Saturday, June 4, 2011


After watching hours of riveting videos of Casey Anthony with her parents, the trial has now shifted over to forensics and scientific evidence.  Prosecutors started bringing in expert witnesses, based on timeline starting with July 16, 2008.  Prosecuting attorney, Linda Drane-Burdick handled the questioning of these witnesses.


The first forensics witness was a woman detective by the name of Charity Beasley.  In July 2008, she assisted Detective Yuri Melich in collecting items from Casey's home on July 16, 2008.  Detective Beasley is a seven year veteran of the Domestic Crimes Unit of the Orlando County Sheriff's Office.


Detective Beasley testified that she collected Casey's car from the Anthony home at 4937 Hopespring Drive.  She also collected a laptop computer and some miscellaneous items on July 16, 2008.  She explained how she was responsible for collecting Casey's car, a Pontiac Sunfire, which was towed from the Anthony home to the Orlando County Sheriff's crime lab.

Explaining her responsibility for the car, she secured it by sealing Casey's car with tape prior to it being towed from the Anthony home to the Sheriff's office.  She testified that she did not open any doors or the car's trunk prior to sealing them.  She then followed the car as it was towed.  Once the car arrived at the Orange County Sheriff's Forensics Bay, she turned its possession over to Crime Scene Investigator Gerardo Bloise.

While at the Anthony home, Cindy Anthony gave Detective Beasley some items in a blue plastic crate.  These items included a doll, a Dora (Dora the Explorer) backpack, a child's toothbrush, a black leather bag and various papers, and plastic clothes hanger.  The laptop computer was given to her by Cindy as well.


Defense Attorney Cheney Mason got up and started cross-examining Detective Beasley.  He started questioning her as to the sealing of the car, asking if she supervised the sealing the car.  She testified that she was the one who actually sealed the car by putting small pieces of evidence tape across each opening part of the car, such as the car's trunk and doors.  Cheney then asked if she smelled any odor coming from the car. She said that she didn't recall smelling any odor.

Cheney then asked her if she tried to turn on the laptop, for which she answered that she did not.


At one point Cheney belittled Detective Beasley a bit with his questioning, which went like this:

Cheney: Other than being responsible for sealing all aspects of the car, were you responsible for any other aspects of this case?
Beasley: Such as?
Cheney: Well YOU tell me? YOU'RE the detective. Were you involved with anything else in this case (he moves towards her as he finishes his question).
Beasley:  I was requested to go and handle, and collect these items and bring them back to the Sheriff's office.  That was my involvement in this case.
Cheney aggressively said:  So the simple answer is 'No sir Mr. Mason, I was not'.
Beasley: No sir, I was not.
Then Cheney smiled and said: Thank you very much.  I have no more questions.


Prosecuting attorney Linda Drane-Burdick questioned Awilda McBride, a ten year veteran with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Back in July 2008, Awilda worked as a Missing Person's Investigator.  She is not a sworn officer, but assists law enforcement officers by doing background work on missing persons.  On July 16th, she accompanied George Anthony to the tow yard where Casey's car had been impounded (Johnson's Tow Yard) to recover a trash bag.

When she arrived with George, it was dark and the tow yard was closed, so they had to call to get one of the drivers to open the gate for them.  In order to gain entrance, she showed the tow truck driver her Sheriff's badge and explained the situation and the vehicle in question, that they only wanted to get a trash bag that had been thrown into a dumpster that was on the property, and that she had George with her since he knew where the trash bag was.  She brought a camera with her and took photos.

Drane-Burdick then put up one of the photos she took, which was of the blue metal dumpster where the trash bag was retrieved.  You could tell the photo was taken at night time, as it was dark out.

Investigator McBride testified that when they got there, the metal lids of the dumpster were shut.  George opened the lid of the dumpster and then McBride took another photo of the trash inside.  There were two white trash bags shown in the dumpster; one with a blue plastic tie handle and you can see a pizza box thru the white part of the trashbag.  McBride then pointed out to the jury which bag she collected from picture of the dumpster, which was the one with the pizza box.  The other white bag in the dumpster was not taken as it had not been in Casey's car.  There was only one trash bag that had been taken from Casey's car earlier that day, and thrown in the dumpster by the tow truck company manager.

McBride testified that she took the white trash bag, did not open it, put it in a brown paper bag, and then she put another brown paper bag over on top of the white plastic bag since the white plastic bag was too big to completely fit inside one of the brown paper bags.  In other words, she had one paper bag holding the bottom of the white trash bag that came from Casey's car, and she put another paper bag on top to cover the white trash bag.  Then she put all of the bags into her own car trunk.

As she worked, George Anthony was with her, but she did not allow him to have access to the bag. After she had put the bags in her trunk, she dropped George off at his home and then drove to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.  When she got there, she went to the Forensics Unit and dropped off the bag to CSI officer Gerardo Bloise.


Prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick began her questioning by asking Christine her title and how long she's work with the Sheriff's department.  Christine said that she's a Crime Scene Investigator and has worked at the Orange County Sheriff's Department for a little over three years, having started her career there in March 2008.   In July 2008, she was asked to assist Detective Yuri Melich in the collection of items.

Christine was in charge of collecting DNA swabs from Casey Anthony's right cheek as well as hair standards from Casey (loose and pulled hairs from Casey).  To gather hairs from Casey, Christine had Casey lean over and run her fingers through her hair over a brown piece of paper.  The paper was used to catch Casey's loose hairs as they fell out.  When asked how she got the pulled hairs from Casey, she explained that she, as an investigator, was supplied with one-time use disposable tweezers to pull out hairs, but that didn't work so she just pulled out some of Casey's hairs with her gloved hands.  (Yank, yank!).

On July 21, 2008, Christine explained how she got buccal swabs from Casey for DNA testing.  She said that she got them from Casey's left cheek.  Christine explained how to ensure no cross-contamination, she wore gloves and a mask while swabbing the inside of Casey's cheek.  The swabbing instrument looked like a big Q-tip, and it was in a sealed container that is ripped open for one time use.  Christine got two buccal swabs from inside Casey's cheek.

Other items that Christine was in charge of placing into evidentiary envelopes were:

-  Four toothbrushes from Caylee Anthony
-  A brush belonging to Caylee Anthony
-  A comb belonging to Caylee Anthony
-  One thermometer belonging to Caylee Anthony

It was noted, on each envelope, that all of these items were obtained from Yuri Melich on July 28, 2008.

Once the items were collected, they were sealed and turned over to Lead Crime Scene Investigator Gerardo Boise.


Jose asked Christine about how important it is to wear gloves, to avoid cross-examination and secondary cross-examination (if she touched something and then touched something else) because things transfer so easily when it comes to collecting cells for DNA testing.  He brings up that investigators should not even speak when gathering evidence for DNA testing, and should wear masks, so that they don't cross contaminate things.  He threw out DNA catch phrases like "touch DNA" and "low copy DNA", and asked her if she knew what they meant. Christine cautiously responded, saying that she knew what the phrases basically meant, but she's not a DNA expert.  She said that she was only in charge of packaging evidence for DNA testing.



Prosecutor Drane-Burdick's next witness was Gerardo Bloise, Crime Scene Investigator, Level Two, with Orange County Sheriff's Office.  He's been with the Sheriff's office for the past eleven years.  Prior to working for Orange County, Bloise was a police office in Puerto Rico and then received training with FBI in Forensic Science, and has training with FBI, Law Enforcement and ATF.  He also has a Master Degree in Business Administration.

As a crime scene investigator, Bloise's responsibilities include documentation, collection and preservation of evidence.  He does not perform analysis on anything he collects.

On July 16, 2008, he received Casey's 1998 white Pontiac Sunfire, tag# G63XV. He received the car via tow and chain of command by Detective McBride. He said the car first went to the Forensics Garage and then the Forensics Garage Bay.  Upon his first inspection, he saw that all the car's doors and trunk were sealed.  A photo of the car was shown to the jury, showing the tapes on the car's door and trunk.

He testified to receiving a large black plastic trash bag that contained evidence items that Detective Beasley gave him.  He was also given the blue plastic crate that contained Caylee's doll, a child's backpack, a child's toothbrush, black leather bag, various paper items and plastic clothes hangers.

In his many years of experience, Bloise testified that he's come into contact 30-45 times with human decomposition while in the field.  He's also smelled decomposing bodies when he's had to go get fingerprints from dead bodies that were in the medical examiner's office.  He's also had experience searching for bodies in dumpsters and landfills.


Breaking the first seal of Casey's car, he opened the driver's door.  When he first opened the car door, he immediately smelled the odor of human decomposition.  He began processing the interior of the car, and documented its condition by photographing the exterior and interior.  He documented what he observed in his reports.  In connection with his documentation, he took notes and used them to write his report.


A photograph of Casey's car's gas gauge was shown to the jury.  The photo showed that the gas tank was about 1/8 full.  He then added some gasoline to the car, turned it on, and took another photo of the gas gauge to see if it moved.  It did and he reported that the gas gauge was working properly.  (If you remember, Casey told many people that the reason she kept running out of gas was because her car's gas gauge was broken. That appears to be a lie (surprise surprise)).

ADDITIONAL CAR PHOTOS taken on July 16, 2008
-  The interior of Casey's car, showing the driver's and front passenger seats.  On the driver's seat were sunglasses, a brown belt and black CD case.
-  The backseat with a child's car seat and pairs of black shoes on the seat next to the child's seat.
-  Another angle of the child's seat.
-  Back seat focusing on two pairs of female shoes (gold high heels and black casual shoes) sitting on the back seat, and an air freshener sheet in the middle of the back seat.
-  Underneath of the car, after it was put on the forensic's garage's lift.


Prosecutor Drane -Burdick asked Bloise:  "Were there any foreign items under the car?"
Bloise: "Yes, I found a dried leaf in transmission area and another dried leaf next the front of the chassis area near the front tire".
Drane-Burdick:  "Were there any animal parts underneath the car?
Bloise: "NO, no no no,  there were NOT any animal parts underneath of the vehicle!"

-  Rear bumper area and rear part of Casey's car trunk
-  Photo focusing on the center of inside the trunk, showing a plastic hole where a plastic cap where a spare tire is missing (he had removed the plastic cover that covered the hole)
-  A closeup of inside the car trunk, with two markers (A & B) seen inside.  Next to Marker A, there is a dryer sheet.  Marker B showed dirt residue that Bloise observed.
- The back area of the spare tire well.  It's been removed from the car.  There was a section of the car's interior lining that was already removed prior to this photo being taken. This photo showed the underneath part of the tire cover, that is made of wood (while the part we see in the trunk normally is lined with carpeting).
- This photo shows a section that was cut out of one side of the spare tire well backing, that's been taken out of the car.
-  The inside of the trunk, Marker C shows a dried leaf that Bloise observed on the spare tire cover well in the trunk area.
-  Photo with a Marker C showing a dried leaf that Bloise saw in the trunk area.  He testified that the spare tire was in that area when he received the car.  But it was removed for this photograph.




1 comment:

  1. Is it normal for a child to have 4-5 toothbrushes? The baby was found with tape over her mouth. I wonder if they have they looked into whether Casey had some weird OCD thing about dental hygiene.