OTR Interviews

Anatomy of Caylee Anthony's Crime Scene and Its Effect on a Courtroom

A closer look at the graphic skull and duct tape evidence at the Casey Anthony trial and whether it devastated the defense

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 9, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, the jury has absolutely no choice. Each member of the jury must look at the worst pictures, a decomposed child, a few strands of hair and evidence of duct tape. It's called evidence. And today was day 14 in the Casey Anthony murder trial. And for the first time, the jury is seeing the gruesome photos of the scene just days after Caylee's body was found.

Now, we went back to the crime scene just a few days ago, and this is what we saw.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN (Voice-over): You're looking at a wooded area. It is about a two-minute drive from the home where little Caylee Anthony lived with her mother and her grandparents. It's probably a five-minute walk. It's very wooded. It is June of 2011. If you recall, she disappeared in June of 2008, three years ago.

Police first started looking for her sometime in July when the grandmother reported she was missing. And the police say they didn't look in this particular area, and the searchers, because it was so flooded.

Well, you can certainly see how dense it is now, three years later, which is about the same time of year. The remains of Caylee were found in December of 2008, about six months after she disappeared. It's hard to ignore the significance of the fact that the child's remains were found two minutes by car from the home, or about a five-minute walk.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, today's evidence was particularly difficult for the dead child's grandparents. Cindy and George left the courtroom before the graphic pictures were presented. And Casey just looked away and cried. And then it got so bad, Casey said she was sick and the judge excused the jury and recessed for the day.

Former LAPD homicide detective Mark Fuhrman knows what it's like to process a crime scene like this. He joins us. Good evening, Mark.

MARK FUHRMAN, FORMER LAPD HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: Evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, in a sick, twisted way, I guess most people would say this was, quote, a "good day" for the prosecution, although this is never a good day when we're talking about something like murder and certainly of a child. But it's -- but it is a powerful day when you start presenting the evidence of the -- of the autopsy and the crime scene, isn't it.

FUHRMAN: Yes, it's very difficult. It's difficulty for -- it's -- for all parties. But this is really necessary because it is actually the nexus of the crime. And this is a big issue in the crime is cause of death. And of course, seeing that -- if Mr. Baez presents and accidental death, no accidental death comes with duct tape over the nose and the mouth. So this is the prosecution's connection to premeditation and a crime other than accidental death.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you make a good point because up until this point, they are almost all in agreement -- although there's back and forth in cross-examination and, you know, attempts to, you know, focus on the evidence. ... But it seems that people agree that the child died and the defense says it's accident and the prosecution says it's murder, probably placed in the trunk of the car. I don't think there's much dispute of that, even though they fought over the odor in the car or not. But this is sort of -- you know, when you look at the remains, you know, is -- when you sort of circumstantially put the evidence together, does it look like she accidentally died or whether she was murdered? And the duct tape is painful for the defense to handle.

FUHRMAN: Well, Greta, I don't think we're ever going to know unless Casey Anthony wants to take the stand and exactly describe exactly what happened to her daughter, and if those statements all fit into the evidence. Now, the duct tape is either ante-mortem or post-mortem, before death or after death. But now because of the advanced stage of the decomposition, there's nobody that can determine if that tape was on before or after death. If the child would have been found within a couple weeks, you could have.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, one of the most curious things about the case, and it still hasn't come up -- maybe you can explain it to me -- it still hasn't come out in evidence -- is that a meter reader, the one who found the remains -- he made his first call about finding a skull in the woods on August 11th. And yet the remains were not found until December 11th. Have you any explanation for that? I mean, it may it just be a side collateral issue, but do you -- can you understand that?

FUHRMAN: I don't understand this. Every time I read something, I get confused. But Greta, let's understand something. It has nothing to do with Casey Anthony and her statement, or her attorney's statement in opening statements. The child died June 16th. It has nothing to do with the discovery of the remains because even in August, there's probably a high probability that there would not have been enough remains to actually create the cause of death opinion. I'm not sure, but there was an advance state of decomposition in the trunk. And that, of course, was much later than that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, the trial resumes tomorrow. Casey Anthony back in the courtroom, having, I guess, composed herself a little bit because the -- they'll continue with information about the crime scene and autopsy. And the defense starts next week. Mark, thank you.