Casey Anthony: Less Coughing In Court, And Fewer Notes, Too

By Hal Boedeker | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted June, 7 2011 1:10 PM

Garbage and forensics were the main topics this morning at Casey Anthony's trial. She is charged with first-degree murder in her daughter Caylee's death.

WFTV-Channel 9's Steve Barrett highlighted the testimony of Dr. Michael Rickenbach, an FBI forensics chemist. Rickenbach said he was "very surprised to even get a result for chloroform" from a carpet sample from Anthony's car. (The sample had been packed in non-airtight box.)

WFTV anchor Greg Warmoth explained, "Prosecutors said evidence of chloroform is evidence that Casey Anthony put her daughter's dead body in the trunk of her car."

Jacqueline Fell of Central Florida News 13 noted that the jurors took fewer notes as Rickenbach testified than yesterday when Dr. Arpad Vass testified. Fell also found Rickenbach "a little drier" than Vass. But Fell said the jurors seemed more interested when an Orange County sheriff's deputy who handles cadaver dogs took the stand shortly before lunch. "The jury [was] sitting up a little more straight, leaning forward," Fell said.

Judge O.H. Eaton Jr., who is WESH-Channel 2's legal analyst, said challenges from the defense can be expected about the cadaver dogs. "You have to make sure the dog is properly trained and certified. The training certification records have to be produced at court," Eaton said. "The field performance records of the dog have to be introduced, including any false alerts the dog might have made in the past.";

The dog handler's record has to be introduced, too, before the judge decides whether it can be introduced in court that the dog alerted on an odor, Eaton added.

Garbage from Casey Anthony's car trunk included, in a trash bag, empty packages of cheese, pizza, lunch meat and frozen chicken, Barrett noted.

WKMG-Channel 6's Mike DeForest highlighted that a crime scene investigator from the sheriff's office said it was protocol to dry out such trash, but the defense countered that it had wanted to conduct tests on the moist trash.

"Of course, the big picture: The defense is saying this trash caused the smell" in Anthony's car, DeForest said. Prosecutors argue the smell was from a decomposing body.

WKMG legal analyst Mark NeJame said there is enough independent proof to show it was the smell of a decomposing body. "The reality of it is the protocol was followed," NeJame said. "You don't keep the garbage moist. Nobody knew this was going to be an issue then. But it's up to the defense attorney to seize on that issue and create some reasonable doubt."

NeJame said the state needed to seize on the issue of why so much garbage was kept in Anthony's car and could it have been put there to mask the smell of decomposing body.

Fell of News 13 said there were fewer distractions in court today than yesterday, when people were coughing and cell phones were going off.