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Posts Tagged ‘body’

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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CSM – Casey Anthony trial: Should investigators have found Caylee four months sooner?

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

A meter reader says at the Casey Anthony trial he first told investigators of Caylee’s remains four months before they were recovered. Was an opportunity lost to collect better evidence?

 

 

 

David Dean, a meter reader and former co-worker of Roy Kronk, is questioned by defense attorney Jose Baez during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday. Kronk says he contacted the sheriff’s department three times about Caylee Anthony’s remains. Could Caylee’s remains have been found by police earlier?

Red Huber/AP

By Warren Richey, Staff writer / June 28, 2011

The man who discovered the skeletal remains of two-year-old Caylee Anthony testified Tuesday in the murder trial of her mother that he tried three times in August 2008 to get the sheriff’s department to investigate what appeared to be a child’s skull in a wooded area not far from Caylee’s home.

Roy Kronk, a county meter reader, said he called the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on three consecutive days, but no one from law enforcement went into the swampy woods to investigate.

One deputy, after a cursory look around, even berated him for wasting the department’s time with a frivolous report.

Four months later on Dec. 11, 2008, Mr. Kronk said he returned to the same place in the woods near a distinctive log.

He told the jury that he saw a plastic bag. “I held the bag up,” Mr. Kronk said. “The contents of the bag shifted and that’s when I discovered the skull. It was at my feet.”

Kronk’s testimony has been highly anticipated among those closely following the Casey Anthony murder trial. In most cases, Kronk would be hailed a hero for helping to bring closure to the grim vigil for the missing toddler. But defense attorneys are hoping to use the unusual circumstances surrounding the discovery of Caylee’s remains as a way to suggest reasonable doubt to the jury.

In his fiery opening statement, defense attorney Jose Baez accused Kronk of moving and hiding Caylee’s remains.

“We are not saying he had anything to do with her death, but he is a morally bankrupt individual who took her body and hid her,” Baez said back at the start of the trail on May 24.

It is unclear why Kronk – or anyone else – would risk the legal consequences of tampering with evidence. Defense lawyers have suggested that he needed money and was hoping to receive a $255,000 reward offered in the nation-wide search for Caylee. But hiding the remains would not boost the reward.

Rather than implicating Kronk in some ill-defined conspiracy, his testimony on Tuesday raises serious questions about the basic competence of investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Had law enforcement responded to Kronk’s first phone call to police on Aug. 11, forensic experts would have had a significantly better chance to lift fingerprints, DNA, or other direct physical evidence from the deteriorating duct tape found near Caylee’s skull.

The defense suggests that police conducted thorough searches in the wooded area and were unable to locate Caylee’s decomposing body because it had been moved and hidden for a period of time.

Prosecutors maintain it was not detected because the area was underwater for much of the summer due to a tropical storm and heavy rains.

The truth may never be known. Kronk testified that the first time he entered the wooded area on Aug. 11 – less than two months after Caylee is thought to have died – he saw a gray vinyl bag and what looked like it might be a small human skull. He said there was no peculiar odor in the area.

Later that night he called the sheriff’s department. “I don’t know what it is,” he told the dispatcher. “I’m not saying it is Caylee or anything. This could be nothing.”

Kronk was asked by Defense Attorney Cheney Mason whether he saw the same grey vinyl bag when he returned to the scene four months later on Dec. 11.

“No,” he said.

Kronk said he wasn’t sure the skull was real, or even a skull. He said he prodded the object with his meter-reader stick “and tipped it up. I apologize for doing so, but I didn’t know what it was.”

He added: “I gently pivoted it up.”

“It wasn’t stuck in the mud, was it?”

“No,” Kronk said.

Kronk’s testimony was different than the first written statement he gave to police in early 2009. In that statement he said that the bag opened and a small human skull with duct tape and hair dropped out.

“That was my original statement,” he acknowledged. He said he “made a mistake” in the statement.

“Did the skull come out in any way,” Mr. Mason asked.

“No sir.”

“You recognize that you said that under oath before, but now you are saying something else,” Mason said.

“That whole period for me is a little fuzzy,” Kronk said. “After finding what I found, it kind of unnerved me.”

Kronk’s testimony came on Day 30 of the first-degree murder trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida mother accused of using chloroform and duct tape to kill her toddler daughter. Prosecutors say she kept the child’s body in the trunk of her car for several days before dumping it in the wooded area around the corner from the family home.

Defense lawyers maintain that Caylee accidentally drowned and that her mother, Casey, panicked. Rather than call police, she hid the body with the help of her father.

George Anthony denies any involvement.

In other testimony on Tuesday, the defense team called Mr. Anthony to the stand and confronted him with accusations that he had an extra-marital affair with Krystal Halloway, a former volunteer in the Caylee search effort.

“Did you have a romantic relationship with her,” Baez asked.

“No sir,” he said. “To me that is very funny.”

Baez wasn’t done. “Were you ever intimate with her,” he asked.

“No sir. That also is very funny.”

Mr. Anthony acknowledged going “a few times” to Ms. Halloway’s home, but he said his actions were noble. She had told him she was dying of a brain tumor and he said he went to comfort her.

The defense attorney also asked whether Mr. Anthony had ever told Ms. Halloway that Caylee’s death was “an accident that snowballed out of control.”

“That conversation was never there. I never confided in any volunteers,” Mr. Anthony said.

“You never told Krystal Halloway while the two of you were being romantic that this was an accident that snowballed out of control,” Baez asked.

“I never did.”

On cross-examination, Assistant State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton threw in a zinger question of his own.

“Did you ever tell [Halloway] that while your daughter was home on bond that you grabbed her by the throat, threw her up against a wall, and said ‘I know you did something to Caylee, where’s Caylee,’ ” Mr. Ashton asked.

Mr. Anthony responded: “No sir. I’d never do something like that.”

The trial is set to resume Wednesday morning.

 

© 2011 The Christian Science Monitor

 

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Reuters – Heart risks lower in men who get enough vitamin D

Posted by 4love2love on June 24, 2011

Amy Norton Reuters3:22 p.m. EDT, June 24, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Men who consume the recommended amount of vitamin D are somewhat less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who get little of the vitamin in their diets, a large U.S. study suggests.

Following nearly 119,000 adults for two decades, researchers found that men who got at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day — the current recommended amount — were 16 percent less likely to develop heart problems or a stroke, versus men who got less than 100 IU per day.

There was no such pattern among women, however, the researchers report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The authors say the findings do not prove that vitamin D, itself, deserves the credit for the lower risks seen in men. So they should not start downing supplements for the sake of their hearts.

“The evidence is not strong enough yet to make solid recommendations,” said lead researcher Dr. Qi Sun, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health.

On the other hand, the apparent benefits were linked to vitamin D intakes near what’s already recommended: Last year, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a scientific advisory panel to the U.S. government, bumped up the recommended dose to 600 IU for most people. Adults older than 70 were told to get 800 IU.

So these latest findings may encourage more people to meet those guidelines, Sun said.

But as far as whether vitamin D cuts heart disease and stroke risk, the jury is still out.

Sun said that more answers should come from an ongoing clinical trial that is looking at whether a high dose of vitamin D (2,000 IU per day) can cut the risk of heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases.

Clinical trials, wherein people are randomly assigned to a treatment or a placebo, are considered the “gold standard” of medical evidence.

So far, there have been few such randomized clinical trials testing vitamin D’s health effects.

A flurry of studies in recent years has linked higher vitamin D intake to lower risks of everything from diabetes, to severe asthma, heart disease, certain cancers and depression.

The problem with those studies is that were “observational” — researchers looked at people’s vitamin D intake, or their blood levels of the vitamin, and whether they developed a given health condition. Those kinds of studies cannot prove cause-and-effect.

The current study was also observational, based on data from two long-term projects that have followed two large groups of U.S. health professionals since the 1980s.

Out of 45,000 men, there were about 5,000 new cases of cardiovascular disease over the study period. These were defined by an incident of heart attack, stroke, or death attributed to cardiovascular disease.

After accounting for a range of factors — like age, weight, exercise levels and other diet habits, such as fat intake – Sun’s team found that men who got at least 600 IU of vitamin D from food and supplements had a 16 percent lower risk of heart attack and stroke compared to men who got less than 100 IU of vitamin D per day.

For women, though, there was no correlation between vitamin D intake and cardiovascular health.

It’s not clear why that is, Sun said. One possibility is that women may have less active vitamin D circulating in the blood; vitamin D is stored in fat, and women typically have a higher percentage of body fat than men do.

But more research is needed, Sun said, to know whether real biological differences underlie the current findings.

In theory, vitamin D could help ward off heart disease and stroke; lab research suggests that it may help maintain healthy blood vessel function and blood pressure levels, reduce inflammation in the blood vessels, and aid blood sugar control.

But until clinical trials help show whether vitamin D works, Sun advised people to stick with the tried-and-true ways of protecting their hearts: maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and not smoking.

“There are many established ways to lower your cardiovascular disease risk,” Sun said. “People can focus on those measures.”

As for vitamin D, the sun is the major natural source, since sunlight triggers vitamin D synthesis in the body. Food sources are relatively few and include fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, and fortified dairy products and cereals.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/irO9Xe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online June 8, 2011.

Copyright © 2011, Reuters

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Los Angeles Times – Research shows promise in reversing Type 1 diabetes

Posted by 4love2love on June 24, 2011

Experiments in a small number of people show that an inexpensive vaccine normally used against tuberculosis may stop the immune system from attacking pancreas cells. 

InsulinThe findings contradict an essential paradigm of diabetes therapy — that once the insulin-secreting beta cells of the pancreas have been destroyed, they are gone forever. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

 

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles TimesJune 25, 2011

Preliminary experiments in a handful of people suggest that it might be possible to reverse Type 1 diabetes using an inexpensive vaccine to stop the immune system from attacking cells in the pancreas.

Research in mice had already shown that the tuberculosis vaccine called BCG, prevents T cells from destroying insulin-secreting cells, allowing the pancreas to regenerate and begin producing insulin again, curing the disease.

Now tests with very low doses of the vaccine in humans show transient increases in insulin production, researchers will report Sunday at a San Diego meeting of the American Diabetes Assn.
The Massachusetts General Hospital team is now gearing up to use higher doses of the vaccine in larger numbers of people in an effort to increase and prolong the response.

The findings contradict an essential paradigm of diabetes therapy — that once the insulin-secreting beta cells of the pancreas have been destroyed, they are gone forever. Because of that belief, most research today focuses on using vaccines to prevent the cells’ destruction in the first place, or on using beta cell transplants to replace the destroyed cells.

The new findings, however, hint that even in patients with long-standing diabetes, the body retains the potential to restore pancreas function if clinicians can only block the parts of the immune system that are killing the beta cells.

The results are “fascinating and very promising,” said immunology expert Dr. Eva Mezey, director of the adult stem-cell unit at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. But Mezey noted that the results had been achieved in only a small number of patients and that they suggest the vaccinations would have to be repeated regularly.

The key player in the diabetes study is a protein of the immune system called tumor necrosis factor, or TNF. Studies by others have shown that if you increase levels of TNF in the blood, it will block other parts of the immune system that attack the body, especially the pancreas.

To raise TNF levels, Dr. Denise Faustman of Massachusetts General Hospital and her colleagues have been working with the BCG vaccine, known formally as Bacille Calmette-Guerin. BCG has been used for more than 80 years in relatively low doses to stimulate immunity against tuberculosis. More recently, it has been used in much higher doses to treat bladder cancer.

Faustman first reported her findings in mice in a 2001 paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, but scientists reviewing her findings for that journal were so skeptical that she was not allowed to refer to “regeneration” of the pancreas in the paper. Instead, she was told to say “restoration of insulin secretion by return of blood sugar to normal.”

In 2003, she published a report in the journal Science in which she was able to use the word “regeneration,” but that finding was met by an “explosion of skepticism,” she said. Nonetheless, by 2007, “six international labs had duplicated the mouse experiments,” she said. “We needed to move forward into humans.”

In the human trial, Faustman and her colleagues studied six patients who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes for an average of 15 years. They were randomly selected to receive either two doses of BCG spaced four weeks apart or a placebo.

Careful examination of those receiving the vaccine showed a decline of T cells that normally attack the pancreas. It also revealed a temporary but statistically significant elevation of an insulin precursor called C-peptide, an indication that new insulin production was occurring.

“If this is reproducible and correct, it could be a phenomenal finding,” said Dr. Robert R. Henry of UC San Diego, who chaired the scientific program at the meeting. It suggests that once the destructive immune response is controlled, the body has the capability to produce more insulin, he said.

One of the patients receiving a placebo also showed a similar elevation of C-peptide, but that patient coincidentally became infected by Epstein-Barr virus, which is known to induce production of TNF.

The concentrations of BCG that the team used were much lower than they would have liked, but were the highest the Food and Drug Administration would permit, Faustman said.

She said she is now negotiating with the agency to use higher levels, which should produce a more pronounced effect, and to enroll more people.

The research is funded by philanthropists, primarily the Iacocca Family Foundation.

thomas.maugh@latimes.com

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

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