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What's Next? Hauling A Load of Kronk?

    Forensic entomologist Dr. Tim Huntington was called to the stand last week. Of most interest was his testimony that he had received a phone call from Linda Kenney Baden, then a defense attorney hired by Casey, on December 11, 2008 to let him know that the unidentified remains of a child were found near the Anthony home. Suddenly, the date of the call became a mystery. Why would the defense team contact a potential expert witness without knowing the identity of the remains? Did Jose Baez know all along where the body Caylee was located? Although this has piqued the interest of many, the answer is most likely no. A good defense anticipates trouble down the road.
    To be honest, as soon as I heard the news about the discovery two weeks before Christmas, I knew who it was. We all did. In criminal cases, defense attorneys contact experts ASAP to stop the State from collecting the cream of the crop. Dr. Timothy Huntington is a protégé of Dr. Neal Haskell. Haskell went to the State and Huntington went to the defense. While Huntington came credentialed, he was no match for  Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton, who got the doctor to admit that the body had been moved a mere two or three days earlier, which is exactly what the State had been saying all along. "The absence of early bugs says that the body was moved from another location," Huntington said. From the trunk of Casey's car, perchance? Clearly, Huntington was chewed up and spit out by Ashton, but that was nothing compared to what Ashton did to Dr. Werner Spitz.
    Ashton was in vintage form as he questioned Spitz, the world renowned forensic pathologist. Watching Ashton decimate him on the stand was a sad ending to an illustrious career. In record time, Spitz was sputtering. As many times as he's testified at trial, I don't think he's ever worked a trial like this - when The Ashton Express was rolling down the tracks.
    On Monday, we pick up where Saturday began - with testimony from Dr. William Rodriguez, a forensic anthropologist and co-founder of the Body Farm, along with Dr. William Bass. Rodriguez's observations from years ago showed that blowflies are attracted to a body within minutes of death. His work published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in 1982, and went on to become one of the most cited articles in the field forensic entomology. Baez questioned Rodriguez about issues never revealed to the State and that prompted a stern warning from the judge. A contempt of court proceeding against him after the trial ends is a real possibility. Judge Perry cut the doctor's testimony short because Jose Baez did not comply with an Order from the Court dated January 6, 2011. The judge had made it quite clear early on that he would not tolerate a trial by ambush. It's a complete list of people who will be permitted to testify, and it includes other discovery, as well, which enables both parties to know what evidence will (or may) be presented. This way, one side doesn't learn of the other side's evidence with no time to build a response.
    Until then, I expect the defense to turn away from forensics and move closer to the realm of tabloid fodder. Of course, there are many others that could enter the fray after the State's rebuttal, which could include experts in other fields, like botany and records of cell phone pings. If the State presents more evidence and experts, the defense will respond in kind, and the trial may drag on another month, but I don't think so. A good prosecution knows how and when to stop. Cut to the chase.
    If we stay on course, expect the defense to call Roy Kronk, who found Caylee, to the stand this week. Kronk found the remains in August 2008, but I found a discrepancy in what he said. Originally, he had spotted a suspicious bag in the woods off Suburban Drive when he stopped there in August 2008. On December 11 2008, Kronk said he found the skull after entering the wood line to relieve himself. There it was, in plain sight-- sticking up from a black plastic bag. He proceeded to walk toward the skull and when he got close, he stuck his meter reader stick in one of the eye sockets and out it rolled.
    I don't suspect Kronk of any wrongdoing, and neither do the police, but there's a problem with his story and the photographs the State showed us in court that were taken from the scene prior to moving anything. He said he lifted the skull, yet it was buried in dirt up to the top of the eye sockets when investigators took images of the scene. It was not inside a black plastic bag. That bag and other evidence were nearby. This is why the defense is going after him, I'm sure. What will they yield? I don't know, but I'm sure George will be next. He's accused of sexually molesting Casey when she was young. Proving that will be next to impossible, but putting Caylee's body into the arms of Kronk is doomed to go the route of a runaway freight train barreling down the tracks. But that's nothing new. This defense knows all about railroading.

 

 


    

 

 

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Comments, page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 Next »
Jun 20, 2011 12:28 am
 Posted by  dana

I am so impressed with Jeff Ashton. He is great! When I heard Dr. Spitz talking about opening the skull I thought well now maybe the defense has something....that was before Jeff cross examined him. I have yet to see the defense do anything to help Casey or create reasonable doubt...Jose Baez, if he was a good attorney, which he isn't, should have realized he is unqualified and referred Casey to someone who is. I was doing some research and found out the Prosecution has the last word in closing arguments. I can't wait to see them destroy Casey and bring justice for Caylee!

Jun 20, 2011 02:31 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Mr. Baez may be fooling some people but one thing is for certain…he is not fooling Judge Perry! After all it’s not the judge’s “first rodeo!” I’ve grown so weary of trickery and winning by ambush taking precedent over the law, regardless of which side is throwing the sucker-punch. Once again, Judge Perry has renewed my faith in our court system by putting the law first. It is my sincere hope that Judge Perry will follow-up at the end of this trial by finding Mr. Baez in contempt of court. His lack of experience is one thing, but his flagrant disregard and disrespect in the courtroom is appalling.

Of course, the dirty tricks are not limited to the courtroom. Let’s not forget last Wednesday night when the prosecution should have been doing their happy dance but instead were blasted on every television station about Vasco Thompson. Coincidence? I think not. Thank goodness Mr. Thompson came forward to clear himself and George Anthony. It makes me wonder how many more red herrings the hungry reporters will devour and how many more people will be consumed by the Vortex of Destruction, commonly known as Casey Anthony. She has left a path of destruction as wide as the tornadoes in Missouri.

I agree with you that the “Ashton Express” was a site to behold. The grilling of Dr. Huntington just showed that the Grasshopper still has much to learn. He will have to be on the side of truth or learn to be a better liar. So many times he had the look of a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

On cross exam, Dr. Spitz was just pitiful on so many levels. Dr. Spitz came across as dinosaur with no knowledge of the case.

How many times did we hear Mr. Baez inform the potential jurors that he defense was not obligated to present a case? I dare say he would have fared better if he had kept his mouth shut during opening statements and kept his own witnesses off the stand.

Kat
from Monroe Co.

Jun 20, 2011 03:41 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Two Words: Over Charged!!!!! The defendant is Over Charged!!!!!!!! Ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.

Jun 20, 2011 07:30 am
 Posted by  Carole

Dave,

I am so glad that Judge Perry is in charge of this case! He is on top of his game. I was not aware just how much our modern technology has played a part in the courtroom. To be able to quickly look up case law on the spot, or as we see Judge Perry doing often, printing out lesson sheets for Baez, things have definitely changed.

The one thing that I do have a problem with is watching Baez texting while the trial is going on.......it just appears as if he is not paying enough attention to what is going on.

A good Chief should know how to delegate tasks to the person that is best qualified for that specific task. This is where I believe that Baez is failing. Not that I am against a good train wreck, but, as Judge Perry said, Casey does require a fair trial.

Jun 20, 2011 07:46 am
 Posted by  Mary Jo

Dave, thanks for another great article. Jeff Ashton is always prepared and does his job well. He was able to get Dr. Huntington to admit the body had been moved. He did what he needed to do with Dr. Spitz and when he was done with him he was so discredited with what he said about Dr. G doing a shoddy autopsy and also someone staging the head for the pictures that they took. Dr. Spitz will hopefully retire which in my opinion is something he should have done years ago. The defense knew it was Caylee when it was reported a childs remains were found and I am sure that they already knew what experts they were going to try to get if and when the time came that they needed them.I am looking forward to court today to see if the prosecution drafted up something for JP to read to the jury regarding Rodriguez and why he was suddenly taken off the stand on Saturday. I hope that JP finds Baez in contempt at the end of this trial. Baez knows darn well what he did was wrong and it was done on purpose. I have to wonder why Mason doesn't stop him from doing some of the things he does. He has to know it is wrong. I agree with you about Kronk saying the skull fell out of the bag. I believed him until the pictures were shown in court. I don't think he did anything sinister and I think that since it was raining that morning that he did see something white with the plastic bag next to it. I am sure the defense will try to tear him to shreds, but the prosecution will be able to revive him on cross. I hope JP gets this defense moving and we aren't still having this trial at Christmas. Having only one witness testify per day is crazy, but it is probably what the defense is trying to do. They know she is going to be found guilty so why not just get it over with. JP isn't going to take too much more from this defense team.
Thanks again, Dave for another great read!

Jun 20, 2011 08:42 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Jeff Ashton did a fantastic job with both Huntington and Spitz, and I feel sure he will do the same with Rodriguez.

I find it totally repulsive seeing Casey trying to "cry" those fake tears! I truly hope she gets the DP for murdering little Caylee. Some people are just evil, and she is one of them. I think Geo. and Cindy are lucky to be alive, because I think they were about to become her next victims. Remember, she told Amy the house would be hers soon.

The Anthonys now have a big pile of blood money, so they should be happy. I detest Cindy for all the lies and coverups she made. However, like Casey, lying doesn't seem to bother her at all. I think she should be jailed, personally. Most people would be.

Casey is a danger to society and should never be released. God help America if she is!

Jun 20, 2011 09:58 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Wow! I'm sure glad judge Blevin told them! I love it how he asked each one to say the time and they each said a different time, showing they can't even agree on what the clock says. Jose Baez sounds like a fishy character to me, using dirty tactics to try to cause reasonable doubt. For me, the defense is a mess, and has no credibility. I don't know much about law, but if I was a jury, I'd really be questioning the defense.

Jun 20, 2011 10:30 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Well, today showed that both lead attorneys have a role in the train wreck of a court day as we watched everything collapse until the Judge adjourned until tomorrow.

What I find most appalling is the blatant hostility and disrespect that Baez was showing after he made his presentation to the court and while the judge was talking, he was chatting with Mason and his client instead of quietly listening. He obviously thinks he is being wronged, but his courtroom behavior definitely needs some adjusting. His body language speaks loudly and it will be his downfall.

Yes, I agree that Ashton is a skilled prosecutor and has the record to show it. So, in one sense, he should be held to a higher standard of performance. He knows very well what is required, and I think that is why the judge included the State in his castigation of the lawyers.

Casey does deserve a fair trial and I have never thought this event mandated the DP, but perhaps it is like the kid who wants a dollar and asks Dad for two, knowing he will only get one. However, the judge has stated that he will not be forced into a mistrial by court actions, and he is holding fast to that goal. Baez may be hoping he can create one, but I think he has seriously underestimated his situation and will only end up getting contempt charges and possibly other unexpected outcomes from his lack of performance.

All in all, today was very eye-opening after the week before with all the drowsy testimony, but it is a shame that it is the jurors who end up being punished, because they are restrained/sequestered/held and have few options until they can begin deliberating.

Jun 20, 2011 12:49 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Hi Dave, I'm sitting here wondering if you are as disappointed and flabbergasted as I am with this mornings happenings..To sit here and listen to Jose Baez attack Jeff Ashton personally as he did is as unprofessional as anything I have ever witnessed. I feel Judge Perry has been more than patient because of the magnitude of the case. He is doing all he can to get this case tried and the jurors back to their lives and families, but that is not going to be an easy task. Why is Mr. Mason sitting back and letting this happen when he is an experience and seasoned attorney? It is now just making a mockery of our justice system.

At the rate we are going now Kronk will be a long time testifying. If Baez attacks him when he's on the stand like he has others it will more than likely turn the jury against him and do more damage than good..IMO.

Rosebud8

Jun 20, 2011 01:25 pm
 Posted by  Waterfall

Dave, good post today. Personally I wish you had not added the last sentence based on the law that a defense had the obligation to question anything that takes their client to the death penalty. Kronks story does not jibe well, that's his fault. To have picked up the skull with a stick through the eyeball adds somewhat of a crude careless act. Especially when he knew a child was missing and he was looking for one. This act alone by picking up Caylee's skull and most likely dropping it would have
disturbed a lot of evidence. I think the defense has every right to bring all this into focus. Mr. Kronk was searching, that alone would have indicated he should have been careful and not have touched his finding. This is not a remark toward you, I just happen to believe he has played such a great part in this case, it should all be brought to light before the jury. As a matter of fact I would have expected the state to have put him on as their own witness to portray his horror in discovering a child's body in such a state and how broken up he was about it. Maybe he will show his emotion on the stand, because so far I have not heard that he ever showed any over finding a child's skeletal remains which, for most people would have been pretty tramatic. Why wouldn't he be a key person in this whole case. I'm sure that someone, someday would have found Caylee's remains, but since Mr.Kronk did, he would naturally be called to testify. I know a lot of observers feel he is being "accused" more than they like but he is one of the most important people connected to this case and I do not find any reason why he needs to be so protected. Again, imo Mr Kronk should never have touched what he found. He knew months before, he was searching for Caylee and should have been prepared to NOT TOUCH!. Kronk should never have touched Caylee's skull. I for one do not view him as a hero. LE
protect him to protect themself, they let him down in the beginning.

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'Marinade Dave' Knechel

Dave Knechel has been blogging about the Casey Anthony case since late 2008, drawing readers from all over the world. Best known as “Marinade Dave,” a nickname he got when he made marinades and also blogged about marinade recipes, Knechel is on assignment to blog about the case exclusively for orlandomagazine.com as Anthony goes to trial for first-degree murder. His posts will appear regularly on this site.

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