Casey Anthony Trial Update: Lawyer for murder defendant suggests investigator altered evidence
(CBS/WKMG/AP) ORLANDO, Fla. - A defense attorney for a Florida mother charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter suggested Tuesday that a crime scene investigator altered crucial evidence.
Casey Anthony's defense attorney questioned crime scene investigator Gerardo Bloise about why he dried out garbage found in a bag in Anthony's car. The bag is important since defense attorneys say a foul odor in the car came from the garbage, while prosecutors contend the smell was of human decomposition.
"You had no idea it would alter significant items in this case?" defense attorney Jose Baez said during cross-examination. Bloise said he was following protocol, since drying out evidence preserves it and makes it easier to examine.
In other testimony Tuesday, jurors heard about a variety of forensic evidence, including trace amounts of chloroform in Anthony's car, the garbage bag in her trunk, and the police dog who prosecutors say identified the scent of human remains in the car.
The defense claims that the foul odor in the car came from a garbage bag, while prosecutors claim the smell was of human decomposition, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.
The state called Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Jason R. Forgey, who has been a K-9 handler since 2001, to the stand.
Forgey detailed the training his multi-purpose Germen Shepherd, Gerus, received to identify the scent of human remains. Gerus is the K-9 that sniffed out the odor of a decomposing body in the Anthony family's backyard and the trunk of Anthony's car, the station reports.
Forgey said the dog once provided a false alert during a training session, but he had been working for 16 hours and was tired.
Earlier in the day, Dr. Michael Rickenbach, a forensic chemist with the FBI, was called to the stand. He said the chloroform levels found in the car were not exceptionally high, but he was surprised to find any chloroform at all, saying it is not something he typically finds. Dr. Arpad Vass testified on Monday that the chloroform levels in the air samples taken from Anthony's trunk were "shockingly high," reports WKMG.
Chloroform is present during decomposition.
During cross-examination, Rickenbach said the chloroform could have been produced by cleaning products.
Anthony is accused of first-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.
The toddler's skeletal remains were found in a wooded area not far from her grandparents' home in December 2008. Anthony has pleaded not guilty and if convicted could be sentenced to death.
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