The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Ladies and Gentlemen – The Root Bands…but no Jimmy Fallon??

Posted by thedarwinexception on June 4, 2011

Ok – I’m getting a little pissed off about this whole “We will work on Saturdays” Judge Perry has instituted. I mean, I understand he doesn’t want to b presiding over this court case on the 4th of July, so he wants to wrap this shit up as quickly as possible, but hey, I have a life here, too, Judge. Well…..not really, but, you know, I’d like to sit here and pretend I have a life…..Last Saturday wasn’t so bad – I mean, Cindy Anthony was testifying, and, you know, that was some riveting shit, worth sitting around on a Saturday and watching, but this week we have boring ass FBI agents, and while their testimony is probably a lot more important, in the long run, than Cindy Anthony breaking down on the stand, well it’s nowhere near as dramatic.

Casey is brought into the courtroom – you know she’s not complaining about the Saturday testimony – I’ll bet she’s loving getting away from her Bible and crappy food six days a week. George and Cindy are in their usual seat in the very last row behind the prosecution table. George has a pin on his collar – does that have to do with Caylee? I thought the judge said that kind of crap wouldn’t be allowed?

The state’s first witness is FBI Agent Karen Lowe. Before she is called – and before the jury is brought in – Baez renews his Frye Objection to Miss Lowe’s testimony. He also wants to voir dire the witness “at the proper time”. Good God, at this rate, the judge will start holding court on Sunday’s, too.

But, you have to give Baez a small break here – this is very new science – this “root banding” that Lowe is going to testify about was first mentioned by a guy named Nicholas Petraco in 1988. And it is a controversial application of the science Petraco was a pioneer in. Petraco was writing about this “root banding” in a a different context than identifying the hair as belonging to a certain person to prove that they were dead – he was writing about hairs from a known corpse, taken from that known corpse to determine time of death, not whether or not that dead body had been in a certain place, or who the hair belonged to in the first place.

In Petraco’s paper on the subject, he admits that how this “root banding” occurs – and why – is unknown. He opined that the appearance of banding may be due to exposure. In 2001, two other scientists, CA Linch and JA Prahlow, suggested that the banding may actually occur as a result of a moist scalp turning into a dry scalp after death. But the exact science behind the phenomenon is unknown – and not all hairs after death will exhibit root banding. So the defense’s skepticism in this case is not entirely unjustified.

Couple the “new” science of root banding with the very inexact science of hair analysis itself (a hair can NEVER be said to come from a specific person – only that it is consistent with the hair from a specific person), and you can just imagine all the “maybe’s” and “consistent with’s” and “to what degree of certainty’s” and “similar to’s” we are going to be treated to with this testimony. And the objections – don’t forget all the objections. Ugh.

So, before the witness even gets on the stand, Baez informs the court that he intends to voir dire the witness as to her ability and suitability to even be considered able to testify about this science and the application as it applies to this case. Which is kind of silly, really, and I’m not sure who Baez thinks he is going to impress. Judge Perry has already determined in a previous Frye Hearing that this witness is qualified to testify. I don’t know what Baez thinks he is going to gain by conducting a voir dire. Does he think the judge is going to throw up his arms and say “Oh my goodness! I was so wrong before! Of course this witness isn’t qualified!” Baez is going to do nothing but piss the judge off. Why he continues to press on subjects that have already been litigated is beyond me. Make your objection, litigate it, renew your objections for the record when the subject comes up again, and then move on. Do Not expect the judge to litigate issues again, and for God’s Sake, don’t expect him to reverse his earlier decisions! That’s just plain ignorant.

Ha! The judge must think I’m right – he asks Baez if Baez plans to “rehash what he hashed at the Frye hearing.” Baez says “NO!!, of course not judge, we don’t want a Frye Hearing!!” But then he explains to the judge that he wants to voir dire the witness so that he can A.) Determine if the witness is qualified to testify and B.) Determine if the methodology employed and the data relied upon would be sufficient for them to render an opinion. (And you know “B” sounds a hell of a lot like a Frye Hearing….and “A” kind of takes care of itself when the state lays the foundation for the witness by reading off an expert witness’s usually extensive and boring CV’s..) The judge then tells Baez that unless his memory serves him wrong, Baez didn’t have any objections to this witnesses qualifications at the Frye Hearing. The judge says that unless this witness testifies to something completely different than the court has already heard before from her, Baez doesn’t need to voir dire her.

Baez says no, they didn’t question her qualifications before, but that the defense was maintaining it’s position. (Which is generally done by renewing an objection for the record – not re-litigating.) The judge then gives Baez a mini-lesson on how to request a voir dire, and says “We’ve wasted enough time on this” and moves on.

Karen Korsberg Lowe finally takes the stand. She works for the FBI in the Trace Evidence Laboratory, and don’t let the defense fool you, she’s qualified. Baez’s whole goal in this is to get out before ht jury that she’s never testified to a jury before about this particular application of Petraco’s scientific research and his observations of root banding. That’s all Baez wants -t hat’s why he wants to voir dire her, nothing more. He wants the jury to hear that yeah, she’s a trace evidence expert, yeah, she’s good with hair and stuff, but root banding is novel and new, and nobody testifies about it, therefore she can’t be considered an expert in that.

When the State concludes their rundown of her education and experience, the Judge allows Baez to do his “brief voir dire”. And yeah, just as I thought the very first thing he asks is “Now, this is the first time you’ve testified about root banding, is it not?” He’s so transparent. Being happy with that, and since now he can argue to the judge “SEE!!! She’s not an expert!!” they all go to sidebar. Where I presume the judge again told him “this has all been litigated already, Mr. Baez.”

So Baez continues, and asks the witness – “Now, the training that you’ve had that relates to what you are testifying to today is like 6 months, right?” The entire course was one year, the hair portion was 6 months, and hair banding was a portion of that 6 months. Then she has read articles and had some casework relating to hair banding – that’s pretty much the extent of her knowledge and expertise – which does sound scant – but, again, this is a new science. But compare and contrast that with say, a fingerprint expert. If all the training and expertise they had was a yearlong course on “Forensics”, “Different Forms of Identification” being 6 months of that year long course, and “Fingerprints” being a portion of that, then, they read articles on fingerprinting and they had some casework relating to it – would you consider them an expert, qualified to talk about and explain “fingerprinting” to a jury?

Baez is happy with the responses he elicited – which he should be, he’s made a reasonable argument for appeal, if he needs one – and the State gets up to direct the witness.

Mr. George takes the witness through the history of hair analysis, which has been around, in some form or other, since the 1700’s. (Of course this is general hair analysis, not, specifically, root banding and the studies done of the characteristics of post-mortem hair specimens.) In the US, hair analysis was first done by the FBI in the 1930’s.
Lowe explains hair analysis as three basic components – 1.) Collection, 2.) Identification 3.) Comparison. She admits that she can not ever positively identify a hair as coming from a source – she can only match the characteristics of two samples and determine they are consistent with each other. Exclusion is more emphatic – she can exclude a single hair to different levels – such as race.

Microscopically, there are certain things that are generally accepted as determinable by a hair sample – such as race, or how the hair was removed from the source, whether or not the hair contains certain chemicals, and the presence of damage or disease.

Lowe then testifies as to Petraco’s 1988 paper, and his research involving post mortem hairs. She then speaks of Linch’s paper in 1998 that questioned the methodology and feasibility of determining whether or not hair roots could be used in DNA testing. (This is the same article I wrote about above before the witness took the stand….the article was written with SL Smith and JA Prahlow. The full title of this paper – in case you have insomnia and need something to put you to sleep – is “Evaluation of the human hair root for DNA typing subsequent to microscopic comparison” )

Lowe then relates the case study done by Taffaro, also published in the Journal of Forensic Science, that involved a dual crime scene, and how the hair analysis helped to determine the time line for investigators.

She then discussed Linch’s seminal 2001 2 part paper which studied 22 different cases, with 10 – 15 post mortem hair samples from each case. For each case, the hair was analyzed to determine when, exactly, root banding occurred. The paper noted that banding could occur as early as 2 days after death or as late as 15 days after death. (What she doesn’t mention is that in some cases, there was no root banding at all….although she does say that root banding was one of the “least common” of the characteristics of post mortem hair characteristics found. )

Mr. George then drags out a visual aid for the jury of hairs. Lowe then gives the jurors a crash course in hair. Which is really boring – but not as boring as those articles in the Journals she cited – believe me.

After the lesson, she testifies that there isn’t a mathematical element to hair analysis – it’s not a game of percentages or fact – it’s all done subjectively and by the analysts opinion.

She testifies she has worked on 2,000 cases – but she doesn’t know how many involved hair banding or even samples of post-mortem hair. She does note, however that this is the only case where she’s been asked to analyze a hair sample from an unknown individual.

Lowe then identifies the pieces of evidence from this case that she examined. She examined at least 11 hairs that were “unknown” in original source. These were from samples taken from the trunk of Casey’s car. No one new who these hair samples were from. She was then given control standards, hairs from “known” sources – namely, George, Cindy and Casey. From items submitted to her (Caylee’s hairbrush and comb), she obtained standards of purported hair samples from Caylee, as well.

After analyzing the hairs found in the evidence samples, she found one hair that showed characteristics of decomposition. This hair was a Caucasian head hair that had a darkened band, consistent with a post mortem band. The hair was light to medium brown, no tissue present and 9 inches long. None of the other hairs she examined had a post mortem banding. She did not compare any of the hairs to each other, to see if they were consistent with being from the same source, but she did compare the hair with the post mortem banding (Q12) to the hair purported to be hair standards from Caylee Anthony, from the hairbrush. She found that these hairs were similar. She also compared the banded hair (Q12) to the known standards from Casey Anthony. She found that these hairs were dissimilar.

Lowe testifies that after comparing the hair to the known standards, she preserved the part of the hair that exhibited the banding and sent the other portion of the hair to another part of the lab for mitochondrial DNA testing.

Baez does the cross examination of the witness: He immediately attacks the methodology, which Lowe says hasn’t changed since the 1930’s in the FBI laboratory – the equipment has evolved, the documentation has changed, but really not the methods. And hair has never been a form of positive identification.

The Baez attacks the witnesses qualifications. He notes that she has testified to the 4 main articles on the subject – and he asks her if she has read the National Academy of Science Report that came out in February of 2009. She says she has. This is a report that was written by a congressional commission of Forensic Scientists. Baez’s reference to this report gets us another sidebar. And a 15 minute break.

After the break, Baez continues the sidebar conversation with the Judge. The Judge tells Baez that before he can ask the witness about this report, he needs to establish that she recognizes it as an authoritative source.

Baez counters that no less a source than Justice Scalia cited this report in the Menendez case. The judge wants to know how and for what purpose he cited it – and Baez says he will get that information and cite.

The judge then asks what portion of the NAS report Baez wants to question the witness about, and he reads from the original report. Basically, what Baez wants in evidence is this portion

[taken from the summary and findings of the NAS report…]

[quote on]

The Committee’s Report states that “testimony linking microscopic hair analysis with
particular defendants is highly unreliable.”23 We now know that hair comparisons without
mitochondrial DNA are highly questionable. A number of people whose convictions were based
in part on faulty hair comparisons have been exonerated by DNA testing. An FBI publication
reviewed by the Committee stated that subsequent DNA testing proved that hairs did not match in
11% of cases in which hair examiners previously declared two hairs to be “similar.”24 Surely this
new data on hair comparisons would be highly relevant under existing law in any judge’s assessment
of the admissibility of such evidence.

23. NAS Report, supra note 1, at 161.
24. See id. at 47 (citing Max M. Houck & Bruce Budowle, Correlation of Microscopic and Mitochondrial DNA Hair
Comparisons, 47 J. OF FORENSIC SCI. 964, 964-67 (2002)).

[quote off]

You know, I don’t blame him, I’d want that in evidence, too…..

The judge says, again, that Baez needs the witness to recognize the committee as an authoritative source, and then the judge concludes that the committee is only talking about cases where witnesses have declared the hair to be “conclusively” from one person, or an exact, identical match. (Which isn’t what the NAS report states, at all, but Baez is too stupid to point this out. The report, as cited above, states that subsequent DNA testing proved that hairs did not match in11% of cases in which hair examiners previously declared two hairs to be “similar.” And “similar” is the exact word Lowe used.)

The witness returns to the stand and Baez questions her in a proffer about the exhibit, the NAS report. She says that she has read the trace evidence portions of the report. Baez asks if the report is authoritative, and she hedges and says the purpose of the report was to offer guidance to the scientific community in how to move forward, and pointed out some of the limitations in the field. She recognized it as a good source of guidance. She says that she is aware of the criticisms the report points in with regards to hair analysis. Baez asks her what those criticisms were and she says that the majority of them were with regards to the limitations of the analysis, rather than the methodology employed. She says the report points out that hair analysis can not be conclusive without DNA analysis, and she says she agrees with that assessment. And that’s what the FBI laboratory does. Baez asks if this is because there have been cases where the FBI lab has identified someone using hair analysis in the past and been wrong, and the witness states she is not aware of cases where identification through hair has been done.

The judge then asks the witness “Does that article say that? That that’s what your lab has done?” And the witness says “I don’t believe so.”

Baez asks the witness if she’s familiar with Michael Malone – the witness says she is, she doesn’t believe he is still with the FBI lab. Baez asks if she is familiar with the “Gates” case. She says she is. Baez is being totally disingenuous here, you know. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the science in the Gates case – Michael Malone LIED about what he found, it wasn’t that the science was wrong. I think that’s a HUGE distinction that Baez isn’t making. Tsk, tsk. Tsk. See, this is what I don’t like about Baez. He has a good point, and legitimate argument could be made – but his method and practice is faulty. I’m not sure if that’s lack of experience, lack of knowledge or something else entirely.

Baez says “Well, Malone testified that the hair sample in the Gates case was microscopically indistinguishable from the standard.” And the witness says that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that phrasing, that this is proper. Baez says “Oh, so you think that’s OK – even though Malone was wrong, nonetheless?” Which is BULLSHIT. It doesn’t matter what phrasing Malone used – he out and out LIED. The reason Gates’ conviction was overturned was because his hairs WERE NOT microscopically identical to the known standard – Malone LIED. Baez should be ashamed of himself for proffering testimony this way.

At this point, the Judge stops the proceedings and tells Baez that he can’t bring up other cases in his proffer of this witness. Thank God, because I’m about ready to pull MY hair out. This is fucking embarrassing.

The state then asks the witness if she accepts the report as a scientific treatise, and if it agrees with her own methodology. She says she is, it does.

OMG – Baez is going to try again – he asks the witness if she is familiar with the Houck and Budowle study of known hair samples and their correlation to mitochondrial DNA. This is worse than the original NAS report being used to discredit the witness,because the Houcke and Budowle paper directly shores up exactly what she said to begin with – that hair analysis should only be done in conjunction with DNA testing.

Here, you decide – this is the abstract from the paper Baez is referencing:

Expert opinions regarding the microscopic comparison of human hairs have been accepted routinely in courts for decades. However, with the advent of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing, an assessment can be made of the association by microscopic hair comparisons in casework between a questioned hair and reference hairs from an individual. While each method can be used separately, the two analytical methods can be complementary and together can provide additional information regarding source association. Human hairs submitted to the FBI Laboratory for analysis between 1996 and 2000 were reviewed. Of 170 hair examinations, there were 80 microscopic associations; of these, only nine were excluded by mtDNA. Importantly, 66 hairs that were considered either unsuitable for microscopic examinations or yielded inconclusive microscopic associations provided mtDNA results. Only six hairs did not provide sufficient mtDNA, and only three yielded inconclusive results. Consistency was observed in exculpatory results with the two procedures. This study demonstrates the utility of microscopic hair examinations and the strength of combining microscopic analysis with mtDNA sequencing.

Finally Baez is done.

The state addresses the court, and says that the proffer seemed not to impeach the witnesses testimony, but agreed with it. (Which is true). And as far as the Houcke and Budole study and their 9 cases of exculpatory findings, this witness didn’t do those identifications, so they don’t matter. (Also true).

The judge says that if Baez wants to bolster the witnesses testimony, well, he can go right ahead…..and he says he’s made himself abundantly clear – no references to other cases.

The jury is finally brought back in. Baez continues his cross – by asking about the NAS report. The witness agrees that this report was commissioned by Congress to define some guidelines and look for ways to improve forensic sciences and their role in the law. Baez then asks the witness if it’s true that the report was “highly critical” of hair analysis. The witness tells the jury that the report criticized the limitations of the science. Not the methodology. She explains that the report suggests that identification via hair only is not proper, unless the analysis is accompanied by DNA analysis. She says that this is a limitation that she agrees with.

Baez points out that the report references nuclear DNA rather than mitochondrial DNA, and the witness says yes, that if you want to identify a source of hair as a single person, you must use nuclear DNA. Baez is again being misleading, since in this case, the hair has already been excluded as being “dissimilar” to Casey Anthony, and has been excluded by color as being Cindy’s – Caylee is the only other person the hair could have belonged to, unless Casey’s grandma was in her trunk at one time.

Baez has her testify again that this is the first time she is testifying about hair banding. She agrees that she’s not an expert in the physiology of hair. He tries to get her to agree that she’s not an expert in root banding, either. Because she doesn’t know how long it takes for root banding to develop. (And he did get out that not all dead bodies even have root banding…) And she doesn’t know the frequency. She does agree that it’s based on a handful of studies, and experience. And she does agree that she can’t say for certain that root banding ONLY happens on post mortem hairs, it’s just that so far, root banding hasn’t been replicated anywhere else – yet. (See – this is MUCH more effective than that other disingenuous stuff Baez was trying….)

Baez then tries to discredit her conclusions because there was only one hair out of the 11 or so she had that showed banding. She says that she didn’t have doubts because there was only one hair sure, more would have been nice, but it doesn’t make the one sample she had any less valid.

Then Baez went through her umpteen different reports and analysis of hairs (she didn’t get the hairs all at one time – she got them as they were being found and collected). The long and the short of all the reports was that there was only one hair that showed banding and only one hair that showed decomposition and was consistent with Caylee’s hair.

This got so redundant that the State stood and said they would stipulate that only one hair had root banding. HA!! (Hey – it’s THEIR Saturday, too, right?)

Baez then asked about photos of this hair with the root banding and why she didn’t show the jury a photo. He wants to know if it’s because the root banding is in the wrong place on this particular hair – since it’s not like the pictures she showed the jury on her visual aid. Lowe says that’s not it at all – it’s just hard to capture detail in a picture.

Ha! She failed her proficiency exams in 2000.

Baez asks the witness if she ever participated in meetings that were held to strengthen the science and methodology of hair banding. The witness says yeah, she participated, but these meetings weren’t really meant to “further” anything – she doesn’t think that root banding will ever be able to be anything more than characterized as being “consistent with” hairs from a dead body. She doesn’t think it will ever be “proof”.

Baez then asks again about the brush that she took the hair standard from. She said it was a brush that was said to have belonged to Caylee. Baez pointed out that she didn’t really know whose brush it was – maybe Casey used it. The judge says that the witness can only testify as to who she was told the brush belonged to. Baez tries to ask if she had any information that Cindy had given….and the immediate objection was sustained.

The witness then testifies that since the hair was found in what she describes as a “common environment”, there are multiple ways “a hair” could have gotten there.

The witness says that she didn’t send this hair to Nuclear DNA testing because there was no tissue present. He sent this hair to have mitochondrial DNA testing done, and she explains that the results determined that the hair could have belonged to Caylee or anyone in her maternal line.

The witness testifies that the average person loses 100 hairs a day – mostly from grooming. And transfer can occur when hair is lost. Baez asks if because there is only one hair here, couldn’t it be from transfer? She says she has no idea how the hair got there.

Ashton then Re-Directs the witness. He asks about the NSA report, and the witness says that their guidelines are methods that the FBI lab has followed since the 70’s. At least since then the FBI has never used the phrasing that would say a hair is proof of identification.

The hair with the decomposition in this case is not a telogen hair – one that is naturally shed, because this hair was still in the growth phase.

Ashton points out that this hair was sent for mitochondrial DNA, and this hair could belong to Caylee or anyone in her maternal line, but that microscopic analysis coupled with the DNA testing could exclude many of those people. The witness agrees, and says that through microscopic analysis, she excluded Casey as a source of the hair. But the hair could belong to any maternal relative who had 9 inch long brown hair. (Untreated – because the banded hair was untreated – Casey’s hair is treated.)

Baez gets up and re-crosses. He asks if a pulled hair had more tissue and could be nuclear tested. Yeah, it could. And the witness doesn’t know how long the hair was in the trunk – and she doesn’t know if Casey’s hair was always treated.

Witness is excused – the next witness is Mike Vincent – Gerardo Bloise’s supervisor at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. He has worked with Orange County for 9 years – he worked as a police officer in Philadelphia before that. On July 2008 he was assistant supervisor squad 20 .

Vincent assisted Bloise in processing the Sunfire – he took the stain samples from the trunk liner. He did three separate tests for blood, they all came out negative. He collected pieces of carpeting from the trunk – from the spare tire cover – and placed those samples in tin cans. He also took air samples from the trunk on July 21st, 2008. He was assisted with this collection by people from University of Central Florida. They took a large syringe and,with the trunk as closed as they could get it, he sucked the air out of the trunk into the syringe and put the sucked out air from the syringe into a bag. Then they used a filter to see if the air would absorb into the filter for further samples.

Doing this, they collected air samples that were ultimately sent to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. (AKA “The Body Farm”.)

The next day he took samples of the stain from the tire cover. He sent these to Oak Ridge, as well.

On July 23rd the witness sand the guy from UCF, Dr. Michael Sigman, again took air samples – using a carbon filter and another filter. They hung the filters in the trunk ad let them sit for about 40 minutes. These samples were also sent to the body farm.

On August 29th, he again conducted another examination of the trunk to collect samples. The witness had received some equipment and instructions fro Dr. Arpad Vass. He sent 9 test tubes and a portable air pump, and instructions telling him where to collect the samples from. The witness describes the 9 X 12 box with the two rubber hoses, and how he had to set up this equipment to take the samples. He took samples from the trunk and the garage bay that the vehicle sat in.

The witness then identifies all the evidence bags that he had previously collected. Including the 9 evidence bags that each contained one test tube.

On September 27th he collected a substance from the spare tire wheel well, and sent that to Oak Ridge for processing.

On October 30, 2008, he collected and sent to Oak Ridge more pieces of the spare tire cover. He also collected a piece of the cover as a control sample.

Vincent then identified DNA swabs and hair samples that he assisted in collecting from George and Cindy on October 7th 2008, and Lee on October 8th. He also identifies the gas cans that he collected from the Anthony home. Vincent says that he attempted to obtain DNA and/or fingerprints from the gas cans, but he didn’t find any. He returned the can to Cindy Anthony on August 13th.

Baez then crosses the witness.

Baez asks the witness when he processed the car and checked for blood, if that was caught on television. The witness answers that the bay was on television, and the car was on television, but the blood collection was not on television. Baez says – you were processing the car with Blue Star, the bay door was open, and you and Bloise were processing the car for blood, and a film crew was filming this. The witness agrees. Baez asks if the witness could see the lights from the cameras – the witness says he doesn’t believe they had lights on the cameras. The witness says he didn’t call the media.

Baez asks if this is the first time the witness has collected air samples. The witness says it was. Baez points out that the witness has no training or experience in the collection and preservation of air samples. The witness admits that he had never heard of it being done.

Baez points out that there were multiple attempts at collecting the samples. The witness agrees. Baez asks if this was because they weren’t sure they were doing it correctly – and the witness says “Which time are we talking about?” Because a couple of those times, it wasn’t this witness doing the collecting, it was Dr. Sigman. This witness only observed the process. There were different types of filters used, and a syringe. Then he got sent the pump from Dr. Vass and that’s the sample this witness collected.

Baez describes air as “free flowing”, and asks the witness if all this air flowing all over could really be said to be air from the car – you know, it could have free flowed from the dumpster at Amscot, or from the tow yard, or from the Anthony garage. Or even from the forensics bay – isn’t that why he took “control samples” from the forensics bay? Baez says that the problem with this is that he took the air samples from the car in late August – and therefore are not representative of the air that was in the car in July. The witness says he was testing the odor, not the air.

Baez says he also didn’t take samples from the trash on July 16th, either, he took the sample at the end of August, and there was a significant difference. The witness says he couldn’t really say If there was a difference, because he didn’t test it both dates. Baez asks if the trash was taken to the dry room, the witness says it was, but he doesn’t know when. Baez shows him pictures of the trash before and after being in the dry room. Baez asks if the odor would be different – the witness said he doesn’t know. But it’s possible. The witness says he took samples from the trash in a brown cardboard box – it wasn’t moist and damp and wet.

Baez then asked the witness about the metal gas can. Baez asks if the shiny place on the side is dripping gas. The witness says that there was no wet areas or drying gas on the can. The witness also says that it didn’t appear to be wiped clean of fingerprints.

On re-direct, Burdick asks if he collected the gas can using gloves, the witness says yes. And he carried it by the handle.

The witness also says that the vehicle was stored in the forensics bay the entire time from when it was retrieved until he processed it, and the odor in the vehicle was the same during that time period. The smell had not diminished in any way.
The trash were handled by Bloise, and photographed by Bloise. The trash was stored separately from the car the entire time.

The witness is excused – as is the jury.

After the jury leaves, Linda Drane – Burdick asks the court for leave to exclude two witnesses from the sequestration rule so that they can discuss their testimony with a computer consultant. Baez objects, but after Burdick explains her position to Mason, he doesn’t have a concern.

Mason thinks that Vincent must have talked to Bloise about Bloise’s testimony, since Vincent immediately said “garbage….oh, oh, I mean trash….” (I caught that as well….) The judge says “well it is what it is….”

And then court is done – and so am I after reading 5 scientific articles and the NSA abstract on hair, I shall never look at a hairbrush the same way again.

Good Lord.


10 Responses to “Ladies and Gentlemen – The Root Bands…but no Jimmy Fallon??”

  1. michellefrommadison said

    Casey was sexually molested by her father and brother which may have contributed to her actions of lying and manipulation. After Caylee drown, the actions forward was directed by George, not Casey. While it takes a higher-education to fully understand, hopefully this simple explanation may help some less fortunate in understanding this case. Why the prosecution continues to present such a weak case is unfathomable, why don’t they want true justice for Caylee?

    • Susan said

      Really? Seriously, really? Judging by your grammar and sentence structure, I’m pretty sure you don’t have “a higher-education”, or any common sense for that matter.

  2. V. said

    Excellent summary as usual, Kim. I’m still convinced, all Occam-y Razor-ish, that Caylee bugged Casey to swim in the pool, Casey wasn’t watching her and Caylee drowned. Now people who are not pathological liars, and who are normal, empathetic human beings who don’t make a habit of building their entire lives on fantasy would have called 911 right there, and while it still would have been a tragedy, it wouldn’t have turned into a circus.

    But people with Personality Disorders can’t help doing what they do. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have Personality Disorders. And no, it’s not something that’s caused by abuse or bad parenting (although abuse and bad parenting certainly doesn’t help to raise a healthy human being– but plenty of people overcome a bad upbringing.) Casey’s pissed off and irritated because people aren’t believing her. She’s not upset because her daughter died (“What about ME? I’m having problems TOO!”), she’s annoyed at her mother because Cindy (at least from the videos and 911 calls) is questioning the bullshit Casey comes up with, and the guys at Universal aren’t buying her story of working in the “events” building, and the prosecution (and apparently the majority of people on the internet) haven’t heard one thing yet that sounds appropriate, reasonable, and plausible from Casey. She’s a friggin’ nutcase, albeit a functional one masquerading as a normal human being.

    Caylee drowned. Casey panicked, wrapped up Caylee’s body and put it in the car trunk, then drove around with it for a couple of days before it started to smell. She tossed her daughter’s body in the nearby woods, parked the car and left it to be towed. Problem solved, and if someone asks about Caylee, invent a nanny, pretend you don’t want to “disturb Caylee’s routine”, then make up a story about how she hasn’t seen her daughter– her TWO YEAR OLD, we’re not talking someone who can up and runaway without help– for a MONTH and is looking for her…where? In BARS and RESTAURANTS? But she’ doesn’t want to involve the police?

    If Casey understood that normal human beings have attachments to other human beings, and care about them, and sympathize with them, she’d have realized that her “explanations” have been absurd from the get-go. But she doesn’t understand, and that’s where the Personality Disorder comes in. Casey’s world begins and ends with Casey: I don’t believe she’s (necessarily) murderous, but I do believe she truly doesn’t understand why everyone’s so upset about CAYLEE. Because to Casey, there’s only one person in the universe, and that’s CASEY.

    • Elizabeth said

      I think that the drowning is a possiblity, too. Casey may have gone back home after she left for “work” when she knew that George had left to go to his real job a little later in the afternoon. She had several hours to spend at home before Cindy would return from her day’s work (real job). And this is when the accident could have happened. It is reported that Casey made numerous phone calls around four that afternoon to Cindy. This could have been when Casey discovered Caylee’s body. By Cindy’s account, she was unable to take Casey’s calls to her cell and work number because she was in a meeting. In the meantime, unable to reach her mom, Casey went into panic mode….and thus the saga of the 31 days began. I think at one time the body was in the backyard by Caylee’s playhouse because the cadaver (sp) dogs hit there and near the pool..can’t figure out for how long because no evidence of digging a temporary grave were found. The exact sequence of events is a real mystery that will probably never be solved. Personally, I think Cindy’s behavior was a result of being unable to wrap her head around the fact that Caylee, was indeed, gone from them forever. She became demonized by people for her behavior which, to me, was part of her denial and inability….at that point…to accept the truth. Who among us have walked in her shoes…no one. But…that being said….I am so angry at Casey for her concealing of the death (even if it was accidental) and subsequent cover up, lies, not to mention the millions of dollars spent by search groups, charities who pitched in to search for Caylee, and taxpayer dollars, that I would find her guilty and put her away for life because of all the collateral damage caused by her behavior.

  3. tess said

    So, I agree that this is the “dry” part of the trial, but even though it was one hair, I think it is very telling. So far in the banding process, they have not been able to replicate the banding. The only time it has shown up thus far is post-mortem. The dna is maternal so we have the possibility that it could be Cindy, Casey, Lee, Caylee and I think Cindy’s sister. Problem for defense…..everyone is alive except Caylee. 9″ hair…not Lee. Processed hair not Casey or Cindy…not sure about the sister. I think it was important testimony even though it is an inexact science.
    By the way Kim…really excellent recap. You are so amazing. We have missed you dearly.

  4. Simply Unbelievable said

    Michellefrommadison is confused and projecting her own unfortunate personal experience onto others. We sympathize and encourage her to seek the proper psychological help and outlet.

  5. anygirl said

    Remarkable job Kim! You are so good at the details and still manage to make us smile during this sad case. It was a grueling 1/2 day Saturday, it was also very important testimony!

    Tomorrow is another day! Throwing soft items at Bia$ed on the TV helps me … so far! ;)Thanks again, Kim

  6. Gail from Minneapolis said

    Thanks Kim!

    I have been running with all the information provided in the trial. I came up with a possible scenario. KC was planning on getting together with Tony on Monday 7/16. At 4 pm, KC made numerous attempts to call Cindy to get her to babysit Caylee. When Cindy wouldn’t answer the phone calls and KC WANTED to be with Tony, she decided it was time to get rid of Caylee so she could be with Tony. Why would KC put duct tape over Caylee’s nose AND mouth, if not to “snuff” out her life!

  7. Valerie said

    If she really did drown in the pool, wouldn’t there be pool chemicals on the stuff she was wrapped in? or in the truck where she was? I dont think anyone will ever know the truth 😦

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