To what extent were Crime Scene Investigators influenced (in ways they performed their duties) by the hyper-media coverage that hovered like a swarm of bumble-bees on a woody park located on Suburban Drive (December 11, 2008)? Cheney Mason gave Dr. Jan Garavaglia a good drilling Friday on this very point. Let’s see, her answer was she doesn’t pay attention to the media, save NPR.
Friday’s trial proceedings were as chalk-full of excitement as any others I’ve witnessed. I reviewed all 11 tapes (or loops, as I prefer to call them) on the WFTV 9 Orlando site this morning (I advise you to do the same), and I’m reading the tea leaves even as I type. You can learn a great deal by absorbing the testimony Dr. John J. Schultz, an expert in forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology at the University of Central Florida.
Dr. Schultz orchestrated the gathering of evidence, starting on December 12, 2008, at this well known site where Caylee’s remains were found. Most of the bones were found, along with other items, such as some shorts, a canvas laundry bag, and a T-shirt (Caylee’s pink T, BIG TROUBLE COMES IN LITTLE PACKAGES). Not all 24 vertebrae bones were found, however. Only 20 were recovered from Area I.
Dr. Schultz actually mapped out the exact location of each bone. A red flag was placed at each of the locations where the bones were retrieved. Area A is the most important. This is where the skull was found and he indicated this had to be where the perpetrator had deposited the plastic bags during the initial phase of covering (his and her’s) tracks.
We can’t detect any flaws in the way the crime scene was processed, even if we wanted to. We know the spotlight was shining bright on this man of science, and he comes through with flying colors. On one point he was completely honest, when Cheney Mason asked him did he find out how the child died. Dr. John answered he did not.
Another important point made by Cheney Mason, was in its original state, that is, the way the body was initially discovered, duct tape was not covering the nasal aperture. This appears to be an ace in the sleeve of the defense. Obviously, we can speculate, that as the body deteriorated, or was possibly dragged by carnivorous animals, the duct tape may have come loose from the nasal passage. But this is only speculation!
I was riveted by the testimony of Dr. Jan Garavaglia! Her credentials are immaculate and her words, spoken eloquently on Friday, paint a picture of irrefutable homicide, scientific proof, if you will. Or is it? Tape 7 acts as the centerpiece for the day, so don’t miss one single celluloid frame, or you’ll kick yourself later. Dr. G has superior communications skills, so be wary of any hyperbole. (There I go again!)
Maybe there isn’t any, but keep a keen eye anyway. She claims no bias or interference from the media, yet is she a manipulator or a massager of the media herself? I just warned you to keep a critical eye, I’m not accusing her of anything. The manner of the crime scene in this tropical little park, right across from an elementary school, is 100 % proven to be homicide.
The means of death is in question, Dr. G at least admits. The reason why it’s a homicide, not an accident, (she) argued persuasively, is: 1. the mother, or the family never reported it, 2. the body was put in a bag and thrown in a secluded field to rot, and 3. duct tape was placed on the mouth. The unlikelihood that said duct tape was put on the mouth after death has been bandied about by the attorneys before, and by Dr. G on Friday.
Cheney Mason tried to get Dr. G to admit this is not scientific proof of homicide, but rather it’s a circumstantial argument. But Jan didn’t budge. She gave as an example that in virtually 100 % of the cases of accidental drowning of an infant, 911 will be called immediately by the parents. The fact that this wasn’t done with Caylee Anthony is a strong case for concealment, and thus homicide can be concluded.
Equally as interesting was the inclusion of what’s known as a ‘superimposition video, ‘ as ruled by Judge Bevin Perry. Michael Warren, another forensic anthropologist, made this controversial video. You never get to see the video, but I can give you a good tip. The Orlando Sentinel has published a pic from the video over on their web site. I looked at in disbelief a few hours ago (and photographed it also), but in the interest of good taste, will not post it here (on either TheSOP or on NewsBlaze).
The prosecution argues that the duct tape in question may well be the murder weapon. I will point out, however, this hasn’t been argued in detail by the prosecution heretofore. Really, the only thing that Michael Warren was trying to prove, is that the duct tape could have covered both the mouth and nose. And if you believe in the science of superimposition video, he proves exactly that.
You’ll need to pick through this. He puts an old photo of Caylee underneath a photo of the skull, with the duct tape thick enough to cover the live face and nose of the infant. Something here about anatomical landmarks, matching up the teeth, matching up the edge of the orbits, and the contours of the skull. An impressive piece of hocus-pocus!
Still after all’s said and done, they can’t prove that the duct tape was the cause of death. My take away from Friday, is that the prosecution is bringing out their biggest guns to date, and they’re spittin’ out the volatile firepower of modern crime scene investigation procedures, that have reached new heights of sophistication, and utilization of technology to pin-point exactly how bad things went down on Hopespring Drive.
Then it moves over to Suburban Drive, right across the street from an elementary school (for me this is a thorn in the side), and really just down the street from the Anthony home. But the problem I’m having, is how are these CSI experts any different from the Anthony’s, who would rightfully anger whenever the media hounds would camp out day and night in front of their home? Okay, so George and Cindy can put on a good show when put in front of the cameras, so what!
But what about Dr. G and what about Dr. Schultz? Aren’t they putting on a big show too? Aren’t they somewhat prejudicial themselves, just because they know this case is in the public eye, maybe more so than any other in the history of our judicial system? Weren’t their meticulous methods (putting on a show) colored by the fact that the media would zoom in on every action they made, every procedure they performed, with a fine tooth comb? The bottom line, is they haven’t really helped the prosecution’s case in any way.