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June 4, 2011

15

air and hair today

by Andrea O'Connell

It’s Saturday and the first witness on the stand this morning was Karen Korsberg Lowe, an FBI, forensic evidence examiner.  She specializes in the examination of microscopic hair samples.  She was an excellent witness for the State, by the way.

Her testimony concerned the collection of hair from the trunk of the Pontiac Sunfire driven by Casey Anthony.

Among the 12 samples of hair collected, one piece of light brown hair, nine inches in length, is consistent with post-mortem hair banding or a marking on the root of hair that indicates it came from the head of a decomposing body.

The One Hair

This one hair, the hair from Caylee Anthony, has been tested and not only shows the type of “post-mortem banding” one would see on a hair from a decomposed body, further tests concluded that Caylee Anthony cannot be excluded as the source of the hair, but Casey can.

We heard from Karen Lowe during the Frye hearings in this case.  At that time, the questioning of the witness was conducted by Defense Attorney Dorothy Sims, and it was not in the least bit successful.

Today, Jose Baez handled the cross examination of Karen Lowe, and Baez was hardly convincing because Ms. Lowe was as consistent with Baez as she was with Jeff Ashton during direct examination as to her findings.

Ms. Lowe explained to the jurors that identification of a person cannot be made from the examination of hair; but the appearance of this particular coloration and banding of the hair is consistent with decomposing bodies, though it is unknown if the discoloration might be apparent in another type of situation.  She goes on to say that the post-mortem banding characteristics have never been seen in anything other than a decomposing body.

This is very damning evidence for the defense, and Baez tried hard to degrade the science, and Ms. Lowe’s experience.

During the Frye hearing on this topic, Judge Perry ruled the evidence admissible.  In his order he said,

In People v. Kogut, expert witnesses testified that post-mortem hair banding occurs only when the hair begins to decompose inside the hair follicle, while still on the head of the deceased.  These witnesses further testified that the technique for identifying post-mortem root hair banding was generally accepted in the relevant scientific community of criminologists who are involved in trace evidence analysis, a group that includes FBI, medical examiners, and police laboratories.

Here is the Order from Judge Perry with regards to the admissibility of the evidence, and from which the above quote can be found:  Hair Banding Order (Frye)

The Air

The next witness was Mike Vincent, who is an assistance supervisor with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, in the crime scene unit.  Vincent testified about the methodology used in the collection of various samples of air from the White Pontiac passenger side area, the trunk, and the Bay area itself.

Presumably, this lays the foundation for the testimony of Dr. Arpad Vass of the Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

Dr. Vass was a compelling witness in the Frye hearings with regards to the topic of the odor of decomposition, and the finding of exceedingly high levels of chloroform from the sample taken from the trunk of the car.

It is not looking any better for Casey Anthony today.

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jun 4 2011

    Ok, good write-up! I would add that that one hair is crucial being as it was found in the trunk which puts Caylee there, much to Baez’ chagrin. The nine other hairs-were they found in the trunk, too? If so, they didn’t have the banding because only one did, right?

    Reply
    • Jun 4 2011

      Hi Sherry! Yup, you’re right. She examined 12 hairs, all from the trunk of the car, one of which had the banding. Yeah, Baez is poo-pooing the fact it was only one. Ah, one is enough…. He knows how damaging this is to his case. What other decomposing body was in Casey’s trunk?

      Reply
      • Weezie
        Jun 4 2011

        How about, Caylee was in that trunk more than once. I’m thinking she was put sleep and left in the trunk more times than once, the last time was TOO LATE. The chloroform was used instead of the Xanax in the last few outings. The pool has nothing to do with this whatsoever. I think Casey might have tried to bury her in the backyard after borrowing the shovel but realized it was too hard and too risky. That’s why the dogs hit on the playhouse. She took Caylee out of the trunk and then moved her back in, took off and I don’t know how long she kept her in there, but long enough to decomose, before dumping her in the woods. That’s just my guess.

      • Weezie
        Jun 4 2011

        sorry for the spelling errors.

      • Jun 5 2011

        You may be right, though it’s difficult to know just how it transpired. I wonder if Caylee was placed in the trunk first then placed behind her playhouse – giving Casey time to figure out what to do. Then, later, maybe the shovel was used to try to bury her further? Then, maybe the second time she came to the home, she bagged her and placed her in the trunk and disposed her like trash in the woods.
        Oh dear God, it’s so awful to think of…..

  2. offthecuff
    Jun 4 2011

    I think Baez was intimating that the hair could’ve been planted or journeyed there via gas can, which as we all know was key in this case because of the duct tape that we were instructed to follow.

    It will be interesting to see how Baez continues to tie all his allegations together, although it will ultimately be impossible. I wouldn’t be surprised if after this trial he contacts the ACLU for minority mistreatment as he has felt the judge has ruled against him nearly 100%.

    I’m sure the state will prepare Kronk as it has done the Anthonys in this case. He will have difficult days ahead, but all he has to do is give one answer and rile Jose by looking toward the jury, not stressing out, and keep stating he considers himself an upstanding guy.

    Reply
    • Jun 5 2011

      Hi Offthecuff!

      I bet you’re right about the “follow the duct tape” bit of his disturbed theory of the case. Of course, what he doesn’t seem to realize that unlike himself and his lawyers (with the exception of FInnell), jurors have common sense and are seekers of the truth. The SA would argue that Caylee’s body would have to be decomposing in the shed for her hair to be attached to the duct tape on the gas can.
      LOL @ ACLU!!!

      And, I think you’re right about Kronk – I think he’ll be just fine as he doesn’t seem to be intimidated by anyone. I have listened to his interviews with LE quite a few times and he’s very forthcoming, doesn’t mince words, and is believable… to me anyway!
      Of course, Baez will try to bring up his wives and what they said about him, his appearances in the media, his supposed predilection for duct tape…. Baez will be awful to him and it will backfire as far as the jury goes, so that’s a good thing!

      Reply
  3. Jun 4 2011

    Hi, ya’ll!

    I will not be around on Monday. 😦

    My job is asking me to go to the north office once a week. They don’t seem to understand the need for me to remain glued to my computer and TV for trial. Selfish of them I know but I do owe allegiance to them since they were so very good to me before, during and after my surgery.

    sigh

    Reply
    • Jun 5 2011

      Hey Kimmie, My job always gets in the way of this case, too, darn it! But… I have a day off tomorrow! I’ll keep you posted about news of the day in Orlando… I will be glued to it (in between errands).

      Reply
  4. TanLoves Caylee
    Jun 4 2011

    Andrea, thanks so much for your input! I am a lurker because my heart belongs to HO, but you are so very astute and I enjoy your thoughts.
    I have pledged myself to this trial for three years, and cannot imagine how tired this jury is, already! They will never know as much as we Caylee defenders know. I hope they can wade through all the bs to the truth of the matter. The dt’s only hope it to confuse and delay- the only hing they do well,

    Reply
    • Jun 5 2011

      Hi TanLoves Caylee! Oh my, I love Humble Opinion, too! I’m so pleased that you’re a lurker here, and thank you for your comments!! 🙂 I was thinking the same thing as you while watching yesterday – the DT, Baez in particular, would love nothing better than to confuse the jury. The good thing in that regard, the State knows what he’s about, and they do a good job in redirect to bring the facts into focus after Baez has muddied them. I love it when the State is able to help the jury understand, making Baez look like he’s trying to get one past them. There is no doubt in my mind that they do not trust Baez. That is suicide for them. When Ashton laughed at himself for messing up his question, the jury smiled, chuckled, too – from what i saw on the tweets of people in the courtroom. 🙂
      Baez does not get that sort of reaction, I understand.

      Reply
  5. Venice
    Jun 4 2011

    How dare that shiester condemn the VERY EDUCATED FBI Specialist for failing one exam she took!! Speak for yourself mister “CAN’T PASS THE BAR” Baez. What a HYPOCRITE!

    Reply
    • Jun 5 2011

      Hey Venice! I’m so glad you mentioned that! I’d forgotten about that. Yes, that was just an example of how to make jurors HATE you. I have no doubt the jurors appreciated this witness, and to have him throw that low blow only hurts his case… He’s too stupid to realize that jurors do not like that crap!

      Reply
  6. ann
    Jun 4 2011

    I’ve been watching the Casey trial on TruTV on “In Session” Ihad heard that since it was Saturday they would be having the Casey trial on HLN. Knowing that and following the trial daily I taped the show on HLN this morning. Watching the tape now and it is just horrible. Every other minute they go to a break. Can’t wait until my regular tapings on TruTV are back on Monday. At least there they have great people explaining what is going on plus their views of how Casey Anthony and the witnesses are behaving. What is the sense of having this on Saturday when I can get an uninterrupted trial on its sister station and see a review of what went on today?

    Reply
    • Jun 5 2011

      Hi ann…. I don’t watch in on TV either for the same reason – the commercials are maddening! I watch on WESH.com. I find them the best, and they have a little side image with a camera fixed on Casey the entire time. That helps to see Casey’s reactions to what’s going on.

      I used to favor WFTV, but they throw in commercials during live testimony, so I totally avoid that webpage. The Orlando Sentinel has live coverage, but their picture is grainy. Try watching Wesh.com and see if that works for you!

      Reply

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