After a late start in the Casey Anthony murder trial, detective Yuri Melich of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office was the first witness to take the stand on Monday, brought back to clarify details of his testimony last Friday.
He had previously stated that he looked at phone records from Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found the remains of Caylee Anthony in December 2008, from June 2008 to December 2008.
Retracting his statement, however, made the lead investigator admit that he got the time frame wrong. He had only gotten Kronk’s cell phone records from June to July 2008.
Defense attorney Jose Baez wondered what else Melich could have misspoken to the jury about. The detective pointed out that he did not intentionally misinform the jury.
He also confirmed that he subpoenaed cell phone records from Casey’s friends and ex-boyfriends, initially because they were looking for Casey’s nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez, who had purportedly kidnapped Caylee. Detectives never found the alleged kidnapper.
Melich also took the computer of a woman by the name of Joy Wray who claimed to be a spy for George Bush and stated that she had information about the Casey Anthony case.
Baez further questioned Melich to try and stress to the jury that the detective did not do a thorough job in investigating the crime scene. The defense pointed out that George and Cindy Anthony’s cars were not searched when investigators examined Casey’s car.
During cross-examination, however, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick got Melich to state that the other cars weren’t searched because there were no reports revealing that they had smelled like a dead body.
Gerardo Bloise and Michael Vincent were also called to the stand, both involved in the crime-scene unit at the Sheriff’s Office. They were asked about their role in searching the Pontiac Sunfire, Casey’s car, which the state claims she used to transfer the dead body of her two-year-old daughter after she suffocated her with duct tape.
Deputy Jason Forgey, a cadaver dog handler, also testified on Monday. He was questioned on the search his specially trained dog, Gerus, made on Casey’s car. Forgey had previously claimed that his dog had detected human decomposition from the trunk of Casey’s car and the Anthony family backyard.
The detective testified to his dog being deployed on two cars present in the forensics bay garage, including Casey’s Sunfire. Baez sought to show the jury that the dog could have falsely alerted his owner to please him.
Over the weekend, Judge Belvin Perry had Casey Anthony examined for mental competency after her lawyers asked for an emergency competency hearing on Saturday, stating that the defendant was incompetent to proceed trial and assist in her own defense.
However, after looking over evaluations by three forensic psychologists, Perry decided that Casey was competent to stand trial and resumed court Monday morning.
The day started off with defense attorney Ann Finnell filing a motion for mistrial based on a recent case in Miami where a federal judge ruled that Florida’s process for giving the death penalty was unconstitutional.
According to local news, Finnell asked a new jury to be seated in a case that was not death penalty qualified. She was not expected to appear at the trial unless Casey was found guilty, where she would argue for life imprisonment instead of the death penalty, but she was found in court today.
Casey, 25, pleads not guilty to first-degree murder of her two-year-old daughter.