OTR Interviews

Casey Anthony's Behavior Could Help Prosecutors Connect the Forensic Dots

A look at the hair, fiber, skull and duct tape evidence in the Casey Anthony trial and whether prosecutors have proven their case

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 13, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: We take you now to Casey Anthony's temporary home, not one you would like. It's a jail. It's the Orange County jail. You get a rare look at where Casey is spending her days when she is not in the courtroom.

And jurors are hearing surprising testimony about the hair and duct tape found on Caylee Anthony's skull. The prosecution is hours away from resting. What's the defense going to do, put on evidence? Or is the defense also going to rest? Our legal panel is here as this murder trial enters week number four.

But first, jurors in the Casey Anthony murder trial are hearing new testimony about that duct tape which prosecutors claim Casey used to suffocate 2-year-old Caylee. No fingerprints were found on the three strips of tape, but an FBI examiner testified today that she saw something very strange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH FONTAINE, FBI EXAMINER: During my examination of Q-63, an outline of a heart appeared in one of the corners on the edge of that piece of duct tape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: So what does this mean for the prosecution? And there was more shocking news on Friday as the medical examiner told a packed courtroom this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. JAN GARAVAGLIA, CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: First, we know from observational studies, from experience, that it is a red flag that when a child is not reported immediately to authorities, either -- with an injury, that's something we look for, for foul play. This child, from history, was not reported for a long time.

There is no child that should have duct tape on its face when it dies. There is no reason to put duct tape on the face after they die. Based on our experience, we've seen that in cases of homicide.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us is former LAPD homicide detective Mark Fuhrman. Good evening, Mark. And of course, the prosecution would -- and I use the word lightly -- love to have the fingerprints of Casey Anthony on that duct tape, but it's not there. Defense will make a lot of it, but how critical it is that there are no fingerprints of the mother on that duct tape?

MARK FUHRMAN, FORMER LAPD HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: Well, you know, Greta, the fingerprint expert -- I think she was very good. And she laid out -- and I think she's very truthful. I don't think this goes against the prosecution at all. But when she -- she's looking for fingerprints, she's not looking for other evidence. And so when she comes upon it, I don't think that it first occurred to her to photograph it immediately. She notified people.

And then let's remember that because of her notification, there was hearts found at the house. And I believe there was multiple search warrants. So that information could have been used to actually once again go into the Anthony home or make sense of evidence they already collected.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, much will be made during any cross-examination of an expert witness like this. But it is upon the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed a crime and that a crime was committed. I think we'll see that -- you know, in the end, that Casey's behavior is going to fill in a lot of blanks of what people might infer from any evidence. Do you agree?

FUHRMAN: I agree with you wholeheartedly. It's one thing if you have an accidental death, if you have an accidental death that you participate in and you feel guilty. But to dispose of the child and then act in the way she did, goes -- I mean, it's counterintuitive. It makes no sense. And I think it absolutely lays her conviction down with every day of that 31 days she was out partying and socializing, with her child in the trunk.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any explanation -- and I'm intrigued by this and I think I asked you once before -- is the meter reader apparently made his first call in August of '08, but the remains weren't found until December '08. Do you have any explanation for this? And does it have any relevance to this case at all?

FUHRMAN: You know, Greta, I have no idea what took place during that period or the searches, how she could have been missed. But she certainly could have been missed at some point -- the weather, the conditions, just human error.

But Mr. Kronk has little to do with that 31 days, and that's really what we should focus on. In that 31 days, the child was killed and the mother went about for 31 days, failing to report her missing. And Dr. G. said it best. It's the first flag. The second was they have never had an accidental drowning in that county where 911 or EMS wasn't called. And no duct tape belongs on a child, dead or alive.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm sort of curious. When you -- as a detective, when you talk to someone who's a young person -- and she was about 22, 23 at the time she was picked up, missing child at the time is the first conversation -- do you have any difficulty talking to her and getting out the facts because she's young?

FUHRMAN: Well, when you first talk to -- like, Casey Anthony -- I'm pretty impressed with the way the detectives handled this case from the onset. But I think it's hard to understand how things get out of control for somebody like Casey Anthony. And so when you're talking to her, I think it's difficult to not want to help them understand what they did. But I think this is one of the problems. I really think initially, she didn't really understand the gravity of what occurred.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, we just saw pictures of her in the courtroom. She is so very young. And of course, that's what the jury is looking at for these four weeks. Mark, thank you.

Now, the jury also heard from an FBI hair and fiber investigator today. He testified that he saw more evidence of decomposition on the hairs taken from Caylee's skull than on the hairs found in Casey's trunk. Now, what does that mean? And could the duct tape on Caylee's skull cover both her nose and her mouth? The prosecution is trying to prove it could by showing a video of Caylee's skull with duct tape superimposed over a photo of the toddler. But will all this scientific evidence really prove murder?

Joining us, forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden. And we should note Dr. Baden's wife is a former member of the defense team in this case. Good evening, Dr. Baden.

DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Good evening.

VAN SUSTEREN: And first of all, we've seen so much evidence so far, only seen the prosecution case.

BADEN: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Defense will probably start tomorrow. And they will or will not put on evidence. That's their option. But I'm curious, is there any evidence so far or any reasonable inference of an accident?

BADEN: Well, the -- only the statement by Jose Baez that he will have to give some proof for during the defense part of the case. But the question he raised, could she have drowned in a pool? The autopsy findings are just as consistent with drowning in a pool as being suffocated.

And I have a problem, though, a real problem with the way the medical examiner refused to give a cause of death, said that she couldn't do the cause of death. Yet the prosecutor has the anthropologist, who never is able to give a cause of death, to give the cause of death in this case of suffocation by duct tape and to show that very painful picture of Casey smiling at the skull of her baby with the duct tape on it.

I think that is junk science kind of thing that's very powerful to a jury and very -- and is grounds for appeal, perhaps. But it just is not the kind of evidence that should be allowed into the courtroom. It has no basis for it. And the medical examiner realized that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think that -- I actually had -- we sort of -- I sort of duked it out with Jeanine Pirro last week on this particular issue...

BADEN: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... about the forensic anthropologist who had sort of a sniff machine...

BADEN: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... and the whole idea that it may be very compelling to the jury and very persuasive to the jury, but it's a gift to the defense if you give them an appellate issue if later on, if the person is convicted, you've handed them something that will give a reversal of the trial. So I think you and I agree on that one. And Jeanine will be up in a second. She doesn't agree with us on that one.

BADEN: No.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you about the hair decomposition. According to the expert, is that there was greater decomposition evidence on the remains than in the trunk. I assume that you would expect that.

BADEN: Yes. But the problem in the trunk was there was just one hair out of about 17. So they presented somebody who did a study. The FBI later did a study after discovery was finished. And that was presented now that when they did a lot of hairs from non -- from normal people, only two of them -- two of them showed root banding. Well, that means that nondecomposed bodies can show root banding, and what was in the trunk of the car wasn't a root. It was mid-shaft, up above the root, because the root was missing. So that's also an area that's subject to having another opinion during the defense case.

VAN SUSTEREN: And if I were the prosecutor arguing against that, say, OK, she wasn't at the decomposition stage in the trunk, and in fact, she was moved to the -- the six blocks much sooner than later and that's why you don't see the decomposition of the hair in the trunk. And I suppose the defense will come back, say there are a lot of reasons to be hair in the trunk because of the concept of transference of hair, right?

BADEN: But that could -- yes, that is she could have been in the trunk of the car, didn't decompose. And then a few days later, goes into the -- is put some place else where she does decompose.

VAN SUSTEREN: Although it's a lousy position if you're the defense if you're having to explain that, No, she wasn't in the trunk for six weeks, she was only in the trunk for two hours. It's a lousy defense argument.

BADEN: Or she wasn't in the trunk at all. But still, the time interval from that morning, 7:00 in the morning until 1:00 in the afternoon, when allegedly, according to Casey, the baby dies and is taken away, the baby could have been put someplace else or put right where she was found. But that's going to be challenged in the next couple of days, I assume.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, I was not wild about the testimony on the forensic anthropology. I thought that was a gift to the defense and an appellate issue. However, the mother, Cindy, testified that she opened the trunk and it had a very potent, powerful smell. And a layperson can make that determination that, you know, it smelled like something died in there. So that sealed the deal.

BADEN: Yes. Greta, you're absolutely right. Cindy's comments were the most powerful about a body being there. Everything else has now detracted from that, I think.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Baden, thank you, sir.

BADEN: Thanks, Cindy -- thank you, Greta.

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: Whatever my name is!