As violence erupted outside the Casey Anthony trial, with members of the public fighting to grab a seat in the much-coveted court case, things continued to heat up inside as well between the state and the defense.
Friday marked the second day Chief Judge Belvin Perry warned attorneys to watch their comments in court as attorneys made unprofessional remarks to one another. Judge Perry stated previously that attorneys would be fined for contempt if they did not control their tones and speech.
Most of the morning was spent in sidebars, with the jury in and out of the courtroom as prosecutors questioned the authority of the defense’s first witness called to the stand, Tim Huntington, a forensic entomology consultant and professor at Concordia University.
The state argues that Casey suffocated her 2-year-old daughter Caylee with duct tape, placed her in the trunk of her car, and dumped her in the nearby woods. Defense maintains that Caylee accidentally drowned in her grandparents’ swimming pool.
Hoping to refute the findings of the state’s entomologist Neil Haskell-- who previously testified that insect evidence linked to Casey’s car indicated that a body had been placed inside-- Huntington stated to jurors that the absence of dead blowflies in the trunk suggested there was no human decomposition.
According to the evidence that he examined, only the leg of one blowfly was discovered.
The defense claims that the smell from the trunk, which the state attributes to a decomposing body, came from trash that was placed inside the car.
Because of the trash, the presence of other insects, more common fly species, in the trunk was not surprising, the witness said.
Huntington, who had been trained for a time under Haskell, testified that he found no evidence to assume that a dead body had been placed in the trunk for several days.
Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton objected several times during the witness testimony because questions were being answered about stains caused by decomposition fluids.
Ashton argued that Huntington had changed his testimony, which was different from his report or deposition submitted.
Outside the presence of the jury, Judge Perry, after looking through the entomologist’s previous deposition, stated that Huntington was allowed to talk about decomposition fluids and characteristics in general, including staining.
He was not however able to speak specifically about the stain in the trunk of Casey’s car, since he did not examine it directly and because prosecution was unaware of his opinion on the matter.
During cross-examination, Huntington remarked that in whatever location Caylee died, the smell of decomposition would have been present-- which several of the state's witnesses testified that the trunk of Casey’s car smelled like death.
Huntington also admitted that the defendant’s car smelled when he examined it two years after the toddler’s death. The defense noted that the smell came from the bags of trash, but the entomologist admitted that that was very little food in the trash bags.
Meanwhile, outside the courtroom, surprise witness Vasco Thompson, who was a late addition to the defense’s witness list, held a news conference with his attorney Friday morning denying any links to Casey’s father, George Anthony, according to the Associated Press.
He had only seen him on TV and never spoken to him before. His lawyer, Matt Morgan, accused Casey’s defense of making his client a scapegoat to create reasonable doubt in the jury before deliberations.
Defense said that there were four phone calls made between Thompson and George on the day before Caylee’s disappearance. However, Thompson revealed that the number in question was not found until February 2009, nearly seven months later.
Morgan explained the conditions of his client’s imprisonment stating that a 5-minute domestic dispute with Thompson’s former girlfriend resulted in a 10-year prison sentence. “It wasn’t like he kidnapped a child and thrown it in the back of a car,” he expressed, noted by Tampa Bay Online.
Casey, 25, is accused of first-degree murder. If convicted, she faces the death penalty. She pleads not guilty.