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Chicago Tribune – Casey Anthony trial: Defense rests case without calling her to testify

Posted by 4love2love on July 1, 2011

By Bianca Prieto, Amy Pavuk and Anthony Colarossi, Orlando Sentinel10:27 p.m. CDT, June 30, 2011
In his opening statement, defense attorney José Baez told jurors that Caylee Marie Anthony wasn’t murdered by her mother as prosecutors allege, but drowned in the family pool.Baez then dropped a series of bombshells by saying his client, Casey Anthony, was sexually abused by her father, George, and that he knew Caylee drowned and disposed of her body. Baez then suggested the meter reader who found Caylee’s remains in December 2008 had more involvement in the case than he let on.

The defense spent two weeks presenting its case before resting Thursday. Even though experts have said her testimony was imperative to the defense case, Casey Anthony did not take the stand.Cindy Anthony  ‘claims she searched for ‘chloroform’

Casey Anthony’s mother, Cindy, made a stunning revelation when she testified that she was the one who searched for chloroform on the Internet after looking up information on chlorophyll.

State witnesses had told jurors about high levels of chloroform, which can be deadly, traced to Anthony’s car. Someone — prosecutors suggested it was Casey — used the Anthony family computer to search the Internet for the term “chloroform,” as well as “household weapons” and “neck-breaking.”

Cindy Anthony said she searched for the information initially because she was worried about her dog ingesting backyard leaves. If the jury believes Cindy Anthony’s testimony, it could hurt the state’s argument that the online searches constitute premeditation — which bolsters the first-degree-murder charge against her daughter.

Defense computer forensic investigators acknowledged there was a discrepancy in dates and times in two different reports the state introduced as evidence about the Anthony family computer.

Suicide note

George Anthony delivered emotional testimony when asked about his suicide attempt in January 2009.

Caylee’s grandfather broke down several times on the witness stand Wednesday after he denied abusing his daughter, Casey, and acknowledged he tried to kill himself “to be with Caylee.”

George Anthony drank beer and took pills while he wrote a five-page suicide note inside a Daytona Beach motel. He admitted he would likely not be alive if law enforcement had not intervened.

He also told the jury he purchased a gun as part of a misguided plan to force Casey Anthony’s friends to tell him what happened to his granddaughter.

Baez flatly asked George Anthony whether he recalled the prosecution asking whether he ever molested Casey Anthony.

“I would never do anything like that to my daughter,” George Anthony said.

Duct tape on Caylee’s skull

Defense attorney Cheney Mason called forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz, a world-renowned expert in his field.

Spitz attacked Medical Examiner Jan Garavaglia’s autopsy of Caylee’s remains, calling it “shoddy.” He called her decision not to open the skull “a failure.” When he split the skull, he found trace evidence that he thought indicated the skull had been placed with its left side down.

He also proposed a theory that duct tape was placed on Caylee’s remains long after her death — and after her body had decomposed and was skeletonized.

Though Garavaglia classified Caylee’s death as a homicide, Spitz said that determination could not be made based on his examination of the remains and his many years of experience.“I could not tell you what the manner of death was,” said Spitz, who has conducted tens of thousands of autopsies.

Botanist offers time frame for placement of Caylee’s remainsForensic botanist Dr. Jane Bock initially said the shortest amount of time Caylee’s remains could have been in the woods off Suburban Drive was about two weeks. Bock told jurors she visited the woods, reviewed photographs and other evidence.

But during cross-examination, Bock told a prosecutor Caylee’s body could have been placed in the woods far earlier than her initial estimate.

Ultimately, Bock told the court, “I don’t know exactly when it was placed there.”

Family dysfunction displayed

Baez claimed in his opening statement that Casey Anthony was abused by her father, George, and brother, Lee. And though neither confirmed the abuse claims — George Anthony was asked directly and denied it — testimony showed deep-seated family problems.

Lee Anthony cried when he told Baez he didn’t visit Casey Anthony in the hospital when Caylee was born because he was angry with his family. Lee Anthony said that when he inquired about his sister’s pregnancy, their mother told him to “let it go.”

“I was very angry at my mom. I was also angry at my sister — that they didn’t want to include me and didn’t find it important enough to tell me,” Lee Anthony said.

During another round of questioning, Lee Anthony and his mother, Cindy, made conflicting statements about private investigators searching for Caylee’s remains.

Cindy Anthony said she never told the private investigators to go into the woods to search for Caylee’s remains. But Lee Anthony testified he argued with his mother about the issue because it was the first time he had heard his family suggest Caylee was dead and they were looking for her remains.

Expert testimony about findings in trunk of car

Forensic entomologist Tim Huntington seemed to score points for the defense team when he testified there should have been more flies in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car if Caylee’s body were stored there, as prosecutors say.

Huntington said there would be hundreds, if not thousands, of blowflies in the trunk. But, he said, just one leg of a blowfly was found linked to the trunk.

“The evidence doesn’t make sense any way you look at it to say there was a body in the trunk,” Huntington said.

But Huntington endured a brutal cross-examination, in which he admitted he examined Casey Anthony’s Pontiac about two years after Caylee died, and the car still smelled.

Forensic toxicology expert Dr. Barry Logan raised questions about protocols and quality assurance used by Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists, who generated reports for the state showing air-sample evidence from the trunk had an odor signature indicative of human decomposition.

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

Also, an FBI toxicologist testified that she found no trace of drugs in Caylee’s hair, which could not be tested for chloroform.

Grief expert takes standDefense attorney Dorothy Clay Sims called Florida State University professor and grief-and-trauma expert Sally Karioth to explain how people deal with grief in different ways. The defense used her to explain Casey’s lying and denial after her daughter’s disappearance.
Karioth said young people are often “reluctant grievers” and deal with loss in unusual ways.

Those may include looking like they’re having a great time and spending money they don’t have, she said. Also, she said denial can be an expression of “bereavement overload.”

“Folks who use denial a lot and are faced with profound grief or loss may very well develop what I would call ‘magical thinking,’ ” Karioth said.

Karioth only spoke in general terms and about hypothetical situations resembling Casey’s case. She did not evaluate Casey and said she was unaware of the facts of the case.

Meter reader Roy Kronk

During openings, Baez referred to Roy Kronk, the Orange County meter reader who discovered Caylee’s remains in 2008, as “morally bankrupt.”

When the defense called Kronk to the stand, he acknowledged giving varying accounts of how he found the toddler’s remains Dec. 11, 2008, in woods off Suburban Drive.

Kronk told the jury he poked at the skull with his meter-reader stick, put the rod through the right eye socket and lifted the skull slightly. Kronk said he didn’t realize what it was. When he did, he called his supervisor.

Jurors also heard how Kronk initially came across the remains in August 2008, when he went into the woods to go to the bathroom. At the time, Kronk didn’t know whether it was a real skull, a prop or something ceramic. And Kronk said he didn’t get close enough to inspect because he and his co-workers were preoccupied with a dead rattlesnake.

The defense also called Kronk’s son, Brandon Sparks, who said his father told him in November 2008 he knew where Caylee’s remains were. That statement contradicts what Kronk, who until early that year had been estranged from his son, said on the stand.

bprieto@tribune.com or 407-420-5620. apavuk@tribune.com or 407-420-5735. acolarossi@tribune.com or 407-420-5447.

Copyright © 2011, Orlando Sentinel

 

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