box. He told the jury he actually found chloroform in that. She was surprised he found anthing at all. He found a much greater amount of chloroform in the sealed can. His amounts were equivalent to what Dr. Vass found, parts per million. Rickenbach had only studied liquid chloroform before. He said he found detectible amounts of chloroform in a car. It was the first time they had seen this. The amount of chloroform in the trunk was much less than would have been there a month before. The Anthony's aired out the car. There has been no evidence to explain where it came for and why. (objection/overruled)

Dr. Sigmond tested the trunk air four days after the liner had been removed. His method of capture was not as good as what Dr. Vass had used and he found chloroform in the air. He also testified that, by-products of chloroform formation were not found in the car. There were no constituents of dry cleaner material, for example. All that was found was chloroform and elements of human decomposition.

The expert testimony on the odor of decomposition was next. The defense's primary attack on Dr. Vass was about his "sniffer machine" and, if it were sold in the private sector, he and the other inventors would split 15% of the minimal royalties.

Ashton stressed that Dr. Vass is an unapologetic science geek who loves to solve scientific problems! Counsel sneered at Vass for his dowsing experiments. But, perhaps Dr. Vass is on to something. He urged the jury to judge him not by what the defense said about him, but by what testified to in court.

Dr. Vass and Dr. Furton both agreed that the science has not reached the point where they have a signature for the odor of decomposition. Dr. Furton agreed that the odor was possible human remains. Dr. Vass said that when he combined his science and experience, he recognized the odor of human decomposition when he opened the can.

Ashton said that Dr. Furton's other explanation was not plausible. He showed him the garbage which demonstrated that it was not the cause of the odor in the car.

In Baez’ closing, he accused the officers of removing food items from the garbage. The only food in the bag of was a small remnant of cheese. Dr. Furton agreed that the small amount of cheese could cause the odor that lasted two years. Ashton told the jury that the odor was not from garbage, it was from Caylee.

Ashton went on to say that the he defense presented non-DNA evidence. The FBI expert said she didn't expect to find any on the tape that had been on the body for six months. The defense called Dr. Eikelenboom, who gave his report two days before he testified, said only said that he thought he might be able to find some. He also agreed that the two most destructive things which would destroy DNA were moisture and heat.

The defense called ten other witnesses who testified to non-results which were meaningless.

Ashton then moved on to the hair experts. They said that there was an artifact only found in decomposing bodies. Since they didn’t know what causes it, they could only say what they thought, that it was consistent with a dead person.

To say there is no link between Casey Anthony and the death ignored all this testimony.

Ashton gave his version of reasonable doubt. He went through the defense reasons given by Mason yesterday. First was the duct tape. The defense connected the duct tape to the Anthony home. They agreed with that. If George Anthony had decided, for some reason, to put duct tape on Caylee's face and put her in the woods, the defense asserted that, on the 24th, he deliberately notified police of the theft of the duct tape on it to implicate his daughter. It didn’t make sense.

People don't make accidents look like murder. It's absurd. (objection/sustained)

When Caylee did turn up missing, the defense said that George didn't tell the police about the gas can missing. If he had wanted to implicate his daughter, he would have done it.

The police took the gas can, photographed it, and give it back to him. At that point, George Anthony stuck it in the garage and ignored it for four months. In December, when the body was found by the police, they took it into evidence.

George (the nefarious criminal) then took the incriminating duct tape to hang posters! It didn't make any sense, it was patently absurd. (Baez objected every time Ashton used the word absurd/overruled.)

Ashton then addressed the alleged drowning. George Anthony testified it didn't happen. Ms. Anthony was also given the opportunity to adopt that, and rejected it twice.

Counsel also asserted that the crime scene was staged. Baez said that George was connected to the tape and, in opening statements, the defense said that Kronk had used the tape. Kronk had only read their meter once and had no connection to the house.

Ashton put up a photograph of the site on December 11, 2008. The only thing that staged the scene was Mother Nature herself. There were vines growing around and through everything at the scene. The skull was not moved for six months, possibly less if animals used it.

The defense said that Roy Kronk took the remains. Dr. Schultz showed the grouping of the bones. It demonstrated how the body was disarticulated during decomposition. (objection/overruled) They showed that animals had chewed on the bones. They were not scattered by Roy Kronk, but by animals and acts of nature. Ashton showed other evidence photos to show that the hair and skull hadn't moved much, if at all.

The duct tape in another photograph showed that leaf litter had covered parts of it as it was wrapped around the mandible. It didn't just get washed there by water. It was there because Casey Anthony put it there. When the tape was lifted away from the mandible, there were strings that went under the mandible. It wasn't a coincidence, an accident, or water. It was a deliberate placing of the duct tape over the mouth and nose. The scene was not staged. It appeared as it was due to forces of nature.

The state did not call Roy Kronk because his testimony of what he did was embellished, he spun a good yarn. They didn't put him up because his story was incredible. However, Ashton said that Kronk found the skull in August and tried to report it three times and was blown off by the police. The calls to his son were to impress him to help build the relationship. Kronk told a very dramatic story about the skull rolling out. It wasn't true. It was impossible. But, that didn't make him a morally bankrupt individual who would take Caylee's skull home and play with it.

Ashton explained about the two ways Casey could be found guilty of murder in the 1st degree. There were 1st degree and felony murder.

(Mason objected/misstatement of the law/Ashton was reading from the law/overruled.)

He also explained that the jury could have different opinions on 1st degree murder and reach a unanimous decision.

Ashton told the jury that they can reconstruct the events in any way they want. He then explained felony murder. There were two objections which were overruled. Ashton did a great job of providing the jury with various scenarios related to the case to show felony murder.

Ashton went on to talk about George. The jury saw hours of video tape of the family. He asked if there was anything in them that showed anything but a loving father and grandfather. He was perplexed as to why Casey wouldn't tell him anything. He was supportive of her and Casey called him a good father and a great grandfather. Nothing there showed a cover-up.

Most of Casey's conflict was with her mother. George was the thumb, he was not the Machiavellian monster the defense claimed he was. When Baez asked about the suicide letter, he asked if George felt guilt. Then, Baez said it wasn't a real suicide attempt. Ashton said that all George wanted to be with his granddaughter. This man was in pain. Through his handwriting, you could see the deterioration of his handwriting as the drugs and alcohol took effect. Ashton then read a few lines from the letter to focus the jury on what George was feeling at the time.

Ms. Burdick would speak next after a 15 minute recess.

Baez had a brief issue about the computer searches. It was about the Sci-spot hits and the inconsistencies between Net Analysis and Cacheback. They believed the Cacheback information is erroneous and false. They want the state to clarify this in their rebuttal. Ms. Burdick indicated that Mr. Baez had already put that in front of the jury. Judge Perry said they should provide the appropriate motion at the appropriate time. He can't chase after it.

The jury was returned and Ms. Burdick began her rebuttal.

She went into the advantages and disadvantages to being the last to speak. The advantage was that she was the last to speak before the judge tells the law. The disadvantage was that the jury was ready to deliberate after hearing from lawyers for so many hours. She asked them to indulge her for a few moments to get their final thoughts in. She wouldn't be getting out posters or pyrotechnics, it wasn't her style.

Burdick stated that when she gave her opening, she meant what she said. She made no promises she didn't keep. Through the testimony and exhibits, the state has proven all the charges against Casey Marie Anthony.

Mr. Baez had indicated that the jury would be asked to make decisions on emotion. She said that they would not do that. While it was an emotionally charged case, they would only ask them to make their decision on the testimony of the witnesses and the exhibits. She said that her biggest fear was that common sense would be lost in all the rhetoric of the case. She was fearful that they wouldn’t step back and take the evidence as a whole.

Mr. Baez talked about rabbit holes (objection/sustained). We want you to take the evidence as a whole. Mr. Baez, in his closing remarks used words like liar, perjurer, fraudulent. The trial is supposed to be a search for the truth. It is lying that perverts that process. During an argument, when the biggest liar (Casey Anthony through her attorneys) ever seen in a courtroom lies, the irony is rich indeed. (objection/overruled)

Accusing other people of lying is classic Casey Anthony. When she wanted to get the attention off herself, she lied about others. She had spent years lying. Mr. Baez had argued that the 31 days mean nothing.

Ms. Burdick said that a lie told convincingly, is still a lie. The defendant through counsel accused Yuri Melich, Jason Forgey, Gerardo Bloise, Dr. Vass and many of the witnesses of being liars.

She indicated that the OCSO was desperate in this case. If there was anything the people in the OSCO was desperate about, it was to find a little girl. They labored for hours to find her. They were joined by the FBI, FDLE, TES, citizens in looking for her. It was in vain. Even her parents were searching in vain.

False allegations of child abduction are not new. Such allegations drains resources away from the perpetrator, it buys the perpetrator more time. When Cindy Anthony went to pick her up, Casey Anthony said to her mother was that she wanted one more day. When she told her brother about the kidnaping, it was to buy time and draw attention away from herself.

Baez put of pictures of the sheriff’s deputies at the house that night, saying they took no action about the car. The police that night, had no reason to think Caylee Anthony was dead. The defendant was telling them she was alive and she asked for their help in finding her. The episode of her being handcuffed ended "like that" because they were there to help her find Caylee.

At Universal the three detectives said to her that they wanted to help her find her daughter and asked why she was lying. Casey was buying time, like she had done with her parents, her brother, and her friends.

The 31 days were meaningless? Mr. Baez had said that they went more to prove that the state wanted to prove she was a slut?

Law enforcement was trying to backtrack where she said she was conducting her own investigation. They were using her cell phone to try and track down Zenaida. As they backtracked, it became more and more apparent that the defendant was lying about everything. She asked the jurors to look at her 4 page statement, the only truth was Caylee's birth date.

The defense had stated that everybody grieves differently. It may be true, but responses to guilt are also predictable. What do guilty people do? They lie, they avoid, they run, they mislead their own family and the police. They divert attention from themselves and act like nothing is wrong. What she was doing was in no way indicative of grief. It was not indicative of someone who lost her child in an accident.

Casey said in the jail tapes that this was a time of desperation for her. She had no way to leave the area and she only wanted to stay away from her family. Her friends were easy to placate with lies.
Casey was running away from her family who would want to know where Caylee was. Her actions and responses during those 31 days answer the only question that remains. Who killed Caylee?

The question was no longer where Caylee was. The question was no longer what happened to Caylee. The only question was who killed Caylee. For the longest time, Caylee was alive, until her remains were found.

Casey's imaginary friends were lies. They were lies to for a specific purpose, to get Casey out of a jam. For the longest time, Caylee was alive, until her remains are found.

(Baez asked for sidebar/denied)

Once she was dead, there was a theory that it was and accident. There was no accident. On July 16, 2008, the detectives asked if Caylee could have had an accident (audio of the Universal interview). Mr. Baez suggested that the OCSO had murder on their minds. The jury just heard that suggestion made to Casey and she denied the possibility. Cindy suggested the pool scenario on August 16. (video visitation) When Caylee Anthony was found dead, surprise, surprise, it was an accident.

No one would ever make the accidental death of a child look like murder. Her behavior during the 31 days was inconsistent with an accident. Ms. Burdick went back to Dr. Garavaglia's testimony that parents whose kids have accidents call 911.

The defense brought up the fact that Casey was an amazing mother. Ms. Burdick debunked the idea since the friends had only seen her for short periods of time. Feeding and sheltering and clothing a child do not made a good mother, they make an adequate mother. In fact, however, it was the grandparents who provided for Caylee, not her mother. Burdick said the amazing mother was the one who tried to protect her child, even in death.

If it were an accident, Caylee would have been found floating in a pool, not in a swamp. If George Anthony had been home, he would have called 911, have tried CPR. He never would have scooped her into a bag and thrown her in the woods.

This argument of Casey being an amazing mother could not be followed to any logical conclusion. The way the remains were found showed complete indifference to the child. It showed how the person who disposed of her really felt about her.

She then showed a picture of the yard and spoke of how George Anthony landscaped it for her. He put a floor in the playhouse so Caylee wouldn't have to sit on the ground where and insect could crawl on her. In the jail videos, George tried over and over again to get Casey to talk to law enforcement, the FBI. Why would he want his co-conspirator to talk to the cops?

The phone call that Casey made to her parents July 16, 2008 (objection/overruled) showed the real Casey. (audio)

Ms. Burdick said that when you use your common sense, you will know that Casey Anthony is a pathological liar. In the call, all she wanted was Tony's number and to cuss out her parents.

Casey Anthony was the only one to have access to every piece of evidence: the duct tape, the laundry bag, the blanket, the shorts, the car. There was no evidence that anybody else used that car. She texted Amy Huizenga that her father had run over a dead animal fifteen minutes before leaving it at Amscot. She left the trash bag as a decoy. The car was backed in next to the dumpster, which was another decoy to keep people away from the car.

George Anthony had no way to know where to find her car. They didn't know where she was or where the car was.

Finally, the shirt that said Big Trouble Comes In Small Packages. It wasn't one Cindy Anthony was familiar with, she never washed it. It was kept in the car, in the diaper bag or the backpack. She wore in at Ricardo Morales' apartment.

Someone killed Caylee Anthony. It wasn't George Anthony, he didn't have access to everything, Casey did. He did not try to cover up and lie.

Burdick then threw Casey into the mix concerning leaving the ladder down. Casey was twisting the knife in both her parents’ backs. Cindy and George were at home, at work, and missing their granddaughter. Where was Casey? She wasn't at home. She was at Tony's, but lied to her mother. Where's Caylee? Caylee's dead in the woods.

All the jury had to ask was who's life was better without Caylee? Was Cindy Anthony's life better? (911 call) Was George Anthony's life better? Mr. Ashton told the jury about that. Who's life was better? That's all you have to answer when Caylee Anthony's body was left by the road, dead. There's your answer. (pictures)