The Defense Lays a Foundation
Thursday marked the third anniversary of Caylee Marie Anthony's death. No one in the courtroom made mention of it, but everyone clearly knew that this morning marked the beginning of the Baez Blitz, aka, Casey's Last Stand. First to face his charge was Gerardo Bloise, a CSI investigator with the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Baez's initial line of questioning seemed routine. He asked Bloise about examining Anthony Lazzaro's vehicle. Lazzaro was Casey's boyfriend before and during the time of her first arrest. Bloise was also asked about his involvement in searching the Anthony home for evidence, and the scope of his responsibilities, such as collecting only Casey's clothing for clues.
While examining evidence, Baez asked Bloise about his interaction at work, "Do you speak while you're doing this?"
"No," Bloise responded.
"Why not?" Baez asked.
"Because I'm by myself." When Bloise said that, most of the courtroom burst into laughter.
That was the extent of humor in the courtroom Thursday. Once Baez settled in, he seemed to hold his own– except for a few gaffes. For example, he hammered away at a blanket of Caylee's that hadn't been entered as evidence, leaving Baez to look foolish and unprepared. “My apologies," he said to the court, "the blanket that was just described is not in evidence. I move to strike.”
Heather Seubert relieved Bloise on the stand. She is an FBI forensic evidence examiner. and she was accepted as an expert witness in DNA and serology. Her testimony was interesting, too. She explained all of those delightful "Q" and "K" samples. Just what are Q's and K's? Actually, Karen Korsberg Lowe said it best. She is an FBI forensic evidence examiner who testified for the State on June 4, but during the Scott Peterson guilt phase, she said:
"Q's are questioned items. So that might be something recovered from an item of evidence. That's what I'm going to look for to compare to known, which would be the K's. So the knowns are the sources. Known may be a head hair sample, what I'm typically doing. So I would compare the Q's, the hairs retrieved from items of evidence, compare them to K's to see they are consistent with coming from the same source."
Seubert's testimony was quite technical, but suffice it to say that many of the items removed from Casey's vehicle, particularly in the trunk area, showed no signs of blood, nor was any DNA discovered. I found that to be quite revealing. If other fluids were found, where did the blood and DNA go? As they are exposed to the elements, they dissipate, of course, but not entirely. That was a good point on Baez's behalf. Nothing notable was found on the duct tape, either, but I would look at that differently because those pieces were sitting in stagnant water half the time, and brutal Florida heat the entire time, from June into December.
Meanwhile, Baez kept hammering away. He continued to press the witnesses for any feedback regarding Caylee's father. If he could prove that law enforcement centered on the paternity issue, then he could convince the jury that they were obsessed with finding out who the father was. Wouldn't this sort of thing show the jury that even law enforcement believed there might have been something to "those" accusations of sexual abuse - that the defense accusations against George and Lee have some merit? That's precisely what the defense is doing.
Robin Maynard used to be a CSI crime scene investigator with OCSO. She testified that the small piece of cardboard with the heart sticker attached was found 45 feet away from the main area (A) where the skull was. After she was excused, Ron Murdock took the stand. He is a forensic supervisor at OCSO. When Baez pressed him for the distance between the skull and and the cardboard/sticker, he said it was 30 feet. That's a discrepancy, and if highly trained professionals can't get things right, it may cause the jurors to have less faith in the quality of their work.
It seems to me that the defense strategy will be to start from the ground floor and work their way up. They are laying a foundation so that when the accusations against family members begin to weave their way into the story, some on the jury might be paying attention to what's being said, and that might cause some of them to have second thoughts by the time the defense rests. Fear not! If you wonder about the botanists and question why they weren't brought in to testify for the State, all is not lost. I asked a fellow journalist in the media room what he thought about the State's case. I told him I expected more. He said we always do, but as far as the botanist is concerned, prosecutors may bring theirs in during rebuttal. Also, bear in mind that the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that Casey murdered her daughter.
I'm sure you've heard the phrase "sly as a fox" before. I'm beginning to think it may hold merit with regard to Baez. Yes, he has bumbled and fumbled quite a bit during the trial, but he also has scored points during some of his crosses and while he presented the defenses case Thursday. By the time Baez is done with his defense, jurors' heads may be spinning.
This case was supposed to be a slam-dunk murder one conviction for the prosecution. But by playing the fool, whether naturally or intentionally, Baez may have fooled everyone.
Please limit comments to the blog's subject matter. Comments containing profanity and/or personal attacks will not be published.