Casey Anthony Trial: Crime Scene Photos Staged; Defense Accused of Contempt

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By Eryn Sun, Christian Post Reporter
June 18, 2011|2:49 pm

Chief Judge Belvin Perry threatened to hold Casey Anthony’s defense attorney Jose Baez in contempt of court Saturday morning for deliberately withholding information from the state.

During the defense’s first testimony of the day, Baez questioned witness Dr. Bill Rodriguez, an expert in forensic anthropology, about duct tape found near Caylee’s skull.

When the prosecution objected, stating that Rodriguez gave no previous opinion about duct tape in earlier deposition, Perry dismissed the jury for another sidebar.

The witness planned to testify that no conclusions could be drawn from the duct tape found near Caylee’s remains because the bones had been scattered by animals.

He also told the judge that he did in fact share his opinion on the matter with the defense in February, prompting Perry to accuse Baez of intentional withholding from the court and state.

Warning both attorneys about the gravity of the murder case and telling them to stop “game playing,” the judge allowed prosecutors to depose Rodriguez after court Saturday afternoon and told jurors upon returning to the court that Rodriguez would continue on Monday in order to accommodate another witness from out of town.

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Award-winning forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz, who consulted Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy assassinations, then took the stand, testifying about his findings from a second autopsy he performed on the 2-year-old.

Spitz told the court that he had asked the state’s medical examiner, Dr. Jan Garavaglia, to be present at her initial autopsy but was denied, causing him to perform a separate autopsy of his own.

He challenged the findings of Dr. G who formerly testified that Caylee’s death was the result of homicide, with the manner undetermined.

The state claims that Casey suffocated Caylee with duct tape, while the defense states that the toddler died by accidental drowning.

Spitz told the court that he believes the duct tape was placed on Caylee after her body decomposed, to keep her jawbone attached to her skull, because of the lack of “entomological evidence found on the duct tape.” If tape was placed on the skin, DNA would have been left on it.

He also shared that the medical examiner should have opened Caylee’s skull as well, saying that by opening up the skull you could see fractures or other things that you couldn’t see from the outside.

Upon opening the skull, Spitz found “a cake of dark brown residue” on the left side of the skull, indicating that the left side of the skull was down during the decomposition process, causing sediment to precipitate to the area.

The initial autopsy and photos had showed that the duct tape found on the remains was stuck to the hair and not the mandible bone.

“If the skull was once lying on its left side, as clearly evidenced by the location of the sediment, it is highly unlikely that both the skull and the mandible, which would have been disarticulated during decomposition would roll back to an almost perfect anatomical position.”

During cross-examination, Prosecutor Jeff Ashton pointed out that Caylee’s skull was found in an upright anatomical position, and that if the skull was found how Spitz described, wouldn’t the mass of hair be on the same side as well.

But Spitz responded not necessarily, and stated that water could have moved the hair. He also revealed that someone may have tampered with the evidence and put the hair over the skull while taking photos.

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” he added.

Casey, 25, is accused of suffocating her daughter, placing her in the trunk of her car, and dumping her body in the nearby woods. If convicted, she faces the death penalty.

 

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