The court adjourned early Monday in the Casey Anthony trial because the state’s next witness would not be available until Tuesday afternoon. Only two FBI investigators were called to the stand.
Both gave testimony this morning about the tests performed on key pieces of evidence, including the duct tape found with 2-year-old Caylee’s remains and samples of hair collected.
Prosecution maintains that Casey suffocated her daughter with duct tape, while the defense argues that the toddler drowned in her grandparents’ swimming pool.
Physical scientist and FBI latent fingerprint examiner Elizabeth Fontaine revealed on Monday that she had discovered a heart-shaped residue on the duct tape covering Caylee’s mouth with an alternative light source used in the latent-print recovery process.
She stated the image resembled residue or debris left by an adhesive bandage.
Prosecution plans to introduce evidence that similar heart-shaped stickers were in the Anthony home as well. (While the jury was out of the courtroom last Saturday, Orange County forensics supervisor Ronald Murdock was shown a photo of a book of heart-shaped stickers found in Casey Anthony’s room in December 2008.)
Questioning the evidence presented, defense attorney Jose Baez, during cross-examination, noted that when Fontaine examined the duct tape for a second time, the heart-shaped residue was gone and could no longer be seen.
Fontaine also testified that no fingerprints were detectable on the three pieces of duct tape analyzed with Caylee’s remains, although that came as no surprise, she added, because of the exposure to the environment and outside elements.
Stephen Shaw, another FBI examiner, took the stand as well on Monday, telling jurors that he compared hair from a brush of Caylee’s to samples taken from the remains of her skull, along with ones from the trunk of Casey’s car.
Though the samples were all consistent, he said that was not a means of positive identification.
When prosecutors tried to show the jury a PowerPoint presentation containing color photos of the hair samples analyzed, the defense objected, saying that they had not seen the presentation prior.
Though both Shaw and the prosecution stated that they had given the defense black and white photos of the hair samples, Chief Judge Belvin Perry dismissed the evidence, saying that it was “troubling” that the presentation was not given to the defense ahead of time.
The only photo shown to the jury by Shaw was a picture of a single hair decomposed. He explained that a single hair linked to Casey Anthony’s car showed signs of post-mortem root banding, which was similar to hairs found from Caylee’s remains in the woods.
Many witnesses have previously provided evidence that Caylee’s decomposing body was in Casey’s trunk before being dumped in the woods.
Shaw shared about his ongoing research with root banding, which depicts a dark band of color encircling the root of the hair, sometimes seen on hair from the deceased, and whether it could occur on hair from someone living.
His research thus far has shown that post-mortem root banding is unique to human decomposition, echoing the previous testimony of FBI examiner Karen Korsberg-Lowe on Saturday.
As the court was adjourned early, Judge Perry announced that the prosecution could end their case as early as Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday. The defense could then begin their case Thursday.
He also told the jury that the trial was running ahead of schedule and that they could be deliberating as soon as next Saturday, June 25th, or early the following week, on the 27th, depending on the length of the defense’s case.
“But that is subject to change. Don’t hold me to that,” he concluded.
The Casey Anthony trial enters its fourth week of trial this week. If convicted, Casey Anthony faces the death penalty for first degree murder. She pleads not guilty.