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15
Jun

some rest, others rage

The State of Florida, in the murder trial of Casey Anthony, rested today.

They rested after bringing forward a very strong case – delivering a concise argument that meticulously and tightly binds Casey Anthony to the murder.

Understandably, the State did not use all the evidence in its arsenal.  Perhaps they were concerned about overdoing their case in chief and so decided to wait until their rebuttal to introduce additional evidence.  Forgive the pun, but I’m sure the State was concerned with “over-kill” with regards to the plethora of evidence they have.

Denied Motion for Acquittal

The rules of criminal procedure in Florida require a defense lawyer to submit a motion to argue its position for a judicial decision of acquittal.  This is a standard practice in all criminal trials, and are rarely ever granted to a defendant.

The fact is, when a judge decides and rules in these matters, his or her explanation and reasoning for such a motion generally is a good indication as to what the outcome of the trial will be.

Today Mr. Cheney Mason argued the motion in front of Judge Belvin Perry, Jr.

Mason told the Court, there was no premeditation in this case. He said, there were inferences and speculation of it, but no evidence whatsoever of premeditation.

I beg to differ.

Mason also stated that there is no evidence of the defendant causing any pain or injury to Caylee Anthony.  In fact, he says, there were many witnesses who were happy to attest to Casey Anthony’s success as a mother.

Mason argues that Caylee Marie Anthony died accidentally since the State did not prove that a homicide existed.

The Judge asked Mason where in the record is there evidence of “accidental death” and Mason admits THERE IS NONE!

Mr. Mason claims the mere presence of duct tape proves nothing – no evidence of anything, he says, raising his voice.

No evidence of culpable negligence, he says.  And of course Mason brought up the Miranda Rights aspect of the case, which was previously argued repeatedly by the Court in pre-trial hearings.  Mason wanted this on the record yet again.  He obviously believes strongly that Casey Anthony’s rights were violated with regards the Court’s decision on these issues.

Mason grew increasingly agitated and demonstrative as his argument continued, and occasionally there was a fleeting glimpse of the good lawyer he once was.  But, it was very clear that he simply was not listening to the testimony these last three weeks.

And, during some moments of his argument, things seemed to fall apart and Mr. Mason resorted to histrionics.

Listening to Mason today, it sprang to mind that if he were an actor, he’d make a very good King Lear.

The aged Lear, who attempts to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, eventually goes mad.  He rages against storms, and descends into madness.

Lear bellows: “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!”

King Lear held back by his court jester

You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world! 

~King Lear

Anyway, that’s where my mind was when I listened to Cheney Mason – casting him as the perfect Lear.

 

Say What???

And so, the other big news today revealed that the defense wants to depose and possibly call to testify a convicted felon named, Vasco Thompson.  The defense is inexplicably suggesting today that on July 14, 2008, George Anthony made four calls to this man, who was previously convicted for a violent crime – kidnapping to be exact.

Vasco Thompson

The defense has not deposed this person as yet, and George Anthony, through his attorney Mark Lippman, is denying any knowledge of this man.

Can this defense get any more desperate?  Are they changing strategy now?  Since Judge Perry told the defense there is no evidence of an accident scenario, are they dropping the drowning, in favor of kidnapping?

And, why Vasco Thompson?  Is this suddenly a Susan Smith kind of excuse?  Blame it on a mean-looking black man?  If anyone had a connection with this man, my guess it was Casey Anthony.  Was she looking for a hit-man?

The motion about this new prospective witness, Vasco Thompson, reinforces my belief that Mr. Mason is well cast as King Lear.

Crack your cheeks!  Rage!  Blow!

p.s. Vasco Thompson has not returned calls from the defense team.

14
Jun

the ugly life

A beautiful life? 

Bella Vita, says the tattoo emblazoned on the left shoulder of Casey Anthony.  Bella Vita is Italian for a beautiful or happy life.

How is it possible to enjoy your beautiful life when only 17 days ago your daughter’s very life – your flesh and blood – was snuffed out?

Casey Anthony's "Beautiful Life" tattoo

A beautiful life is a happy and carefree existence, a rich life that is free of any care or burdens; free from the sense of the unspeakable suffering of Caylee Marie Anthony.

Bella Vita is poetic justice for Casey Anthony now.

In February of this year, the defense, knowing the damage this tattoo would create for them, filed a Motion in Limine to strike this evidence. Here is their motion:

Tattoo (attached)

Motion in Limine to Exclude Irrelevant Evidence of Tattoo

This defense motion was DENIED. The defense asked that the tattoo be eliminated because it was irrelevant. Not so said Judge Perry!  The tattoo “Bella Vita” is quite relevant as to the timing of receiving the tattoo, as well as the meaning, or nature of the tattoo. Judge Perry explains himself in his ruling when he writes:

The state argued this evidence was not offered to show character, and further argued the circumstances surrounding the timing and nature of the tattoo are relevant and probative to show the Defendant’s state of mind.   On July 2, 2008, when her daughter was allegedly missing and she was conducting her own search, she obtained a tattoo reading “La Bella Vita” (translated as “the beautiful / good life”).  She did not appear to be upset, and when asked how her daughter was, she simply replied, “fine.”

There was little surprise at the Judge’s rulings as to this evidence.

And now, this evidence is the finale for the State!

The testimony, today given by Orlando tattoo artist Bobby Williams, was critical to show Casey Anthony’s state of mind during the time she claimed to be searching for Caylee.

Casey Anthony never lifted a finger to assist in the search for her daughter when she was bonded out of jail. The evidence clearly shows Casey’s  state of mind – a state of mind that was completely lacking of any care or concern for her daughter.

Why should she have cared?  She knew her daughter was dead.

The State of Florida will rest its case tomorrow morning, June 15th, the day before Caylee Anthony died in 2008.

The Defense will begin its case on June 16th, 2011 – exactly 3 years to the date of Caylee Marie Anthony’s death.

Let justice be Caylee’s now.

13
Jun

hair and heart sticker residue

The big news today came as a result of Judge Belvin Perry announcing that the Prosecution’s case, in the Casey Anthony Murder Trial, is likely to wrap up either Tuesday, or Wednesday morning  of this week!   This means the defense will start their case Wednesday afternoon!

The heart sticker found at the scene of the crime in the State v. Casey Anthony Trial

It was surprising to hear the State’s case will conclude without calling Roy Kronk, other family members, Shirley and Rick Pleasea.  I also wonder if experts will testify with regards to Casey’s cell phone pings.

I do understand why the State would not need to call Kronk, since the defense will certainly call him.  The State will be able to rehabilitate Roy Kronk in their cross examination during the defense case.

Depending upon what the defense brings to their case, the State of Florida may put on a rebuttal case.  I tend to think they may.

The defense may then put on their own rebuttal, but the Judge would have to allow it, and the focus could only be on what the State brought forward in their rebuttal.

With regards to upcoming State witnesses, I read that Robyn Adams (Casey Anthony’s former jail roommate) is supposed to testify soon.  I would think the State’s Botanist, Dr. Hall, will testify at some point this week as well.

As far as today’s testimony, we heard from two FBI analysts.  One FBI witness was Stephen Shaw, an FBI expert in forensic hair and fiber.  He testified that the single piece of hair, with the decompositional banding found in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car, is similar to the hair found with the remains of Caylee Anthony.

Elizabeth Fontaine, FBI latent-print examiner, explained that she discovered a heart shape on one of three pieces of duct tape sent to the FBI Laboratory for analysis.

This is evidence that the Defense tried desperately to keep out of the trial.  It was odd that Baez did not do a better job of cross-examining Ms. Fontaine.

The defense fought this  “phantom” outline/image of residue in the shape of a heart, on the duct tape. The reason?  That a heart sticker (pictured) was found near Caylee Anthony’s remains on a piece of duct tape.  This, as you know, inexplicably tells us that that heart sticker was applied on the duct tape.

What I don’t understand is why the heart shape (pictured) found in the area where the remains were found, was not introduced today.  Perhaps that piece of evidence is coming later.   Law Enforcement found in Casey Anthony’s home, sheets of heart stickers resembling the sticker found at the crime scene.  Perhaps Law Enforcement will introduce both these items.

The beginning of the defense case is going to be interesting!  Will Casey Anthony testify?  If Jose Baez is going to stick with his molestation theory, she will have to.

That will be something to see!

12
Jun

update: another woman joins death row

June 12, 2011

Ana Maria Cardona / Credit: Miami Herald

Another woman, Ana Maria Cardona, is added to Florida’s death row.

We now have four women on Florida’s Death Row.

This is the second time she has taken up residence there.

Two decades ago, in Miami-Dade County, Ana Maria Cardona was sentenced to death for the murder of her three-year old son, Lazaro “Baby Lollipops” Figuero.

The child was left dead in bushes in an affluent area of Miami Beach.  The child’s identity was unknown, though on his badly beaten body was a T-shirt adorned with lollipops when he was discovered in 1990.  The dead, ransacked child was lovingly called Baby Lollipops.

The crime was brutal.  The child endured unspeakable torture, and Ana Maria Cardona was sentenced to die on Florida’s death row.

Cardona became the first woman to be sentenced to death for the murder of her own child.

However, her sentence was overturned in 2002 by the Florida Supreme Court, and Cardona was set free.  The reversal occurred as a result of the Prosecutor failing to release reports to the defense regarding statements made by Ana Cardona’s lover, Olivia Gonzalez, who Cardona blamed for the death of the child.

This past Friday, June 10, 2011, Ana Cardona was re-sentenced by a jury of twelve to the death penalty.

The jurors voted 7-5 for death.

The Judge Reemberto Diaz had no remorse for Cardona as he read the 15 page sentence he wrote which painstakingly detailed the horrors that this mother inflicted on her child.

The Judge recounted how Cardona beat the child with a sticks, belts, and a baseball bat.  She called the baby “The Devil” and would rub feces in his face, poke his eyes.  She knocked out the child’s teeth, broke his bones, starved him, and duct-taped a diaper to his tiny torso.  The diaper was rarely changed and Baby Lollipops endured extreme pain from the infections that resulted.

Casey Anthony could become the fourth fifth woman in the state of Florida currently sentenced to perish under the malevolent and inhumane specter of the death penalty.

Two More Make Three

I wrote this post, originally titled “women and the death penalty,” in February, of this year.  At the time, one woman was on Florida’s death row: Tiffany Cole.  Now, two more Floridians were added: Emilia Carr, Margaret Allen, and now Ana Maria Cardona.

The second revision included the story about Teresa Lewis, who was killed by lethal injection in Virginia last year, September 23, 2010 and realized I needed to add her to this sad list.  Now, Ana Maria Cardona – the monster.

Teresa Lewis

Of course, I remember the story of Teresa Lewis now.  You may remember it, too.  It was such a maddening, cruel and utterly sad situation, and it gives me goosebumps to think of this mentally handicapped woman being dragged to her death.

Teresa Lewis was convicted of Capital Murder for hiring hit-men to kill her husband and step-son.  She allegedly wanted the husband’s insurance money.  I say “allegedly” because one of the hit-men admitted that she was not the mastermind at all, the hit-man wanted a share of the insurance money.

Teresa Lewis - (AP Photo/newsPRos, File)

You see, Teresa Lewis, with an IQ of only 72, which places her near the mark of mental retardation, as defined by the Supreme Court, was sentenced to death. The hit-men were  sentenced to life.  But the hit-men, who each had the motive of that insurance money, and who claimed (long after the fact), to have masterminded the whole affair, were not given death sentences.

With an IQ of 72, Teresa Lewis was not close enough to mental retardation for the Supreme Court because they refused to take the case.  The State Supreme Court, a U.S. District Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, all ruled that Teresa must die for her crime.

According to a September 2010 Newsweek article, written by Lynn Litchfield, there was a letter from one of the two hit-men that Teresa did not “mastermind” the killing, he did.

See the Litchfield article here: Unfit for Execution

Women on Florida’s Death Row Today

Casey Anthony is faced with the death penalty should she be convicted of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony.  If sentenced with death, Casey will join three other Florida female inmate death row:

Tiffany Cole, is now the longest serving female inmate on Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in 2008 for her role in the killing a couple from Jacksonville, Florida.  The couple were murdered as a result of being buried alive.  Cole is currently on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution, which is situated in the Central Florida area, north of Orlando.

Emilia Carr was sentenced to Florida’s death row on February 22, 2011, in Marion County for kidnapping and murdering her boyfriend’s ex-wife, Heather Strong. She and her boy friend were co-defendants.  They lured Heather into a storage shed where they bound her with duct tape to a chair.  They then placed a plastic bag over her head and suffocated her. They buried her in a shallow grave, which was discovered a month later.  Carr is also in the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Margaret A. Allen is a very recent resident of Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in Brevard County on May 19, 2011.  Her crime was the torture and killing of her housekeeper, Wenda Wright, whom Allen suspected of stealing from her.  According to the prosecutors, she tortured Wenda Wright for hours before strangling her with a belt.  Margaret Allen received help from her roommate, James Martin, and her nephew, Quinton Allen, to bury the victim in a shallow grave. The two were also convicted for their part.

_Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Florida Executions since 1973

Since 1973, Florida has executed two women, Judias Buenoano, and Aileen Wournos.

Buenoano was sentenced in 1985 for the 1971 crime in which she poisoned her husband with arsenic.  She was also convicted, and sentenced to life, in the 1980 drowning of her paralyzed son. Then prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., prosecuted this case.  Buenoano was the first woman to be executed using the electric chair in the state of Florida.  Her execution occurred in 1998.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her death.

Aileen Wournos was sentenced to die in 1992 for the murder of a Clearwater, Florida businessman.  Wournos is also thought to have been implicated in the death of a number of other men, and is often referred to as Florida’s only female serial killer. You may recall the movie, Monster, based on her criminal history – her prostitution and terrible escapades with men.

History of Women on Florida’s Death Row

Since 1926, a total of 14 women who were sentenced to death, had their sentences commuted or reversed.  The commuting of a few of the sentences were a result of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1972, determining that capital punishment laws were unconstitutional.  Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, hence the death sentences of Aileen Wournos and Judias Buenoano.

One could clearly conclude that Florida does not like to impose or carry out the death penalty on women.  The woman on death row since 1976, who were sentenced to die, and were either released, or had their sentences reversed, have terrible but interesting cases.  I have outlined a short history of the women who were originally sentenced to die, below.

Sonia Jacobs.  Convicted for her part in the shooting of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and his friend.  Her death sentence was overturned in 1981, and she was sentenced to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.  In 1992 her case was reversed on appeal, and she plead to second degree murder. She was released in 1992 because she her sentence included time served.

Kaysie Dudly.  Sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of her mother’s employer – a wealthy Florida widow.  She was re-sentenced (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.  She is currently serving her time at Lowell Correctional Institution.

Carla Caillier.  Was sentenced to death in 1987 to death for the murder of her husband in 1986, in Tampa.  She was re-sentenced in 1988 (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.

Dee D. Casteel.  Sentenced in Dade County in 1987 for murdering an 84 year old woman who had been inquiring about her missing son.  Casteel and another person had ordered the woman’s son to be murdered the month before.  Casteel paid two auto mechanics to carry out the murder. Her death sentence was vacated in 1990.  She was then re-sentenced to life, but she died in prison in 2002, at the Broward County Correctional Institution.

Deidre Hunt. Sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1989 shooting of two men that she was paid to kill. She was videotaped killing one of the men.  She plead guilty and was re-sentenced to life in 1998.  She is currently at Homestead Correctional Institution.

Andrea Hicks Jackson. Sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of a police officer, in Jacksonville, Florida. She filed a false report regarding a vandalized car and shot the officer five times when he attempted to arrest her. Her death warrant was signed in March 1989 but then stayed in May of 1989 by the Florida Supreme Court.  She was re-sentenced to life in 2000, and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Virginia Larzelere.  Sentenced to death in 1993 for the killing of her husband, a practicing dentist.  She was re sentenced to life in 2008 and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Women on Death Row in the United States

Since 1976, a total of 12 women have been executed in this country.

Some statistics:

  • Since the year 1608, there are 568 documented cases of executions of women.
  • In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S.
  • As of September 1, 2000 there were approximately 38 women on death row.
  • As of today, there are approximately 64 women on death row (the numbers will change as more cases are tried).

Will Casey Anthony be number 65?

In reality, the numbers do inform us that the actual instance of execution of female offenders, compared to men, is rare.  According to The Death Penalty Information Center, since 1608, confirmed cases of female executions account for only 2.8% of the total executions carried out.

The Supreme Court, in 1972, had it right when they ruled that capital punishment was cruel and unusual, and wholly unconstitutional.

Will Casey Anthony sit on Florida’s death row?  Of course it will depend on twelve men and women who are hearing her case, so it’s impossible to know. Will the jurors find the State v. Casey Anthony case so egregious – given the position taken by her defense – they will vote for death?

The death penalty outcome for Casey Anthony may be due to her incompetent lawyers.  If she is sentenced, the trial will immediately go into another phase called the “Penalty Phase,” where both sides must provide their case as to whether to give her death (State’s position), or Life (Defense position).

The penalty phase will be tried, on the defense side, by Ann Finnel. She is more than competent and Casey’s only hope for life.

Casey has her age and her gender in her favor, because if you read the stories of the women who had their death sentences reversed, chances are, if Casey Anthony is sentenced to death (and I hope she is not), she may escape death row.  In fact, many cases like Casey Anthony’s have resulted in reversals.

Because Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., is a careful Judge, his death cases have never been reversed – to date.  The Judy Buenoano case, tried by Prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., resulted in the penalty of death.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her execution.  It seems fair to say, then, Judge Perry is not opposed to death.

The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland, the original Judge in the Casey Anthony case, from what I have read, is considered be softer on sentencing defendants to death.  The defense in this case, however, campaigned to have  Judge Strickland removed from the case (for reading a blog), I am more than certain they are sorry now.

However, given the statistics, Florida clearly does not like to kill women.

We will see which way the wind blows in a month, or so.

References:

NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc: http://naacpldf.org/files/publications/DRUSA_Spring_2010.pdf

Florida women photos and info: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/women.html

Research Article: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/femaledeathrow.pdf

11
Jun

bombshell bugs, pavers too

Dr. Neal Haskell likes bugs.  Especially flies.

Like Dr. Arpad Vass, who is Dr. Haskell’s relied-upon colleague, is an expert married to his field.  The science of Forensic Entomology is his  passion.

He’s been a bug man for nearly five decades he said.

It was a big day for the Prosecution in the State v. Casey Anthony trial.  There was important information about bugs, and a great deal of crime scene evidence introduced today.  Most importantly, the prosecution appears to be leading up to the release of the heart sticker evidence.

The testimony of Dr. Haskell brought home the reality regarding the length of time Caylee spent in the car versus the woods.

According to Dr. Haskell and the kinds of bugs found at the grave site, the body of Caylee Marie could only have been in the trunk of the Pontiac Sunfire for a couple of days before it was removed (and placed in the woods off of Suburban Drive).

Casey Anthony kept a trash bag full of garbage in the trunk of her car – seemingly to cover up the smell from Caylee’s body decomposing.  Paper towels, found in that trash bag, among the garbage, were full of the kinds of pupae, and larva found in the early stages of decomposition.

Therefore, says Dr. Haskell, this is indicative of “someone” using the paper towels to clean up the fluid that resulted from the early decomposition process.

It is incredibly difficult to imagine a mother cleaning up the fluidly result of her own daughter’s decomposition.

It is sickening.

I found a very interesting article about the work of Dr. Haskell in the NY Times, written by Elizabeth Svoboda.  This article describes how a case was solved as a result of the findings of Dr. Haskell.

This May 11, 2009 New York Times article is about a daughter killing her mother (excerpt below), and is entitled The Truth, Revealed by Bugs: The Case of Brookey Lee West

Dr. Haskell determined that blow flies, insects that usually appear on corpses right after death, were nowhere to be seen on Ms. Smith’s body. Instead, most of the larvae Dr. Haskell found came from scuttle flies, or “coffin flies,” insects that cannibalize dead bodies after they have undergone initial decomposition. “We knew it was a long time since Mom had been seen, and I thought, ‘If we have the blow flies, we can tell what season she went missing,’ ” Dr. Haskell said. “When I got the insect specimens, I was really disappointed.”

But then Dr. Haskell realized the significance of the blow flies’ absence: Ms. Smith had to have been put into the garbage can either directly after she died or while she was still alive, barring the blow flies’ access to the corpse. (Coffin flies, on the other hand, could have gotten to the body because they often tunnel through tiny nooks and crannies.) “That showed me that West had to have lied about what she did with her mother,” Dr. Haskell said. After only two hours of deliberation, a jury pronounced Ms. West guilty of her mother’s murder. Ms. West is serving a life sentence at a prison in southern Nevada.

Henkel Duct Tape

There was discussion of the Henkel Duct tape today.  The Anthony home was searched on December 11, 2008, the same day Caylee Anthony’s remains were discovered by Roy Kronk, the Meter Reader.

Ronald Murdock, a forensic supervisor with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, was on the stand today.  Mr. Murdock collected the gas can, and photographed a sheet of heart stickers, similar to the heart-shaped sticker that was found near Caylee’s remains.

Also today, Jose Baez mentioned “pavers” during one of his cross examinations.  This got me thinking about the defense theory, and an a-ha moment (about the defense plan) came to me, which I will discuss in a moment.

Testimony from Robert Murdock also told us that the roll of unique  Henkel duct tape was not discovered during that December 11th search of the Anthony home.  The only remnant of duct tape found in the home was on the old red gas can found in one of the Anthony’s sheds.

The Defense, of course, would like us to believe that Casey Anthony did not have access to that tape.  Baez did not say it, but he will say George had possession of the duct tape, therefore he placed the duct tape on Caylee.

It is clear the defense is going to put the tape in George Anthony’s hands.  In fact, there are photos of the tape used at the Caylee search command center.

Poor George Anthony, little did he know that the tape he used to put up signs at the Caylee search command center, would become the tape that the defense would like to use against him.

Remember when Baez said in his (bizarre) opening statement, “Follow the duct tape”?

There is every reason to believe this is what Baez means – Follow the duct tape because it will land in the hands of George Anthony.

The Cement Pavers

Jose Baez mentioned the word “pavers” today when questioning a witness about a close-up picture at the site where the remains were found.  Why?  Is he dropping hints now?

I think so.

I am speculating, but I predict that another theory of the defense is going to revolve around the cement pavers found on Suburban Drive, around the vicinity of the remains.

Remember when, before the remains were found, Dominic Casey, on two separate occasions, went peeking around those woods for something?  Jim Hoover, Private Investigator, was there also, video taping Dominic Casey.

Hoover testified that Dominic was looking for tell-tale “pavers,” indicating that he thought the body of Caylee Marie Anthony was in the vicinity of these pavers.

The fact that Hoover and Dominic Casey were so close to where the body was ultimately found, raised a great deal of suspicion in this case. Anger, too.

When John Allen and Yuri Melich found out Dominic Casey was searching this area, they were disturbed that law enforcement was not called.

The speculation at the time?  That one of the Anthony’s was at the other end of the line speaking to Dominic, describing to him where to look for the pavers, hence the body.

Many of us following the case speculated that it may have been Lee on the other end of the phone directing Dominic Casey’s movements, though we don’t know for sure.

Will evidence prove that it was George Anthony providing direction to Dominic Casey???

If, in fact, that is true, it fits very nicely into the defense’s theory that George Anthony was the one who placed the body of his beloved Granddaughter into those woods.

In fact on December 11th, or 12th, when Caylee’s body was found, Yuri Melich and John Allen told the Anthony’s where Caylee was discovered.  And in an excited utterance, Cindy told the two detectives that it can’t be Caylee because they, the Anthony’s, “had someone search that area already.”

This is total speculation, but what if Dominic Casey says he was not speaking to a Psychic, but was speaking to George Anthony that day?

Could that serve as reasonable doubt, if true?

The 3-D Version of Suburban Drive

The final witness today was a videographer hired by the State to reproduce a 3-D representation of the grave site on Suburban Drive.

The video also included how the bones were distributed in the area, which gave a good representation of how the bones were scattered.

The video was not in the least bit graphic – it was a digitally enhanced computer animation of the area, but Casey Anthony could not look at it.

I wonder why?

10
Jun

Homicide

No child should have duct tape on their face when they die. There’s no reason to put duct tape on the face after they die.  ~  Dr. Jan Garavaglia 

Today’s testimony, in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, was powerful and compelling. Things are going downhill fast for Casey Anthony – and she knows it.

Okay.  So, the defense has not told its side of the story yet and the tide may turn, though it’s very unlikely.  For one reason, today’s testimony by the determined Dr. Jan Garavaglia, Chief Medical Examiner of Orange and Oseola Counties, clearly dispelled any question about an accidental death, or a drowning in this case.

Doubt is Doubt, and Reason means Reason

If there was any inkling of reasonable doubt in anyone’s mind that Casey Anthony was responsible for the murder of the darling Caylee Anthony, today totally squashed any doubt.

How could anyone have a doubt who’s responsible  for Caylee’s murder after today?

Homicide

Dr. G. laid down the circumstances surrounding the cause of death and the manner of death so brilliantly today.

It was ironic that the most powerful pieces of Dr. G’s opinions and findings were given during the defense’s cross examination!

Cheney Mason asked Dr. G. open ended questions and she ran with them!  She was able to discuss drowning accidents, too. (Oh, how many of us were cheering her on?!)

Dr. G. told Cheney Mason that drownings are an unfortunate reality in her world.  But, 100 percent of the time in these cases, 911 is called in an effort and hope that the child can be saved.  100 percent of the time!

And Cheney Mason asks Dr. G., “Well, what if the child is obviously dead?”  Dr. G. responds by saying, in essence: There is always a chance the child could be saved, so people dial 911.

During direct testimony with Prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, she was asked if she had an opinion in regards to the manner of death.  “Yes,” she said, and goes on to say:

Homicide. It’s based on three main things. When a child isn’t reported, that’s something we look for; for foul play.

The body was hidden, also the body is also in a closed container, a suitcase or a bag, like this one was. The last would be the duct tape, located somewhere on the lower half of the face.

Although, Dr. G’s examination of Caylee’s remains could not yield the means of Caylee’s death, she told the jury that the preponderance of the evidence leads to the only logical conclusion: Homicide, based on the three main factors, discussed earlier.

Surely the jury has figured out that drowning is not a likely scenario in this case.

What is the Jury Thinking?!

I often think about the day the case is handed to the jury –  putting myself in their shoes, I imagine they’ll be so relieved to finally be able to discuss the case, after keeping silent about the testimony for so long. And then I wonder if, after the selection of a Foreman, will they take a straw vote regarding the First Degree Murder charge?

  • Not Guilty?  Raise your hand.  No one moves.
  • Guilty?  Raise your hand?   All hands quickly spring up!

That’s my dream scenario, anyway – and I would not be surprised if a verdict is quick in this case.

But, the Defense will Have its Dog Day Afternoon

The defense case has not been heard, that’s true.  But, what can they argue?

They will try to dismiss Dr. G’s testimony with testimony from Dr. Spitz – but it won’t work.  He’s pompous and unlikeable and the jury will not believe him – that’s my prediction, anyway.

The defense will try to use Robyn Adams to discuss Casey’s sexual allegations against George and Lee.  I predict that will fall flat, if it’s even allowed at all.  Casey’s letters are not evidence unless Casey testifies because the letters are self-serving, therefore inadmissible.

The defense will bring back all the State’s witnesses and they will try to discredit or impeach them.

So, jurors will have to weigh the evidence before them.  However, given what we have seen from the defense up to today, it looks very bad.  And, much of it is Jose Baez’ fault.

Will the Defense Case be Fun?!

Cheney Mason famously said, in regards to trying this case, “It will be fun.”

Did it look like Mr. Mason was having fun today as Dr. G destroyed the defense case?  I don’t think so!

Cheney Mason also predicted that he’d walk out of the courtroom “arm in arm with Casey.”

Okaaaaay!

9
Jun

dry tears

Thrown away. Discarded as if she was trash.

Her life ended before it began.

Of course, I am referring to the murder of the beautiful little Caylee Anthony who was tossed away like garbage into a horrid and dirty grave.

The ground was littered with beer bottles, and other ugly things that people discard – cigarette butts and gross reminders that people think nothing of staining the earth with items they no longer care for.

A place not worthy to even be the cemetery of a pet snake, was the grave of a beautiful, beautiful child.

The evidence is piling on the defendant in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, with devastating effect as orchestrated by the Asst. State Prosecutors in Orlando.

The jurors, the attorneys, the Judge, and the audience in the courtroom saw something in that courtroom today they are likely to never forget.  All reports from the courtroom convey that seeing the photos from the crime scene was like being hit by a tempest of horrors.

The thought of throwing away an animal in such a torrid, airless and oppressive place is unthinkable.  But a child?  A beautiful and delightful little girl who was the light of so many lives, is treated like trash?

Unthinkable.

A little girl who’s hair was trapped by the duct tape that also kept her little mandible in place, had plant life growing in and around and over what was left of her skeleton. The Medical Examiner explained that it’s rare that a mandible (lower jaw) stays attached as the remains become skeletal in nature.

The Henkel duct tape kept Caylee’s mandible in place, proving, they say, that Caylee was alive when that tape went on.

Tears for Caylee?  Hardly.

Casey Anthony at Defense Table

I saw anger in Casey Anthony.

She was irritated and angry.

She was in jail when Caylee’s remains were discovered and probably realized today, as the photos she saw attest, that she didn’t throw Caylee very far into those cruel woods.

Yes, Casey Anthony was angry today.  Her forehead was many times furrowed, hardly lined with grief.

She looked at tears on her fingers that were not there.

She patted her cheeks with a perfectly folded tissue.   As a woman, when tears come, the tissue that we use to wipe away the tears,  shreds.  The ends of the tissue rolls up like a piece of a twisted pasta as it crumbles from the tears filling and soaking it.

No, Casey Anthony was not crying today, but the defense team was quick to position her body so the jury could see her dab her eyes.

But, the jury didn’t look at her.

How could anyone look at her after seeing such images?

She is as cold as a snake after it bites.

8
Jun

84 deadly searches for chloroform

I’ve just finished watching most of today’s testimony in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony trial, in Orlando.  Today’s testimony did not disappoint, and it continues to go down hill for Casey Anthony and her hapless defense team.

First on the witness stand today, the State called another Cadaver dog handler.  Just as Jason Forgey’s dog, Gerus did, Bones, the K9 handled by Sergeant Kristin Brewer, also alerted to decomposition in the backyard of the Anthony home.  It was eerie that both dogs alerted to the same spot in the back yard.

It was the saddest testimony!  Just the thought that Casey actually considered burying her dear daughter there in the backyard is gruesome – unspeakably cruel.  I wonder what the jury is thinking about this?  Their hearts have to be breaking.

The State is laying out its case in such a way that it should be effortless for the jury to connect the dots, don’t you think?

In my opinion, the dots will draw a picture of premeditation, especially after hearing what the computer specialists had to say today.

What does the jury think about Casey sitting at the defense table as if she’s in another world?  I get the feeling that Casey Anthony is watching this trial unfold like its happening to someone else – like she’s watching a movie, or something.

Search for Chloroform 84 Times!

First let me say that Linda Drane Burdick is brilliant!  It was fascinating to see how she planned the witnesses to each compliment each other – each computer expert built upon the next.

The final computer analyst, John Dennis Bradley, consulted for the State Attorney on the case, and his was the testimony most damaging.

There were Google and Wikipedia searches on Casey Anthony’s computer for:

  • Internal bleeding,
  • Ruptured spleen,
  • Death,
  • Self-defense,
  • Chest trauma,
  • Household weapons,
  • Chloroform,
  • Hand to hand combat,
  • Neck Breaking,
  • Internal Bleeding, and
  • How to make Chloroform.

All of this is bad enough, and Baez did his best to try to diminish the blows – in reality he didn’t come close because Linda Drane Burdick, during her redirect, asked Mr. Bradley the BOMBSHELL question:

Linda Drane Burdick:   How many times was the word “chloroform” searched on this computer?

Mr. Bradley:  84 times.

Linda Drane Burdick: No more questions, your Honor.

Judge Perry:  Cross examination on these items and these items alone, Mr. Baez?

Jose Baez:  No further questions, your Honor.

What could Baez say?  He was utterly defeated after Ms. Drane-Burdick kicked it out of the ball park!

Casey Anthony began these horrible key-word searches in March of 2008.  In my estimation, this is a clear indication of premeditation – she plotted and planned the murder of Caylee!

If the State can provide more evidence of premeditation, how will Casey Anthony avoid the death penalty?  This is one of the most important factors, I believe.

Did Casey Anthony Really Want to Kill her Parents? 

Remember when Amy Huizenga was (so she thought) just days away from moving into the Anthony home?

Ever since the beginning of this case, when the Law Enforcement interviews with Amy Huizenga were released, I thought that Casey Anthony was actually plotting to kill her parents, not Caylee.

Some of the key word searches, like hand-to-hand combat, self defense, chest trauma, etc., lead me to think this.  And, when Casey told the story of her father having a stroke, her parents getting a divorce, her mother moving out of the house, leaving no-job-Casey to pay the mortgage, it occurred to me she was setting up some kind of scenario with her parents as victims.

As a result of reading the story on today’s WFTV coverage of the trial, I feel even more convinced of this possibility.

In today’s WFTV article, click here for link, they suggest the following:

The experts testified that Casey’s first chloroform search was done on March 17, 2008 around the time she found out she couldn’t go to Puerto Rico with friends because her mother Cindy Anthony would not watch Caylee for her.

The state is setting the stage for premeditated murder by showing she was searching chloroform some three months before Caylee disappeared, said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.

The computer searches all happened in the month of March!

It is difficult to wrap my brain around Casey Anthony planning to murder her daughter (or her parents) since March, 2008!!

That was a bombshell for me.

Note:  A blogger, Sandy, left a note today asking why would Jose Baez say “since Caylee went ‘missing” in reference to something on the computer?  Isn’t it the defense’s contention that Caylee was drowned?  Why would he say this today?  I guess he doesn’t believe his own theory either.

7
Jun

never so much as a blink

Today was dedicated to chloroform and decomposition in the State v. Casey Anthony trial, now in its third week, in Orlando.

First up on the witness stand, Gerardo Bloise, OCSO Crime Scene Investigator who handled the garbage found in Casey Anthony’s trunk. Jose Baez continues to ask the jurors to believe that the “smell” was a result of the trash in Casey’s car.

it’s simply total garbage!  Totally ridiculous!

During this testimony, Jose Baez continued to sing the smelly song about the smelly garbage.  The Baez tune about the “smell” emanating from garbage not containing any food, is obviously such an impossibility that the jurors must be loosing all patience with the defense.  Defense lawyers have to be careful about the doubt they try to float.  If a defense lawyer makes too many ridiculous claims, it ends up coloring other defense theories as irrational as well.

Well….with all due respect, even though his tactics are despicable, Baez did have moments when he did a fairly good job, from a defense perspective.  Jose Baez has fleeting moments – they don’t always last, but he’s getting a little better, I think.

After Bloise, the FBI forensics expert, Dr. Michael Rickenbach, who tested the trunk liner for chloroform, testified. Dr. Rickenbach testified that he was surprised at the amount of chloroform he’d found.

Cadaver dog expert, Jason Forgey testified about his dog, Gerus, and described how the dog gave a “trained alert” on two spots near Caylee’s playhouse, as well as in the car driven by Casey.

Caylee’s playhouse is any little girl’s dream.  It has a mailbox, there are flowers lining the house, and paved stepping stones circling it, too.  One would think that Casey Anthony would be heartbroken and desperately sad when pictures of this little playhouse played in the courtroom.

Casey never even blinked today at the desperately sad discussion about Caylee’s body near that adorable playhouse.

Never so much as a blink.

Caylee Anthony's Playhouse

During the Frye hearings in this case, I wrote the post below about the Cadaver dogs, should you like to read the history.

Training K-9’s to Alert to the Smell of a Decaying Defense Team

6
Jun

Shocking!

The Charming Dr. Arpad Vass

It was a fine day of testimony for the prosecution in the State v. Casey Anthony!  The testimony of Dr. Arpad Vass, Research Scientist with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (The Body Farm), was just as brilliant today as it was during the Frye hearings.

There is no doubt that the jury reacted well to him – all the “tweets” I read from inside the courtroom, indicated the jurors were keenly interested in his testimony.  Well, not when Baez was doing his cross – that fell flat in most instances, though Baez did okay at times.

Lot’s of Tweets said the jurors were irritated at all the objections from Baez – he was trying to disrupt Vass midstream – just when he was getting to the interesting part of his story / explanation. It was quite a learning experience for me – Dr. Vass breaks it down so easily, too.

Overall, this was extremely damaging testimony.  Dr. Vass said, in regards to the levels of chloroform compounds detected in the analysis of Casey’s car, they were higher than he’s ever seen in any decomposition analysis he’d done or seen.  Higher than anything he’d seen in all the twenty years he has been working in his field.

There are trace elements of chloroform found in the decomposition process, but never the high spikes as was found in the trunk of the car.  Dr. Vass said, he was shocked!

There was talk of the stain in the trunk, too.  Baez tried very hard to get Vass say that the stain could be from hamburger meat, or another kind of meat – presumably found in the garbage in the car.

Dr. Vass was an excellent witness – likeable, funny, and incredibly interesting.

An important realization for me, and I bet the jurors got this too, Caylee was likely in the trunk of that car without being wrapped in any kind of plastic bag.  That’s the only way the volatile fatty acids that are released during the initial phase of decomposition could have seeped into the carpet in the form of a stain.

It just hit me today, I guess.  I never visualized it – didn’t want to, but today I realized what really happened.

I hate to talk about this.

I’m relieved it’s late and past my bedtime.   Sweet dreams to all of you dreamers of justice for Caylee.

 

5
Jun

women and death row

Casey Anthony could become the fourth woman in the state of Florida currently sentenced to perish under the malevolent and inhumane specter of the death penalty.

I wrote this post, originally titled “women and the death penalty,” in February, of this year.  At the time, one woman was on Florida’s death row: Tiffany Cole.  Now, two more Floridians were added: Emilia Carr, and Margaret Allen.

Just recently I read an article about Teresa Lewis, who was killed by lethal injection in Virginia last year, September 23, 2010 and realized I needed to add her to this sad list.

Of course, I remember the story of Teresa Lewis now.  You may remember it, too.  It was such a maddening, cruel and utterly sad situation, and it gives me goosebumps to think of this mentally handicapped woman being dragged to her death.

Teresa Lewis was convicted of Capital Murder for hiring hit-men to kill her husband and step-son.  She allegedly wanted the husband’s insurance money.  I say “allegedly” because one of the hit-men admitted that she was not the mastermind at all, the hit-man wanted a share of the insurance money.

Teresa Lewis - (AP Photo/newsPRos, File)

You see, Teresa Lewis, with an IQ of only 72, which places her near the mark of mental retardation, as defined by the Supreme Court, was sentenced to death. The hit-men were  sentenced to life.  But the hit-men, who each had the motive of that insurance money, and who claimed (long after the fact), to have masterminded the whole affair, were not given death sentences.

With an IQ of 72, Teresa Lewis was not close enough to mental retardation for the Supreme Court because they refused to take the case.  The State Supreme Court, a U.S. District Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, all ruled that Teresa must die for her crime.

According to a September 2010 Newsweek article, written by Lynn Litchfield, there was a letter from one of the two hit-men that Teresa did not “mastermind” the killing, he did.

See the Litchfield article here: Unfit for Execution

Women on Death Row in Florida Today

Casey Anthony is faced with the death penalty should she be convicted of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony.  If sentenced with death, Casey will join three other Florida female inmate death row:

Tiffany Cole, is now the longest serving female inmate on Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in 2008 for her role in the killing a couple from Jacksonville, Florida.  The couple were murdered as a result of being buried alive.  Cole is currently on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution, which is situated in the Central Florida area, north of Orlando.

Emilia Carr was sentenced to Florida’s death row on February 22, 2011, in Marion County for kidnapping and murdering her boyfriend’s ex-wife, Heather Strong. She and her boy friend were co-defendants.  They lured Heather into a storage shed where they bound her with duct tape to a chair.  They then placed a plastic bag over her head and suffocated her. They buried her in a shallow grave, which was discovered a month later.  Carr is also in the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Margaret A. Allen is a very recent resident of Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in Brevard County on May 19, 2011.  Her crime was the torture and killing of her housekeeper, Wenda Wright, whom Allen suspected of stealing from her.  According to the prosecutors, she tortured Wenda Wright for hours before strangling her with a belt.  Margaret Allen received help from her roommate, James Martin, and her nephew, Quinton Allen, to bury the victim in a shallow grave. The two were also convicted for their part.

Florida Executions since 1973

Since 1973, Florida has executed two women, Judias Buenoano, and Aileen Wournos.

Buenoano was sentenced in 1985 for the 1971 crime in which she poisoned her husband with arsenic.  She was also convicted, and sentenced to life, in the 1980 drowning of her paralyzed son. Then prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., prosecuted this case.  Buenoano was the first woman to be executed using the electric chair in the state of Florida.  Her execution occurred in 1998.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her death.

Aileen Wournos was sentenced to die in 1992 for the murder of a Clearwater, Florida businessman.  Wournos is also thought to have been implicated in the death of a number of other men, and is often referred to as Florida’s only female serial killer. You may recall the movie, Monster, based on her criminal history – her prostitution and terrible escapades with men.

History of Women on Florida’s Death Row

Since 1926, a total of 14 women who were sentenced to death, had their sentences commuted or reversed.  The commuting of a few of the sentences were a result of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1972, determining that capital punishment laws were unconstitutional.  Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, hence the death sentences of Aileen Wournos and Judias Buenoano.

One could clearly conclude that Florida does not like to impose or carry out the death penalty on women.  The woman on death row since 1976, who were sentenced to die, and were either released, or had their sentences reversed, have terrible but interesting cases.  I have outlined a short history of the women who were originally sentenced to die, below.

Sonia Jacobs.  Convicted for her part in the shooting of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and his friend.  Her death sentence was overturned in 1981, and she was sentenced to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.  In 1992 her case was reversed on appeal, and she plead to second degree murder. She was released in 1992 because she her sentence included time served.

Kaysie Dudly.  Sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of her mother’s employer – a wealthy Florida widow.  She was re-sentenced (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.  She is currently serving her time at Lowell Correctional Institution.

Carla Caillier.  Was sentenced to death in 1987 to death for the murder of her husband in 1986, in Tampa.  She was re-sentenced in 1988 (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.

Dee D. Casteel.  Sentenced in Dade County in 1987 for murdering an 84 year old woman who had been inquiring about her missing son.  Casteel and another person had ordered the woman’s son to be murdered the month before.  Casteel paid two auto mechanics to carry out the murder. Her death sentence was vacated in 1990.  She was then re-sentenced to life, but she died in prison in 2002, at the Broward County Correctional Institution.

Deidre Hunt. Sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1989 shooting of two men that she was paid to kill. She was videotaped killing one of the men.  She plead guilty and was re-sentenced to life in 1998.  She is currently at Homestead Correctional Institution.

Andrea Hicks Jackson. Sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of a police officer, in Jacksonville, Florida. She filed a false report regarding a vandalized car and shot the officer five times when he attempted to arrest her. Her death warrant was signed in March 1989 but then stayed in May of 1989 by the Florida Supreme Court.  She was re-sentenced to life in 2000, and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Virginia Larzelere.  Sentenced to death in 1993 for the killing of her husband, a practicing dentist.  She was re sentenced to life in 2008 and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Women on Death Row in the United States

Since 1976, a total of 12 women have been executed in this country.

Some statistics:

  • Since the year 1608, there are 568 documented cases of executions of women.
  • In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S.
  • As of September 1, 2000 there were approximately 38 women on death row.
  • As of today, there are approximately 64 women on death row (the numbers will change as more cases are tried).

Will Casey Anthony be number 65?

In reality, the numbers do inform us that the actual instance of execution of female offenders, compared to men, is rare.  According to The Death Penalty Information Center, since 1608, confirmed cases of female executions account for only 2.8% of the total executions carried out.

The Supreme Court, in 1972, had it right when they ruled that capital punishment was cruel and unusual, and wholly unconstitutional.

Will Casey Anthony sit on Florida’s death row?  Of course it will depend on twelve men and women who are hearing her case, so it’s impossible to know. Will the jurors find the State v. Casey Anthony case so egregious – given the position taken by her defense – they will vote for death?

The death penalty outcome for Casey Anthony may be due to her incompetent lawyers.  If she is sentenced, the trial will immediately go into another phase called the “Penalty Phase,” where both sides must provide their case as to whether to give her death (State’s position), or Life (Defense position).

The penalty phase will be tried, on the defense side, by Ann Finnel. She is more than competent and Casey’s only hope for life.

Casey has her age and her gender in her favor, because if you read the stories of the women who had their death sentences reversed, chances are, if Casey Anthony is sentenced to death (and I hope she is not), she may escape death row.  In fact, many cases like Casey Anthony’s have resulted in reversals.

Because Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., is a careful Judge, his death cases have never been reversed – to date.  The Judy Buenoano case, tried by Prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., resulted in the penalty of death.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her execution.  It seems fair to say, then, Judge Perry is not opposed to death.

The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland, the original Judge in the Casey Anthony case, from what I have read, is considered be softer on sentencing defendants to death.  The defense in this case, however, campaigned to have  Judge Strickland removed from the case (for reading a blog), I am more than certain they are sorry now.

However, given the statistics, Florida clearly does not like to kill women.

We will see which way the wind blows in a month, or so.

References:

NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc: http://naacpldf.org/files/publications/DRUSA_Spring_2010.pdf

Florida women photos and info: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/women.html

Research Article: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/femaledeathrow.pdf

4
Jun

air and hair today

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.

3
Jun

no “surprise, surprise” here

Today the trial, of the State v. Casey Anthony, began with more jail videos of George and Cindy Anthony visiting their daughter.

The terrible reality for the Anthony’s, of course, is the cruelty of their daughter then and now. The extreme cruelty of their daughter as she sits at the defense table knowing she has made these malicious accusations at George, and Lee, is like nothing we’ve ever seen.

It’s interesting to hear the talking heads in the media respond to the evidence they’re seeing for the first time.  I have followed this case very, very closely since day one, and it’s fascinating to hear the reaction of people who are hearing and seeing this case with a fresh perspective.  It’s very interesting and I enjoy seeing and hearing the evidence via the eyes of someone new to the case.

Jail Videos

During the jail visits, both parents are on eggshells as they try to slip in questions that will give them something to go on in their frantic search for Caylee.  We see the Anthony’s tiptoe around Casey Anthony, for fear she will explode, hang up, and refuse to speak to them.

She has yelled at her parents, she has threatened to hang up on them, and she has cried about being the real victim in the situation. The sad, desperate situation is made worse for the Anthony’s because Casey Anthony is their ONLY connection to Caylee.

The jail video with her father, George, was especially poignant but depressing.  Casey tells her father, “…you were the best father the best grandparent….”   There was another moment when Casey mentioned Caylee in the past tense when she said, “…Caylee had…”  The fact that she can’t hide the past tense is telling.

In the jail video with George on August 3, 2008, her father expresses his love and his support for his daughter while he tries to compel her to provide more information about Caylee’s whereabouts.  The videos definitely do not project or portray George as anything other than a loving, caring, hurting and broken father.

Because Casey Anthony is torturing her parents with the suggestion that she cannot tell them all of what she knows because it would put the family in harms way, George Anthony tells Casey Anthony that the entire family can go into protective custody!  She avoids this suggestion, quickly changing the subject.

What is the overall effect of seeing these videos on the jurors?  Court watchers say the jurors have at times scowled, shaken their head back and forth; most have been looking carefully at Casey Anthony’s reactions in court, too.

The jurors see the blank and detached countenance of Casey Anthony; they have to already know the score.

In the videos, Casey Anthony wants desperately to get out of jail to help in the search for Caylee.  The operative words however, are “get out of jail” as she never, in all the videos, expressed interest in the search or even asked how the search for Caylee is going.  She doesn’t care.

Soon after the final video, this pathological liar, thanks to Bounty Hunter Leonard Padilla for putting up her $500,000 bail bond, gets out of jail.

What does Casey Anthony do when she’s out of jail?  She spends her days with Jose Baez.

She is reportedly bouncy and cheerful the entire time she’s home.  Her father George is so livid, he nearly chokes her – screaming at her to tell them where Caylee is!   Casey Anthony reacts like the psychopath she is and demands her father leave the house!   George leaves with his friend and does stay at a hotel that evening.

It was during this time that Cindy Anthony began to turn her attention more toward protecting Casey.  Cindy became Casey’s protector, which created a great deal of tension from people in the community.  People began to gather at the Anthony home, protesting that Casey was home and not in jail.

Cindy became a stalwart supporter of her daughter and then George took up the mantel, too.

The support the Anthony’s had for their daughter, denying that Casey had anything to do with Caylee, caused a maelstrom and the tide really turned against the family.

The Anthony’s had the terrible position of being the devoted parents of Casey, and the loving grandparents of the light of their life, Caylee.

Now, of course, the parents have come full circle in a tragic sense. The daughter they were devoted to has cut her parents down with such a deadly force I wonder how they will forgive her, though I know they will forgive.

Surprise, Surprise

Cindy Anthony, in one of the jail videos says, “Dad’s blowing up at the media. Someone said that the baby just drown in the pool,” Cindy said  to Casey.  Casey’s reaction was, “Oh, surprise, surprise.”

I say to Baez, Mason and all the attorneys on the defense, “Surprise, surprise,” at the state of your case!

When 95 percent of Baez’ attention these past three years is solely focused on media appearances, it’s easy to forget to do the real work and review some of the discovery that will be used in this case.

The State has the burden of proof, the defense has only to challenge the evidence!  Why Baez thinks he needs to come up with a “Law and Order” TV Pilot “theory” is sad.  This is a death penalty case, after all.

It is an abomination that the defense could come up with such a gross and inhumane theory of their case without checking facts!  They  come up with a theory of an abusive father and brother but fail to investigate the actual relationship of Casey Anthony with her family?!

They fail to realize these videos were so damaging???

If this case comes back on appeal because of ineffective counsel, I sure won’t be saying, “Surprise, Surprise!”

2
Jun

a D’OH! day

Oh, where to begin!

What an eventful day it has been – let’s see if I can capture the good, bad and the ugly from today’s testimony in courtroom 23-A, in the State v. Casey Anthony case.

First up on the witness stand there was Jeffery Hopkins, (the real Jeffery Hopkins), who is a fresh-faced young man who knew Casey in middle school.

Unlike the made up Jeffery Hopkins, this Jeffery Hopkins has never lived in Jacksonville, has never had a child, does not know Zenaida aka Zanny, but recently saw Casey at a local Sports Bar.  He and Casey exchanged phone and email information, and the next thing he knew, he was getting Facebook invites from Casey to attend the night club Fusion.

Bringing the real Jeffery Hopkins to the stand was an effort by the State to ensure the jury that Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office have looked into all of Casey Anthony’s lies, including the lies regarding the “Imaginary Friends.”

While on the topic of imaginary friends, I do want to point out that the defense is referring to the fake people that Casey Anthony has conjured up in an attempt to hide her crime, are not “imaginary friends,” as the Defense would like the jury to believe!

An imaginary friend is what children create to make their little lives more interesting and fun.  A little bit of research into “imaginary friends” informs us that approximately 40 years ago, Psychologists and Childhood Development professionals like Dr. Benjamin Spock, believed that childhood imaginary friends were a sign of some kind of underlying emotional trouble.  Fast forward a few decades and the thinking is that childhood imaginary friends are a good and healthy thing for young children.

The research will also show that imaginary friends are rare, if not non-existent, past adolescence and into teen or adulthood years.

And, let’s get real here, the Baez defense use of the term “imaginary friends” is a ploy to soften the truth of the matter with regards to Casey Anthony’s lies and actions.

The bottom line is, Casey’s actions are in no way imaginary!  These are lies that Casey Anthony was completely cognizant of as she tried  desperately to avoid being found out.

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

The defense attorney, Jose Baez is not just a complete abomination, he is worse than the bottom of the barrel of first year law students.

I have written often about how infuriating it is that this man is allowed to defend someone faced with the death penalty!

The mistakes Baez has made, his sleazy remarks, and his inability to see the forest from the trees regarding his obviously guilty client, are so extreme that it’s beyond malpractice that he handles a case that he is not capable of defending.

It does not take a person with a law degree to see, with total certainty, that every step that Casey Anthony made after June 16, 2008 until now, was riddled with lies.

Okay, a liar does not a murderer make.  However, given a Defense Team with an absurd claim about drowning, molestation, and imaginary friends – showing a defense team who also lies, and coupled with the evidence we saw today, the jurors have an excellent foundation from which to build the obvious conclusion.

D’OH!  I Forgot!

After today’s testimony of Detective Yuri Melich, at Universal Studios, where Casey Anthony claimed she worked, this July 16th, 2008 interview conducted by Yuri, Detectives John Allen and Appie Wells, was introduced and played for the jury.

The jurors heard the defendant stick like super glue to one lie after another and the Detectives grow increasingly frustrated at not being able to convince her to come clean and tell them what happened to Caylee, but she does not budge.

Yuri Melich said, “I don’t want to think of you as a cold, calculating monster, but you’re giving me no choice!”

Later he said, “She’s out there somewhere and her rotten body is starting to decompose,” there was not so much as a peep from Casey Anthony at that thought!

Now to the D’OH! of the day.  Jose Baez claimed that he didn’t have the time to write a motion to prevent the release of the Jail visits with the family!

He objected in the middle of the playing of the first video, with Lee.  Judge Perry overruled immediately, telling Baez – it’s too late now.

The truth is, Baez had since 2008 to object to these extremely damaging videos, but he did not.  It makes one wonder if Baez even watched them!  Surely if he’d watched them he would have seen how incredibly damaging they are!

Not only are they damaging to Casey Anthony, they also speak volumes about how incompetent Jose Baez is!  It’s true!  There are quite a few disparaging statements about him in these videos, such as “Baez does not return calls,” or, “Baez is not concerned about Caylee,” and so on.

Surprise, Surprise!

The jail videos work against the Defense’s theory, and bolster the State’s case.  The Anthony’s come across as sympathetic and solely focused on finding Caylee.  In contrast, Casey Anthony’s focus is me, me, me!

There is a jail video the jury will see in which Cindy tells Casey that there’s a rumor that Caylee died as a result of drowning in the pool.  Casey let’s out a light laugh and cynically states, “Surprise, surprise!”

So much for THAT defense theory.

Good Grief!

The defense, it seems, are realizing their case is going down the drain.  At the very end of today they announced a new witness who will testify about grief and bereavement.

The “expert” is Dr. Sally Karioth.   Baez gave to the State a copy of a webpage about Dr. Karioth, suggesting they just found her!

The State is objecting to the addition of this witness, of course, because not only is the deadline too far gone, the defense cannot produce reports as to what this witness will testify to.

The attorneys will argue the addition of this witness after the testimony on Saturday.  However, Judge Perry has already cited case law that suggests bereavement and grief witnesses are inadmissible.

Oh, and did I mention that Baez asked again for a mistrial?  It’s true.  It was as a result of jail videos painting him in such a negative light in front of the jurors.

I gotta tell ya’, the jurors didn’t need the jail videos to tell him the truth about Baez – they got that message on May 24th, 2011 during defense opening statements.

The video below is the new defense “Expert,” Dr. Sally Karioth.  A good fit with the defense team?


1
Jun

the court jesters

Today, in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, the day began with a discussion regarding whether the six felony charges against Casey, can be proffered by the State.  There will be more discussion on this as the trial wears on.  The State could mention the felonies since Baez opened the door to allow it in, but rather than risk a possible issue on appeal, the State is backing off of using it, at this time.

Amy Huizenga was the first to take the stand this morning.  It was Baez’ turn to cross examine Amy.  She clearly got irritated at Baez’ habit of putting absurd words in her mouth, as he often does to witnesses, but Amy was quick and did not allow Baez to twist her words.

Baez actually suggested that Amy went after Casey’s boyfriends when Casey was done with them!  He was referring to Ricardo Morales (she slept on his couch). And, because Amy and Jesse Grund met a couple of times to discuss the case, Amy must have been involved with him, says Baez.  It was totally inappropriate.   I wish Amy had said, “Yeah, I also tried to use my bank account after Casey was done with it, we know how that turned out!”

Then, Baez suggested that Amy was a big drinker.  He intimated that in 2008, when Amy fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a guard rail, she was drunk.  Amy said, “that’s not relevant.”  And it wasn’t!

Lee Anthony was on the stand today.  He testified about Casey’s admission about being “a spiteful bitch,” with regards to keeping Caylee away from the family. Lee said, Cindy Anthony suggested Casey was an “unfit mother.”  Amy Huizenga referred to this as well.

With regards to Lee’s testimony.  Was there even a whisper about the molestation allegation against Lee?  Nope!  Nary a word spoken by the State of Florida, therefore the Defense could not bring it up.

I thought it was the elephant in the room for the jury.   The Defense will have to bring it up in their case, if they are allowed.  I believe there will have to be evidence to support it before the Defense can raise it.

There were quite a few Orange County Sheriff’s Officers who took the stand today today.  Brendan Fletcher was the first of Officer on the scene on Hopespring Drive on July 15th, and he was the first to take the stand today.  He testified that he had not smelled an odor emanating from the car, and left the home after two hours.

Then, Adriana Avecedo, the Officer who took Casey in her squad car to Sawgrass Apartments.

Finally, Reginald Hosey took the stand and was asked about how Casey was handcuffed, and did he order the handcuffs removed?  He didn’t remember.

The defense tried with all their might to revisit the Miranda issue once again.  Cheney Mason did everything in his power to discuss how threatening the police are – how threatened Casey must have been is the idea he wanted to float.

Mason discussed the (intimidating) cage (bars) used in police cars; he talked about the scary men in scary police uniforms and scary guns on their belt.  Oh, and there were so many officers there, too.  His argument fell flat; and the record is clear on this issue – Judge Perry has ordered that all of Casey’s statements were admissible some time ago.

Yuri Melich was on the stand today, and as usual, he was an excellent, intelligent and professional witness.

Casey Anthony’s written statement from July 15th was brought into evidence and read into the record by Yuri.  Then, the first recorded interview that Yuri took of Casey was entered into evidence and played for the jury.

Casey lied, and lied, and lied some more in that statement.  And, worse than that, Casey’s vocal tone, pitch and slow pace was reminiscent of a job interview, not a plea to find a daughter recently kidnapped.

From the defense today, I began to hear their innuendos about George Anthony, all of which suggest that George was distant about the “kidnapping” because he knew Caylee was already gone.

Here are examples of what I heard:

  • George did not react when Cindy fell into his arms after telling him Caylee was missing.
  • One by one police officers were asked what was George like that night, July 15?  Invariably, the witnesses today said, George was calm, while Cindy was frantic.  I believe it was Officer Hosey who said, Cindy was at times frantic and at times calm.
  • When Lee was questioned in cross, he was asked if George came into the bedroom to talk to Casey.  No, he didn’t, Lee said.
  • The conclusion seemed to be that George was oddly distant given the situation.

The defense will  take every opportunity to twist George’s actions into suspicious innuendo against him.   The facts remains, however, this defense team will not be able to create reasonable doubt – they are too incompetent to spin such a tale.  There are too many holes in the story Jose Baez told in his bizarre opening statement – proof that they have not given enough thought to theory.

Had the defense done a simple IF / THEN examination of their theory, they might have more answers,  instead of black holes that make no sense.

For instance,

  • IF George was involved in a “drowning accident” of Caylee, THEN why would he not perform CPR or call 911?  What compelled George to hide Caylee’s body?
  • IF George got Casey involved in covering the death up, THEN why did the Cadaver Dogs alert on two places in the yard and why did the body decompose in the trunk?
  • IF George and Casey were in cahoots to hide the body, THEN why would George, a former detective, not advise Casey about the harm of leaving evidence behind?
  • IF George has something to do with the “accident” and colluding with Casey, THEN why would he report the gas can incident to the police?
  • IF George and Casey were in on the murder, THEN why would she tell her mother about the gas can incident, rather than hide it from her?
  • IF Casey was sexually abused, THEN why did she trust George to take care of her daughter?   Note: I read that it has never (or rarely) been reported that a sexually abused mother would kill her offspring.
  • IF there had been a pool accident, THEN why did both George and Casey have NO reaction to the pool accident that was discussed by Cindy in the Jail video?

We could go on and on with IF / THEN scenarios that prove the lies Baez floated in his opening have glaring holes, and are so obscenely foolish.

We laugh so often at Jose Baez and his inane tactics that he’s become our Court Jester.

He’s missing the large ruffled collar, the diamond colored leggings, the large shoes that curl at the point with bells on the heels.  Well, that’s no matter.  He’s still recognizable.

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