As defense continued today, it cause many people surprise since for some reason they started early. Judge Perry must not have wanted to waste time. I sat down as managed to get the first witness in time! Whew! Anyhoo, here's the coverage for today.
William Rodriguez:co-founder of the Oak Ridge "body farm" where Dr Vass works. He works for the US Armed Forces Medical Examiner's office and is an unpaid consultant. He is classified as a forensic anthropologist. He has extensive experience with dead bodies. Extensive research in taphonomy (breakdown of body after death; decomp).
He does think that the recovery collection was done very thoroughly. He does claim that he would have done some things differently, however. Rodriguez says he didn't see any notes or work done trying to find out where body was originally placed. Fluids can change/kill some of the vegetation; insects feed/reproduce in decomp area - their remains can be found in soil. He claims that he didn't see photos or notes indicating soil changes were looked at. Rodriguez has had numerous cases involving duct tape. Also bodies bound w/ wire or cloth to bind hands, facial area. Skeletal remains does affect adherence of the duct tape.
Ashton (couldn't hear what he said). JB: I don't believe we do, judge. Judge: Folks, approach sidebar, cut the comments out.
2 sidebars started by Ashton so far.
Ashton brings out the same point that he brought out with Huntington. This witness also did not put into his report opinions he is testifying about. Judge Perry told Mr. Baez to read the court order and Baez walked away much like a spoiled kid being scolded. Judge Perry questioned the witness on his experience with duct tape on bodies.
He received the photos on February 21, 2008. He didn't mention the tape in his report because it wasn't asked at the time and he just noted it in his examination but did not include it with the report. Claims he shared with Mr. Baez. POW!!
JB: Your Honor, when court issued this order, I informed all our experts via email we needed reports that inc all opinions.Told them if I didn't meet deadline, I'd face dire consequences. From time I asked WR & time he wrote it, just days.
Baez says he didn't want to depose all his own witnesses, state should do it.
JP: What you're basically saying is that you can pick what court order you can choose. JB: I couldn't disagree with you more. This is not a game. If an opinion comes about...you disclose it...It's not hard to do Mr. Baez...It is QUITE easy to do...EVEN if it happens at the last minute... Appears to me this was intentional, not inadvertent slip, not sub-issue of a major issue. Not inadvertent. Question is whether Casey should be punished as a result. Case law indicates contempt, jury instruction explaining violation so they can use to judge credibility....Lightning does not strike twice in the same place.... I am not making any promises or warranties what I would do if it happens a second time with this witness.
POW POW POW!!!!
*Personal note: Baez you will be held in Contempt!!*
Recess till 10:05
We won't be seeing Mr. Rodriguez any more today since he will have to give his deposition after court today. We'll most likely see him on Monday.
Judge tells jury they are accomadating another witness who is from out of town. He decides not to tell them the real reason....yet.
Werner Spitz: *sidenote Spitz testified in Phil Spector's trial that Lana Clarkson committed suicide by shooting herself in mouth w/Spector's gun.* Medical doctor and forensic pathologist
While giving his educational background, he explains what pathologies and autopsies are. Spitz has also been chief medical examiner in different states. He is also a fellow in alot of medical societies, some even at the highest level. Licensed to practice medicine in US and in EU. Numerous awards from law enforcement and medical societies. Spitz has been involved in several congressional inquiries (JFK, MLK, Jr.). Spitz has written several books, wrote an article on drowning deaths. Has testified as an expert witness around 300 times. He has been accepted as an expert witness in the area of Forensic Pathology.
Received a phone call from Baez' law firm and he agreed to consult in this case. He asked to attend the autopsy. -Sidebar- He was denied. He wanted to attend because it would have been useful to see the body how it was recovered. "4 eyes see more than 2 eyes" According to him it is custom in pathology. Conducted a second autopsy when the official autopsy had been completed. He is not surew if Dr. G had completed her report when he began his autopsy. When he began autopsy, he was shocked that the skull had not been opened. Profession dictates that when an autopsy is completely done, there be an examination of the interior of the skull.
The skull was undamaged and just saw that some longer bones were chewed on. A thigh bone had been opened by the previous autopsy, and he thought they did it to remove bone marrow specimens. This was not the case. He says that the conclusion of his autopsy is unknown. Dr. G says it's a homicide. Not a shred of soft tissue left, completely skeletonized, didn't even need gloves. Tape not attached when he did autopsy. Tape was on side of face stuck to hair and vegetation. Ashton objects, says pics speak for themselves. Overruled.
Dr. G says duct tape was placed prior to decomposition. He says the duct tape becomes loose on the skeletal structure and that the roots and hair are the only things that held the duct tape together. There was nothing on Duct tape that would suggest it was placed on the skin. He has a strong opinion that the duct tape was used to hold lower jaw in place. He says he would have expected DNA on tape if attached to the face. Would have been there if attached to skin of face.
*Someone please tell this old man that this place had been flooded!*
It's his opinion that duct tape was a later event after decomposition. Describes adipocere to jury. Tissue becomes broken down, slimy, smelly, like soap.
Cindy Anthony was just smiling in court during the quick sidebar.
Adipocere was not found on skeletal remains. He rules out suicide, but cannot rule out accidental death. The manner of death in this case is undetermined. Has conducted or supervised approx. 60K autopsies and has been practicing forensic pathology for 56 years.
George Anthony is at courthouse just not inside courtroom
He was given info. of first autopsy, went to house and scene where body was recovered. Says he asked sufficient questions to allow him to have a good idea of what happened. Asked Mr. Baez, Mr. Mason, maybe spoke to the Anthony's. Read police reports, though he can't recall which reports he read. He knows that there was a month that went by before police were called. Knows that Caylee was allegedly taken to babysitter. He is aware of everything Dr. G knew from the case as it was put in report. He would have been aware of everything but he doesn't recall what she wrote about the facts of the investigation. "I read police reports. I didn't say that I didn't recall any of the facts" Recalls CASEY was a healthy 3 .5 year old!!! It's CAYLEE and she was 2.5!!
JA: What do you recall of the facts surrounding her disappearance you considered significant? WS: Pool in yard, poss drowning
"When you do an autopsy you examine the whole body, the head is part of a body"
Doesn't know where this has been published but he has been trained many times that he has to open the head. To not open the head, I think is a failure. I tell you another thing if the autopsy was done where the head was not opened it says shoddy autopsy. Excuse me, but you provoked it. It upsets my better knowledge!!!!! You're familiar with this book? Somewhat. Well you edited and wrote some of it? Yes. Book doesn't say go ahead and open the head! It talks about the findings inside the head which requires head to be opened!
When shown a document handed to him by Ashton, he tells Ashton that the book was written by lawyers for lawyers.
JA: When you said Dr G violated protocol, really meant violated what you would do?WS:No
*personal note: let's think about the tiny camera's that could have been inserted through bottom of skull*
Asked about in depth interviews he has done giving his opinions on this case. He doesn't recall any of these interviews yet he was planning on watching it on TV. *personal note: I recall them. I have seen them*
He says he didn't know that he broke Caylee's skull when he opened it. He says dust matter inside skull is brain sediment and not dirt sediment from skull sitting on water. It is very definitive. Ashton tells him that he didn't have to have these sediments analyzed in order to know that they are from the skull originally. He is aware that Dr. G put saline water into skull and removed whatever came back. Says that the swishing of fluid inside skull did not remove sediments from the right side. Skull was on the left side. Ashton demonstrates with human skull the doctor brought in to explain how he claims Caylee's skull was positioned.
Ashton asks if hair would slough off and fall toward left, back side. WS: Adipocere keeps hair together, stays put on skull.
Image shows that mass amount of hair has fallen to the back of the skull not to the side. WS: Hair in this picture speaks for itself. The doctor uses his "skull" and napkin to demonstrate exactly how the hair is placed on skull. Ashton: Water misplaced the hair but it did not displace the residue. WS: It could have happened. Water could have misplaced the residue. This hair is sticky because I have examined other hair. Not this hair, but other hair."
His opinion that duct tape was stuck after skin was deteriorated. Person put duct tape which comes in a roll (apologizes for not bringing his roll of tape from his office), cuts pieces of it and attaches lower jaw to rest of face. Not sure if person picked up skull and put jaw back in anatomical position.
*personal note this witness hurt defense BADLY. He doesn't recall positioning of tape yet testifies about it!*
If trying to attach mandible 2 skull, would have to tape both sides if your theory is correct, right? WS: Remember tape 1 side
Why would duct tape be stuck to bone? WS: It wouldn't, water would remove stickiness of glue. Ashton points out that hair was stuck to tape.
He claims medical examiners office put hair that was not stuck on skull and placed them on there on purpose. He says it wouldn't have been the first time.
He doesn't know how many people handled the skull before the pictures were taken. It was manipulated because the skull did not walk to examining table and in that process the hair was misplaced.
Court is over and told attorneys to be prepared to work up to 3 next Saturday. One witness a day is not going to speed up the process.