Friday, June 17, 2011

Bugs, Bugs, and more Bugs!!!More scientific testimony!

After having to endure a fist fight in the line waiting to get a ticket to enter the courtroom today, spectators must be hoping to get something useful out of today's testimony. Neckbrace Man that has been in the trial almost everyday religiously has said that he won't return anymore because of the unruliness in line.

Tim Huntington-Forensic Entomology Consultant He is diabetic and may need to take a break to check blood sugar. 

- Huntington spent time training under the state's expert Neal Haskell and has accepted as an expert witness. Baez has him draw the stages of bug progression on his CLIPBOARD! Witness laughs and says "I'm gonna try not to bore you" He drew the life cycle of flies while court watches and compares flies to butterflies. Testified that sometimes these flies crawl over 100 ft from body.
Huntington brought some demonstrative aids to help jury understand. He used junkyard cars to perform a study on the effect of insect activity on a dead body (pig) inside a trunk. The cooler it is and rain suppress insect activity. July 2010 is when Huntington inspected trunk of Pontiac Sunfire (Casey Anthony's car)
-Huntington says it took 13 seconds for a blow fly to show up. He says they are very susceptible to smell of decomp. We were shown a picture of a decomposing pig that is being fed on by maggots. In my opinion, this is more graphic than the pictures that were introduced into evidence

Many spectators had been asked to leave the courtroom because they have been caught sleeping.

Jury not present
When Prosecutor Jeff Ashton mentioned that Baez was texting while Ashton was addressing the Judge, Judge Perry said "I don't care if Mr Baez is standing on his head, I don't care if he's standing on one foot...let's be professional". "lawyer Gaga" smiled when this happened.
 zzzzzzzzz as lawyers are told to read pages from deposition judge Baez ordered them to do immediately
-Ashton says Huntington isn't qualified to testify about stains. Defense says Entomologists study human decomposition.  He says decompositional staining is very obvious. He is unaware of a method that can remove these stains. He also say the look and feel is black and greasy. He tells the Judge that he has never testified on this subject before because he has never been asked. His field is bugs.  He thinks that in regards to the insects that he tested from the Pontiac Sunfire, he wouldn't think there was a dead body in that vehicle. Defense has known this since 2008, yet they did not dislose this information. Judge Perry does not see a reason he should allow this information in court. Ashton says if he knew witness would give an opinion or talk about color of stain he would have questioned him about it & called other experts.

Jury is returned 
-Decompositional Fluid cannot be cleaned with paper towels.  He has never seen a case where a carpet was cleaned. The carpets have always been removed when a body has decomposed in a location.
*personal note* I don't think this makes sense because the pig was not put inside bags like Caylee's body was.  According to the State's witness someone was able to clean this fluid with paper towels.
In Casey's car he could not find any body parts of flies. He only found one leg in the trash bag and he doesn't think it means anything. If there was a body in the car trunk, there wouldn't be just one fly around it. He claims there would have been thousands or six thousand legs inside that trunk.  Most of the insects that were found in the trunk eat just about anything and they were recovered in the trash bag. In his opinion, they don't mean anything of forensic value. You would expect to find these in kitchen garbage. In regards to the number of bugs that were in the trash bag, there does not seem to be a huge number that would show a decomposing body.
Baez at this point asked for a recess and seems extremely happy with the testimony and smiles at jury. Jurors have been taking alot of notes.

As soon as Court resumed, before the jury was returned, Baez objectsed to Ashton asking Huntington about being trained by Haskell. Perry responded by saying: "It will depend upon conclusion of your direct whether this issue can be brought up."

He laughs when asked whether there is a difference between garbage and trash. He uses those words interchangeably. This contradicts what his mentor (Haskell) testified to earlier in the case. The paper towels that were recovered from the trash bag contained some fly puparia (cocoons). There were a few items that these fly puparia were located in. Given the articles that were in the trash, he was not surprised by this at all.
 -Huntington: "insects on paper towels found in trash bag not there to feed." Contradicts Haskell.
Saw a piece of dried up piece of meat in the trash but thinks that tobacco spit in the trash could have attracted small scuttle flies. The flies will be attracted more to the wet garbage than the dry ones. There is nothing remarkable about the bugs he found in the car.  Insect material recovered in the recovery site is what you would expect to find at that location during those conditions. There were no blowflies around. "Their absence is significant in this situation is unusual because they should have been there. That indicates that the body was moved or transported from some other location to the site where it was discovered. It shows post-mortem movement."says Huntington. Sidebar
*personal note* Of course the body was moved. Did Baez forget the part when the forensic techs testified that the body was moved by scavenger animals!

Cross Examination
Not saying that this body fully skeletonized in another location and moved into this location.  The body began decomposition (early stages) elsewhere. Ashton immediately gets Huntington to admit body moved in early stages. Consistent with state theory. He tells the prosecution that there are 5 stages of decomp: fresh, bloat, active decay, advanced, skeletal remains.  Ashton: how long was body at Suburban Drive? Huntington: placed there 2-3 days post mortem.  Possible scenarios :Body was moved in late decomp stage, large #'s of maggots  were removed from the body and then body transported, removal of large # of maggots and body was placed in bags. Ashton claims fourth scenario :body could have been put in trash bag before flies accessed. Witness claims body was available. Ashton then reads deposition of witness where witness says there is not much to disagree with Dr. Haskell's report.  Let it be noted that jury does not know that Haskell was Huntington's teacher.
Agrees that the area where a body decomposed would stink and that the smell would not be removed.   He investigated car 2 years after this occurred. Sidebar
*note Casey is not struggling through testimony of bugs eating at her daughter's remains*
Huntington  agrees none of his studies deal with small kids wrapped in bags or blankets. Ashton asks why didn't he wrap his pigs in a blanket!? Courtroom erupts in laughter. Witness thanks him for that. Ashton laughs and says he needed it at the moment. Ashton notes Caylee was wrapped in a blanket, 2 bags and a laundry bag! Huntington's says he did this experiment bc hes wanted to for a long time and it wasn't specifically modeled after this case.  Huntington says you will still see fly activity in trunk of vehicle and they could penetrate through the bags. Huntington says if a smell can get out of a trash bag, obviously it is not airtight. A fly can lay eggs in the knot of a trash bag and when maggots hatch they will enter bag. Never used chloroform and does not know how flies will react to the chemical.
 Finds it unlikely that flies will not be involved because of chloroform involvement. Ashton mentions that he is suggesting that the chemical components of the air have changed. Things got extremely heated between these two.  Huntington says if chloroform acts like other chemicals -it would thwart flies for a short period of time.Witness says he doesn't know what was in the paper towels and Ashton makes him read the report Dr. Vass wrote to find out.  Claims he never examined the paper towels itself that Dr. Vass claims had decomposing compound on it.  Now he claims flies would have been attracted to it. Though he says that there was a large amount of cans and bottles with tobacco spit inside.  Ashton goes through the garbage and lets Huntington look at it and say if there was tobacco remnants in it.  Huntington says he's not sure whether tobacco will most def. not smell like decomposing body. Ashton asks if decomposing saliva will smell like a fully decomposing body. Huntington agrees that no, it will not smell like decomposing body.

Ashton puts his gloves on in preparation to open up a container that had a small piece of salami in it. He shows it to the witness in order to show the witness that it is a piece of paper and not a piece of meat as the witness first thought. Dr. Huntington now agrees that there does not appear to be food in trash.Agrees that the experiment decomposition does not coincide with a 2 year old wrapped up in trash bags and blankets in Florida heat for 2 days. Decomp. could be accelerated with heat but not as much.

Dr. Haskell's report on Suburban Drive is on point. The evidence from site of recovery shows that body was there for a period of time, possibly months. Evidence suggest body was moved from some location and after some stages of decomp has occurred. 75 cocoons were recovered from trash bag. That is very few when a single female fly can lay 100 of eggs. He would expect to find many more flies if body was in trunk.  Disagrees with Haskell as to where body was placed.Huntington doesn't think a body was ever inn the trunk. He says the evidence doesn't show it.  The fatty acids located in the paper towels can be found in other things not just decomp. products. Huntington says Dr. Vass' report doesn't say "adipocere" it says fatty acids consistent with (list of things). Adipocere shows up in late stages and time it takes to develop depends on the environmental situation. Baez asks if trash containers would be in the same condition as it was 3 years ago. The witness says he would expect the physical evidence shown now to be different. Trash bag that was in car trunk was knotted and maggots found their way in. He didn't include blankets and trash bags in his study because the study was not made specifically for this case. He performed this study because he had been wanting to do this study for a long time. When witness was shown obvious stain in trunk liner, Baez asked if he could make out the stain. Witness says that the stain does not look like any decomposition stain.

Witness says he doesn't know if garbage in trunk was wet or dry. When something gets wet non food item does not turn into food to his understanding. Witness got his PhD in 2008, the same year this happened. Got his Masters in 2005.  His knowledge of adipocere started when he was 16 when he worked for a mortuary service. Has never been qualified as an expert of studying a stain. This is the first time that someone has asked him to determine from a photograph if a stain was human decomposition! Report Dr. Huntington entered does not contain any opinion on his interpretation of the stain.  Ashton points out that nobody mentioned that the study was not to be compared to Caylee's case.

Baez questions witness again
He is the youngest Board Certified Forensic Entomologist. He has worked on 75 death investigation with regards to Forensic entomology. Many cases come as photographs to him.

Ashton questions
You mentioned you have never been asked to look at stains before and now you say you have. He says outside of a court of law he didn't. Mentions that in 2008, Baez mentioned the stain to him and yet he never put it in the report. He says he didn't include it in the report because the insects were not forensic bugs.

BAM! Witness Excused!

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