Monday, June 27, 2011

Casey Anthony Trial: Jurors Smell Trash From Trunk That Reeked of Death

Casey Anthony Trial: Jurors Smell Trash From Trunk That Reeked of Death

PHOTO: Casey Anthony stands at the defense table during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., June 24, 2011.


Jurors in the Casey Anthony murder trial were handed pieces of trash today to sniff.
The trash came from Casey Anthony's car, the car that prosecutors claim reeked of death from the decaying remains of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Defense lawyers argued the foul smell came from garbage left in the trunk.
Prosecutor Jeff Ashton asked the judge for permission to let the jurors smell for themselves, handing them a Velveeta box and other bits of garbage that had been found in Anthony's car in the summer of 2008.
Anthony, 25, is accused of murdering her daughter Caylee and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The defense attempted to poke holes in the testimony of the prosecution's star witness, Arpad Vass. Vass collected the controversial air samples that he says contains five chemicals that are signatures of human decomposition's odor.
Forensic and analytic chemist Kenneth Furton told jurors that there is "no instrumental method" that is scientifically valued for a chemical signature of human decomposition, a direct blow to Vass. Vass said that five chemical compounds including chloroform showed that there was human decomposition in the trunk.
Evidence photos in Casey Anthony murder trial
Today, Furton argued that a variety of products, including some of Anthony's trash, could exhibit the same compounds.
Red Huber/AP Photo
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Upon cross examination, an exasperated Ashton began taking out pieces of trash asking Furton if each piece of trash could have produced all five chemicals found by Vass. Furton said that not one of the products could have created the odor alone but could have contributed to it.
Ashton then passed those pieces of trash to jurors. Some of the jurors sniffed the trash, while others chose not to examine it.
Furton also questioned the standards that Vass used in the air samples he collected from the trunk of Anthony's car. Vass works at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee at what is called the "Body Farm" where he studies the odor of human decomposition. He collected controversial air samples from Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire. Vass testified that the car contained an abundance of chloroform, a chemical found in human decomposition and also had the presence of fatty acids typically attributed to a decaying body.
Today, Furton said that chloroform can found in household cleaners like bleach and fatty acids could be found in animal products like milk and salami. A salami wrapper was found in the trunk of Anthony's car.more

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