Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder Trial of Casey Anthony

The Defense Goes on the Offensive


Casey Anthony
Casey Anthony

The defense went on the counter-attack, particularly over the method of Caylee's death.

Because the body had been so decomposed, there really was no scientific evidence to determine how she had died or even if she had been killed, which the defense successfully got Dr. Gary Utz to admit. When asked if he knew how Caylee had been killed he said, "I do not. I did not make the determination of cause and matter of death in this case."

And they grilled Dr. Garavaglia on her ruling of "homicide by unknown means," claiming it to be little more than an opinion, however educated.

She defended her decision. "The fact that it was tossed in a field to rot in bags is a clear indication that the body was trying to be hidden," she said. "The fact that there is duct tape anywhere attached to that child's face is to me an indication of a homicide."

The defense challenged that the duct tape was the cause of Caylee's death. The duct tape was not found encircling the skull, but was merely attached to the hair mat.

Other testimony left traces of doubt in the jurors' minds.

Dr. Arpad Voss
Dr. Arpad Voss

Roy Kronk, the meter reader who had discovered the body, was put on the stand and testified that he had seen a skull and tried to notify police four different times, once as early as August. The defense tried to raise the possibility that Kronk had staged the scene himself to get reward money for the body's discovery.

The evidence of chloroform, presented by the prosecution's witness Dr. Arpad Voss from the University of Tennessee's Oakridge Laboratory, was challenged by the defense as being experimental. Juxtaposed with the testimony of Dr. Marcus Weiss, a chemist and a colleague of Voss', it was less clear that the levels of chloroform were so unusual, indeed, they could even have come from a household cleaning agent, such as Febreze.

Weiss proposed that the rotting car smell could have been from garbage left in the trunk of the car when the car had been towed after running out of gas. For every person that had smelled "the smell of death" in the car, Baez put up two pictures of people who had testified that there was no foul odor coming from the car who had been around it when it should have smelled rank.

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