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Orlando Sentinel – Casey Anthony trial: Cindy Anthony searched for chloroform, injuries on family computer

Posted by 4love2love on June 24, 2011

By Anthony Colarossi, Orlando Sentinel7:41 p.m. EDT, June 23, 2011

Just when it looked as if the Casey Anthony murder trial was settling into a mundane battle of expert witnesses talking forensics, the accused woman’s mother revealed Thursday that she searched for chloroform and other suspicious terms on the family computer.

In her stunning revelation, Cindy Anthony told defense attorney Jose Baez she looked up “chloroform” after searching for information about chlorophyll.

The testimony was a shocker because if the jury believes Cindy Anthony, that would hurt the prosecution’s contention that the internet searches constitute premeditation — which bolsters a first-degree murder charge.

Cindy Anthony said she was searching for information at first because she was worried about her dog ingesting back yard leaves and then because of a scare regarding hand sanitizers.

“I started looking at chlorophyll,” she said. “That prompted me to look up chloroform.”

She described some vague link between the two.

The grandmother of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony also said she looked up words like rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide as well as terms involving trauma and injuries after her friend was in a car accident.

After Baez, Cindy Anthony faced a barrage of pointed questions from Assistant State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick, who questioned how she could have been at home running searches for chloroform when employment records show she was at work.

“I went home early a couple of days,” Cindy Anthony told her.

When Burdick asked if her company e-mail records could prove whether she left early, she said, “I do not believe the company would have those from three years ago.”

Under specific questioning, she said, “I didn’t look up how to make chloroform. I looked up chloroform.”

These were all significant revelations because the prosecution has strongly suggested that Casey Anthony conducted these searches and was the only person who could have done them in the afternoon on two different days in March 2008.

The testimony about the computer searches came on the same day attorney Mark Lippman, denied reports he had told a CNN reporter that his clients – George and Cindy Anthony – believed Casey Anthony was guilty.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with first-degree murder and other counts in connection with the 2008 death of her daughter.

During an earlier deposition, Cindy Anthony told Burdick “I’m not sure” when asked if she had searched for chloroform on her computer. On Thursday, Cindy Anthony said a change in her medications since 2008 had improved her memory.

“I think the jury probably recognized what she’s doing. But it made for great theater,” said defense attorney Richard Hornsby, who has watched the case carefully. “I don’t think at the end of the day the jury will give that that much credence.”

Testimony from other witnesses Thursday — calling into question the accuracy of computer forensics done to date and quantify the chloroform searches — might have a greater impact on the jurors, Hornsby said.

The problems with the dates and times of searches not displaying correctly in a spreadsheet could allow the defense to argue “these guys can’t even interpret their own results right,” he said.

“It was clearly a good day for Jose Baez,” Hornsby said. “Once you call into question the computer searches, you call into question the pre-meditated aspects.”

Despite the problems Baez has had with procedural issues and disclosing witness opinions, Hornsby said he “knows the facts and he knows the forensics very well.”

Cindy Anthony also testified that she did not make searches for “household weapons” or “neck breaking” — other searches thought to have been done by her daughter. She first learned of the review of the computer search history in September 2008 from the detectives working on the case.

She told jurors the home computer was always left on and she often asked Casey to let her get on the computer for a few minutes when she would come home from work.

Cindy Anthony’s testimony came as the defense team continued its attack on the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution.

More forensic experts

Earlier Thursday, the defense called Dr. Barry Logan, a forensic toxicologist with NMS Labs in Willow Grove, Pa. Logan raised questions about protocols and quality assurance used by Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists, who generated the report showing air sample evidence from Casey Anthony’s car trunk had an odor signature indicative of human decomposition.

He said he found no formal testing protocols conducted and suggested this could cause false positives or false negatives in their test results.

“I saw no evidence of quality assurance that was relevant to the analysis,” Logan told the jury.

Assistant State Attorney Jeff continuously objected to Logan’s testimony, saying it was beyond the scope of his area of expertise. He also had Logan confirm that his lab does not conduct air such analyses.

Earlier, defense attorney Jose Baez grilled FBI expert Stephen Shaw, a forensic hair and fiber expert who was originally called as a prosecution witness, about some of the evidence and the science behind it.

Shaw showed many slides of hair samples from living and dead people. He said post-mortem root banding is “well-established” and identified by people in the hair and fiber analysis field.

A single hair found in Casey’s car had post-mortem banding and is thought to be Caylee’s hair. Baez pointed out two misidentifications of the root banding made during Shaw’s study on the subject. Those misidentifications by examiners were later corrected, Shaw explained. or 407-420-5447.

Copyright © 2011, Orlando Sentinel


One Response to “Orlando Sentinel – Casey Anthony trial: Cindy Anthony searched for chloroform, injuries on family computer”

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