Yes, We Have No Salami
As I mentioned yesterday, my feed re-ran the post-lunch session and I missed the famous salami container scene. This morning, I went through to find it. You can watch it HERE at 21:10.
Dr Huntington had already waffled about the fact that the body was placed at Suburban Drive 2-5 days after decomposition had begun. He said, however, that it depended on the conditions under which the body was stored. I'm wondering if the defense is going to try and put out the theory that Roy Kronk refrigerated/froze the remains until it was convenient, and then placed them at the site to his own nefarious ends. I'm sure Jeff Ashton will be ready for that eventuality. Question is, will the defense try that theory?
A Most Unusual Day
I was surprised to see the live feed up when I was setting up my computer this morning. Apparently, there had been a matter of violation of the sequestration order, but Jeff Ashton said he had spoken with Dr. Spitz and it was no longer an issue.
At 8:45, the defense called Dr. William Rodriguez to the stand. He gave his educational and employment background. At the present time he works for the Department of Defense in Washington DC as a forensic anthropologist. It was interesting to note that he was a co-founder of the Body Farm in Tennessee with Dr. William Bass. He said that he had testified more than 100 times in various courts. Jose Baez asked for him to be accepted as a forensic anthropologist, taphonomist, and forensic entomologist.
Jeff Ashton asked to voir dire the witness on forensic entomology. Under brief questioning by Jose Baez, we learned that he had consulted with law enforcement hundreds of times concerning forensic entomology. Judge Perry accepted him as a witness in all three fields.
Baez asked Rodriguez what information he had been provided with in this case.
Rodriguez replied that he’d received the ME report and findings, the forensic anthropological report, the entomological report (Haskell), photographs of recovery scene, ME’s photographs of the of deceased, including the skull photographed at the scene and at the ME’s office.
Dr. Rodriguez said that the evidence collection at the scene was very thorough when it came to the skeleton. He did have a problem with the fact that they didn't do a study to find exactly where the body was originally placed and subsequently decomposed. He stated that it is the area where they may find much of evidence related to decomposition and trace evidence. Clothing is usually left at that scene and helps gives an idea as to where the body was originally placed.
Jeff Ashton asked to approach the bench.
After a quick side bar, Baez asked Dr.Rodriguez what he would look for to identify where the body was originally placed. The witness said the decomposition would change the vegetation, killing it off. Insects would colonize the area of the soil. He would look for these environmental changes. He said that in looking at the pictures of the site, he saw no evidence of these changes..
Baez then went on to finding remains which have duct tape. Rodriguez said he had seen many bound bodies, where duct tape had been employed. When there was still soft tissue, they looked at it to see where the tape was bound to the body. The same would occur when mummification occurs. When a body undergoes decomposition, it interferes with the adherence of the tape.
We were then treated to another side bar. When the side bar broke up, the jury was sent out and Mr. Ashton addressed his objection. The opinion about the duct tape is not in Rodriguez' report!
Judge Perry asked Baez said he understood the court's order. He then asked him to pull out the order. While the other attorneys were hunting for it, Judge Perry questioned the witness.
Rodriguez stated that the position of the duct tape and at the scene showed the duct tape in different positions. Therefore, the original position can not be determined. He could only determine original position in buried bodies or mummified remains.
Rodriguez said he first saw the photographs when they were given to him just prior to his report of February 21, 2011. He did not include that portion in his report because it was a non-issue. There was no scenario where one could make a firm decision as to where the duct tape had been.
Rodriguez shared his opinion with Jose Baez over the phone after his report in February, 2011. He said he was not aware that he had to place all his opinions in his report and did not see the court order.
Perry asked if Mr. Baez had never informed him of the court's order. He twice said he hadn't.
Baez then reminded Rodriguez about e-mails sent prior to the report stating that all opinions should be in the report. Rodriguez said that he did!
When they met two nights ago, the determination was made to use the duct tape information to rebut Dr. Warren's testimony which they felt was not true. Rodriguez said that the use of the superimposition was not viable.
Baez then addressed the judge. He said he informed all of his experts via e-mail of the order. He informed them of the deadline. He also stated that they were dead set on following the deadlines. He went on to how busy their experts were with their case loads, they were not given the video superimposition until... Baez gave more excuses and pointed out that the state did not depose the witness. Baez said that Ashton was playing a trick on the defense by not doing so. (My words.)
Baez then said that he should not have been forced to take depositions of his own witnesses!
Judge Perry pointed out that Baez was picking which court orders he would comply with, and which he would not. Perry then said that both sides had engaged in game playing and this is not a game. The orders were because of the game playing. He did not want to be in the position he was currently in. Perry indicated it was a major opinion that was not in the report. Baez could have disclosed this. It could happen at the last minute. Perry said that the omission was quite intentional on the part of the defense. It was not inadvertent. The question was if Ms. Anthony should suffer for this.
Judge Perry then asked what other undisclosed material was not in his report. The witness was told to step down, he would be deposed, and testify Monday. In addition, the state was to write an instruction and he may use it. Judge Perry topped that off by saying that he would consider a contempt citation at the end of the trial.
Baez then mentioned the "etc." portion of his filings in the court. (For example, “witness x will testify to A, B, C, and whatever)
Well, Baez got off rather easily in that all the information will be ferreted out in the deposition. Perry then warned that "lightning does not strike twice" in court and IF he has any other disclosures to make, he will not get off so easily.
Baez said he would take the deposition at 1:00 and the prosecution could come if they wanted. Perry straightened that out fast. The prosecution will depose the witness!
There will be no "Trial by Ambush" in Judge Perry's courtroom!
After a 10 minute break, we heard from Dr. Werner Spitz.
Having seen Dr. Spitz testify in the Phil Spector trial, I was ready for what was to come. He is easily riled and will lose his temper if any of his conclusions are questioned. He reminds me of my late grandfather.
After the break, Cheney Mason was at the podium and asked the judge to explain why they were changing witnesses.
Perry explained to the jury that Dr. Rodriguez would finish testifying Monday to accommodate an out-of-town witness.
Cheney Mason called Dr. Werner Spitz as the next expert. Casey Anthony smiled as he walked into court.
Dr. Spitz is a world-renown forensic pathologist. Cheney Mason asked for his background, which is formidable. Unfortunately it is an arm-and-a-half long and Cheney Mason had to prompt him on his CV. When Cheney Mason asked about the Phil Spector case, the OJ case, the Mary Jo Kopechne case and what other high profile trials he testified in, Jeff Ashton objected and was sustained.
Spitz testified that he became involved in this case through the Jose Baez Law Firm. (The question was when!) He requested to attend the post-mortem examination. When Mason asked if he was permitted to attend, Jeff Ashton objected and went to the side bar. He was overruled and Dr. Spitz testified that he was not allowed to attend. He wanted to attend because it was useful to see the body in the condition is was at that particular time.
He also felt it was an advantage to have two people in the specialty to work together. Four eyes are better than two eyes. He said it was a custom in pathology. As Spitz went on, Ashton objected and was overruled. Pathologists often send sample to doctors across the country. (Fact is, in Orlando, there is a policy that doesn’t allow for this.)
Spitz conducted a second autopsy when he was given access to the remains. He did them at the funeral home. Spitz didn't think Dr. Garavaglia hadn't completed her report at that time. He said he came to Orlando, but he didn't bring a saw. He needed one because the skull had not been opened. He opened the skull and examined it. Mason handed a bag to Spitz and had him open it up and take out a real skull of an adult.
Spitz opened the top of the skull to demonstrate what he had done. Spitz also took photographs of the autopsy. Mason approached and showed the pictures to Spitz. Apparently, pictures of the opened skull were placed on an easel for the jury to see. We could not see Spitz or the photographs at all.
Spitz said that the last redoubts of decomposition would stay in the skull. He said that the dust from the skull was the remains of the brain. Some had been removed. The specks were attached to the inside of the skull. Spitz claimed that it showed the position of the skull. Since the matter was on the left side of the skull, the body was laying on its left side during decomposition.
I don't think Spitz' graphic language is doing anything for Casey's stomach, she looked ill.
Spitz then returned to the stand and testified that he read Dr. Garavaglia's report. Mason asked the problems and deficiencies he found in her report. Spitz said he examined the entire skeleton, which only had little bones missing. To demonstrate why the skull needed to be opened, he opened the skull on the witness stand as he showed the jury.
When he opened Caylee’s skull, there was no discolorations in certain areas that he could see. There was no pre-mortem damage. Some of the bones were chewed on by animals. An area of one of the thigh bones had been opened by those who did the first autopsy. He thought that the bone was opened to get bone marrow. He learned that was not the case.
He testified that, based on his examination, the cause of death remained unknown.
Spitz understood that there were sections of duct tape that were loosely on the face. He said that there was not a shred of soft tissue remaining. He didn't need to use protective clothing to handle the bones. The tape was not with the skeleton he studied, so Spitz used the picture to show how the tape was attached.
Spitz disagreed with Dr. Garavaglia's statement that when the skin decomposed, the duct tape came loose on the skeletal structure. The roots and the hair were the only things holding the mandible in place. He believed that the duct tape was placed there to hold the lower jaw in place.
Mason asked if there would have been DNA on the duct tape if it was placed on the face prior to decomposition. He said there would have been DNA on the duct tape.
Mason then moved on to ask Dr. Spitz about adipocere. He said that it was when tissue breaks down and becomes "slimy" and somewhat like soap. Adipocere is mainly fat.
Jeff Ashton interrupted the adipocere information at this point for a side bar.
Spitz went on to testify that adipocere develops in warm environments within 10 or 12 days. He found no adipocere with the remains. (That’s in direct contradiction to what Dr. Huntington said yesterday.)
We finally came to the cause of death. Based on the remains, certain things could have been ruled out, but based on the conditions of the bones, it wasn't possible.
Spitz ruled out suicide, but not accidental death, the manner of death, according to Dr. Spitz was unknown.
Dr. Spitz testified that he had conducted or supervised approximately 60,000 autopsies.
With that, Mr. Mason finished his direct examination and there was a 10 minute recess.
There was a bench conference prior to Werner Spitz' cross examination by Jeff Ashton.
Jeff Ashton asked Dr. Spitz what information he received for his investigation. He said he had the ME report, visited the remains site, and met with the Anthony family.
Ashton asked what he found out about the specifics of the case to make a decision concerning the cause of death. Spitz replied that he asked questions of Mr. Baez, Mr. Mason, and the people in the Anthony home. He did read the police reports as well, but he couldn't say which one(s) he read.
Then Ashton asked what he knew of the case. Spitz said he knew the there was a one month lapse of time between the disappearance of the child and the time the police report was made. Ashton asked if that was important. Spitz said it was, but he needed to know all the information so all the pieces of the puzzle could fit together. He said he had some knowledge of the events at the time Caylee Anthony was last seen alive. He mentioned she had been taken to the babysitter. However, he said he could not recall information that would say what she was doing when she was last seen alive.
Ashton then asked if Dr. Garavaglia had more information than he did to make a decision. Spitz said he only knew what was in her report. He asked if Spitz recalled what Dr. G. had put in her report about the predicates. Spitz didn't remember. Ashton indicated Spitz didn't recall any of the facts. Spitz said he recalled the important facts. Spitz only recalled that Caylee was a healthy 3-year-old child.
Ashton asked Spitz WHAT facts he felt were significant:
Pool: possibility of drowning
A month went by with out informing the authorities.
We were next on to the violation of protocol in not opening the skull. According to Spitz, when you examine a body, you examine the whole body. He spent quite a bit of time explaining why it was so important. Ashton asked where it was published, but Spitz couldn't remember. But he did remember he helped write the protocol. He went on to say that since the head was not opened, it was a shoddy autopsy.
Spitz said that Ashton had provoked him!
Ashton asked if the skull is opened in a normal autopsy to see what is inside (when the remains are intact). Spitz said no, that the skull has to be examined, no matter what.
Ashton also asked about the protocol of autopsy to open the ribs. Spitz said that it was necessary to inspect the organs. It wasn’t necessary with skeletal remains.
Ashton then showed a book that Spitz edited. Ashton pointed out that Spitz had written some of the articles, Dr. Neal Haskell had written articles... Ashton put the book on the stand and asked where it talked about opening skulls. Spitz said that it wasn't a book of protocols. He said that to see injury inside the head, the skull must be opened.
Ashton asked if there were any protocol in the chapter of forensic anthropology that said the skull had to be opened. Spitz pretty much stuck to his guns that it wasn’t a book about protocols!
Jeff Ashton cited a protocol for disinterred skeletal remains in a publication. Spitz pointed out it was written for lawyers by lawyers and he didn't understand the document. Mason objected, but Ashton got Judge Perry to agree that he could read the protocol, which was not written in legalese. After he read it, Spitz said he never heard of it.
Ashton asked Spitz that Dr. Garavaglia's not opening the skull was a violation of HIS protocol. Spitz said no. At that point, Spitz started to go on that this is a high profile case, national significance, media, etc., etc. He felt this case required more questions to be answered which wouldn't be needed in someone of 85 who died of a heart attack.
Spitz really was incensed!
Ashton asked Spitz how many media interviews he had given. Spitz said one in Orlando and one in Detroit.
Ashton pointed out he did one with Detroit 6 just this week. Spitz said it was given in Detroit for local consumption and it was showed in Orlando. He then brought up the Detroit News article.
Ashton said he gave an interview with Tony Pipitone and also with a lady in Detroit. Spitz said not many facts in the case were discussed there. Ashton reminded him that he discussed much of the content, going into detail about his testimony. Ashton brought up his appearance on The Today Show and 48 Hours. Spitz didn't remember them.
When Ashton asked if he liked high profile cases, Spitz said he liked all cases. Then Ashton mentioned the Phil Spector case, among others.
Ashton then asked if Spitz broke the skull when he opened it. Ashton pointed out a crack in the skull. Spitz said he was unaware of that.
Then, Ashton went on to the residue in the skull. Spitz said he scraped the skull and sent it out, no, he kept it for possible testing. When told that the testing had been done by the County, ...
Spitz said that the stuff was not "brain dust," but was debris. Then, he turned around and said it was brain dust!
Ashton mentioned the area which is occasionally under water. Ashton asked that if the skull was under water, couldn't it be sediment from dirty water?
Spitz went off on another ramble and then, Ashton again asked if it was brain sediment, not residue, why not have it tested.
Ashton asked Spitz if he realized that the skull had been rinsed with a saline wash. He was. Ashton then asked if there was no possibility that the sediment ended up on the left side because of that.
Spitz went off about a case in Riverside, California.
Then, he said the finding was of such importance because it was on the left side. He said this sediment stayed put even with the saline wash.
Ashton pointed out that in the California case, he sent that residue for chemical analysis.
Then, Spitz went on to again say this kerfuffle wouldn't have happened if he had worked with Dr. G.
Ashton pointed out that if they had it tested, there wouldn't have been a kerfuffle! Spitz said he wasn't a laboratory!
Jeff Ashton then had Dr. Spitz put his skull back together and put it in the approximate position Spitz described Caylee’s skull would have been in based on his testimony. There then followed a discussion of the way the hair would fall. Spitz said that some of the hair would fall to the left side. Some would stick to the top. The hair to the back would probably fall back when the skull was lifted.
Ashton then showed the picture of the Caylee's skull. Ashton pointed out that the hair mat had fallen back and not to the side.
Spitz demonstrated the position with his skull and mentioned she has long hair and is sitting on the base of the skull, sort of glued to the bone. Ashton pointed out that the picture was inconsistent with the skull being on its left side. Spitz then said that perhaps the water splashed the hair and the liquid remains glued it to the skull. Ashton asked if the hair was sticky. Spitz said he only saw pictures of it but he knew it was sticky because he had seen it in other cases.
Jeff Ashton then asked if it was contradictory that he said that the body lay on the left side and the hair was in another position. Spitz said it wasn't and explained the situation. (I didn't get it!)
Spitz said that it was his opinion that the duct tape was placed after the face had decomposed. Ashton then asked how the person put the duct tape on the decomposed skull. He said the person took duct tape and cut it into sections to keep the mandible intact. Ashton asked if the person picked the skull off the ground to put the tape on it. Spitz said he couldn't answer.
Then, Spitz said maybe. Ashton went on to say that if the person picked up the skull, the mandible would have fallen off. The person would have to pick up the skull and mandible and put it back in its anatomical position and then tape it.
Then, Spitz argued that the tape was put only on one side. Ashton then made it a hypothetical that if the person wanted the mandible back in place, why would it take three pieces of duct tape!
Okay, I have fallen down the Rabbit Hole.
Then Ashton asked why there was not glue residue on the skull? Spitz said that bone is solid and dense... then I got confused again.
Ashton then indicated that the duct tape was not stuck to the bone. Spitz said that the water would remove some of the glue.
Spitz then said that the person could have taken the head someplace, put the tape on, and brought it back. Ashton then pointed out that what happened to the hair that was stuck to the tape?
This examination got to go very far beyond the absurd.
Spitz said that somebody at the ME's office might have put the hair over the skull for the picture.
When Ashton showed him a picture of the skull at the site, he said that somebody did it in that picture as well.
He was saying somebody rearranged the hair !
Mason came up for re-direct.
He started with other reasons for opening the skull. Spitz said that there are occasionally fractures that will not fracture the outside of the skull, but will fracture the inside.
Another reason is that in a case of certain types of death, there would be hemorrhage in certain locations at the base of the skull which would color areas inside the skull. There are also sometimes hemorrhages in smothering deaths which would do the same thing.
Spitz read the autopsy reports and learned the matter from the autopsy was sent for toxicology. Spitz said he read the reports. He found no poison, chloroform.
Mason also addressed the duct tape. He asked Spitz if he knew how many people handled the skull. No. Was the skull was manipulated? Yes. It also explained the change in the position of the hair. Somebody had to do it.
Mason was finished, Ashton was finished, and I certainly had quite enough!
Judge Perry reminded the lawyers about the reports. (I’m sure he wants no more ambushes from the defense, but included the prosecution to be fair on any appeal.) He told them to be ready to work next Saturday to 3:00 PM! One witness a day was not going to get them where they need to be. He will not hurry the defense, but he will extend the work hours!
See you all at 9:00 AM on Monday! Enjoy your weekend!