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Casey Anthony Trial | Day 25 – Daily Updates (Thoughts & Observations)

By Martie Hevia | Blue Beach Song™

[Updated: June 23, 2011 | 9:18 a.m. PT]
(PRELIMINARY POST: Still Updating Minor Details from my Trial Notes)

| | Introduction | | Summaries | | Daily Updates | | Thoughts | | Resources | |

Day 25 – June 22, 2011 – Wednesday

The Defense’s List of Witnesses for June 22, 2011

  • First Defense Witness: Maureen Bottrell – Geologist Forensic Examiner for the FBI.
  • Second Defense Witness: Madeline Montgomery – Forensic Toxicologist for the FBI.
  • Third Defense Witness: Dr. Michael Sigman – Faculty at the University of Central Florida, with a PhD in Chemistry.
  • Fourth Defense Witness: Susan Mears – Crime Scene Supervisor with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
  • Fifth Defense Witness: Dr. Michael Rickenbach – Forensic Chemist Examiner with the FBI.
  • Sixth Defense Witness: Karin Korsberg Lowe – Hair and Fiber Examiner with the FBI.

The Defense’s Witnesses:
A Whole Lot of Nothing

In a nut shell, the Defense brought six experts to testify that they had found nothing and the Prosecution countered that it didn’t mean anything.

The Defense brought in a geologist forensic examiner for the FBI who had been given different items that might possibly contain geologic materials for her to examine and match to the soil at the recovery site, but for various reasons there were no matches found. The prosecutor pointed out that the shoes may have been cleaned or not used to go to that site, and the examiner agreed.

An FBI forensic toxicologist conducted tests to find drug evidence in Caylee’s hair, but none was found. The prosecutor pointed out that you cannot test for chloroform in someone’s hair, and if you immediately die of some drug you are given, it will not show up in the hair, and the examiner agreed.

The University of Central Florida professor testified to testing the air samples in the trunk and finding the prominent profile to be for gasoline, although he did find very small quantities of three compounds listed in Dr. Vass’s list of compounds found in decomposing bodies. The prosecutor pointed out that when he tested the air from the trunk it was four days after the trunk liner had been removed, and the professor admitted not knowing that, and conceded that the methods he used were inferior and not as sensitve as the ones Dr. Vass used.

Dr. Rickenback, a forensic chemist examiner for the FBI, testified to not finding chloroform on the samples he took from the steering wheel cover in Casey Anthony’s car, or from Caylee’s car seat, or from Caylee’s doll. He also did not find chloroform in the liquid found in a Gatorade bottle which was located near Caylee’s skull, nor in the liquid in the syringe that was in the bottle.

Finally, the Defense called Karin Korsberg Lowe, Hair and Fiber examiner for the FBI, to testify that she did not find any decomposition in any of the hairs that she was given to analyze, outside of the one single hair found in Casey Anthony’s trunk that showed signs of decomposition and root-banding.

Ms. Lowe also testified that the duct tape found at the recovery site and the duct tape found at the Anthony home were not consistent with each other. [I would assume this could only help George Anthony, even though it came out under the direct examination, because if the duct tape he used to patch up his metal gas can was dissimilar to the one on Caylee, then it fails to substantiate the Defense’s claims that he helped cover up the accident.]

Maureen Bottrell

The first witness, Maureen Bottrell, a geologist examiner with the FBI for 16 years, testified that after comparing soil samples from the trunk of the car, from the shovel, from shoes, and from the bag that transported the shoes, to known samples from the recovery site of the remains, the results were inconclusive. The reason being that either the soil samples, as in the case of the trunk, were mixed samples from different sites; or there was insufficient or complete lack of geologic material to test. The prosecutor made the point that the absence of soil is meaningless as to establishing if someone was at a site or not.

Madeline Montgomery

The second witness, was FBI forensic toxicologist, Madeline Montgomery, who tested the Q59 hair sample that came from Caylee Anthony’s remains. She described the two techniques she used to analyze the hair for a number of chemicals and drugs that are used in helping people sleep or in date rape drugs, or in surgeries, and all the results were negative. She explained that they are not always able to detect a drug in the hair, even in control studies where they know that a certain amount of drug has been given and you are often unable to know how many times a person may have taken or may have been given a drug. Prosecutor Ashton pointed out that it is not possible to test hair samples for chloroform and he asked, “If someone was exposed to something and died immediately, it would not show up in the hair at all?” And she replied, “No, it wouldn’t.”

Dr. Michael Sigman

The third witness, Dr. Michael Sigman from the University of Central Florida, talked about the testing he did on the air samples he collected from the trunk of Casey’s car. He talked in great detail about the air samples he collected, as well as the instruments and the methods used to collect and analyze them. In the end, Dr. Sigman concluded that the principal profile was gasoline.

During cross-examination, Mr. Ashton asked Dr. Sigman if he knew that the trunk liner was removed four days prior to him getting the air samples and he replied that he did not know that. Mr. Ashton also had the doctor explain how small of a sample he tested, 250 micro-liters, and how the techniques he used, although the only ones he had available to him, were inferior to the triple-sorbent traps that were preferred and later used by Dr. Vass. These traps, that were not used in his testing, make use of air pumps to send air through three carbon traps, allowing for larger volumes of air to be sent through the traps, in the ballpark of 30 liters.

Susan Mears

The fourth witness was Susan Mears, a crime scene supervisor for the Orange County Sheriff’s department, who was only there to identify photos the Defense wanted to introduce into evidence. The photos were of a red Disney bag and a Gatorade bottle. She was asked how far away these items had been from the skull and she replied 7 inches. The prosecutor had no questions.

Dr. Michael Rickenbach

The fifth witness, Dr. Michael Rickenbach, Forensic Chemist Examiner for the FBI, testified to the liquids he tested in the syringe and the Gator bottle, which seemed to contain testosterone and some kind of a cleaning liquid. Dr. Rickenbach also tested for chloroform on the steering wheel cover, the car seat and Caylee’s doll, however, chloroform could not be detected in those items.

Karin Korsberg Lowe

The sixth defense witness was Karin Korsberg Lowe, a hair and fiber examiner with the FBI. She, too, testified to not finding anything. Specifically she was sent hundreds of hairs to test for decomposition and found none, other than the one single hair found in the trunk of Casey’s car. The rest of the hairs came from the car, the Anthony home, the medical examiner’s office and the recovery site, and she did not find any additional decomposing hairs. There was one unidentified Caucasian hair found at the recovery site that was dissimilar from Caylee Anthony, Casey Anthony and most of the known crime scene investigation personnel.

There was one significant find, the duct tape from the recovery scene did not match those found in the Anthony home. The duct tape fibers from each of the two sites were compared and they were not a match. The fabrics were woven and the horizontal and vertical fibers were compared: the horizontal fibers in the duct tape from the residence contained polyester and cotton, whereas the horizontal fibers from the duct tape at the recovery site only contained polyester.

Final Thoughts

After watching a week’s worth of the Defense’s witnesses and presentation, my final thoughts are in wondering: Where is the the connection to their opening statement allegations?

By this point, I expected to have seen the Defense present witnesses and evidence that supported their version of events: that Caylee drowned; that Casey was abused since the age of eight; that the grandfather pulled her out of the pool and helped hide or dispose of the body; that the man who found her body had put it in the woods after finding it elsewhere in August of 2008; and so on. Where is that evidence to bolster the Defense’s allegations?

Instead, we find them arguing over everything, disputing all evidence, even when there seems to be no need to do so, even when the evidence as presented by the Prosecution could fit in with their version of events. Why argue the duct tape evidence, if you allege that George put it there? Why argue that the body was dumped in the woods, when that may be where George dumped it?

Why not begin with something that will get the jury on your side, something that shows them your version is the true version?

For the defense of Casey Anthony, it seems unfortunate that they chose to complicate the story beyond saying it was an accident. Involving the grandfather in the story, only made it less credible. Why would a former detective, who adored his granddaughter, by all accounts, not perform CPR, not call 911? Why would he be begging his daughter after her arrest to talk to the police or to the FBI so that they can help them find Caylee before her third birthday?

The Defense may have lost an opportunity to argue that an accident occurred, by presenting a theory that they cannot support. Will the jury believe it was an accident when there have been so many lies?

What are your thoughts?

Casey Anthony Trial | Day 25 – Daily Updates (Thoughts & Observations) – Coming Soon

Martie Hevia © 2011 | All Rights Reserved

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Evans permalink
    2012-September-6 3:47 PM

    The toxicologist is as crokked as they come. Look at the number she pulled in Panama in the murder of a cop

    • 2012-September-6 4:50 PM

      Hi Evans, I had not heard about that. I’ll have to look that up on the Internet. Thanks for sharing! -Martie

  2. 2011-July-3 10:59 PM

    I hope someone figures this out–the cotton fibers in the duct tape from Caylee’s body were decomposed and gone! This does not mean that the two samples of taper are different, it just means the tape at the scene of the body had decomposed and cotton, being organic, decomposed and was gone. The only fiber left in that sample would have been the polyester, just as the sample at the home.

    • 2011-July-4 6:45 AM

      Completely agree with you Shannon! The prosecutor made that point yesterday in closing arguments. -Martie

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