Published June 04, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. – An FBI forensic expert at the Casey Anthony murder trial said Saturday that a strand of hair she examined from Anthony's car trunk had evidence of apparent decomposition, which could be a potential blow to the defense team because it is consistent with hair from a dead body.
Karen Korsberg Lowe, who worked for the FBI for 15 years, told jurors that the hair sample appeared to have post-mortem banding. But when pressed by Jose Baez, Anthony's attorney, she couldn’t say the hair 'absolutely' came from a dead person.
The specialist in microscopic hair examinations described the banding as "a darkened band at the root portion of the hair consistent with apparent decomposition."
Under cross-examination from Baez, Lowe said it was not unusual to find hairs in cars, as the average person loses 100 head hairs a day, and people can transfer hairs to other people.
"I couldn't say how the hair got there," Lowe said. "It's consistent with transfer or contact of some sort, but I don't know from whom."
When questioned again by prosecutor Jeff Ashton, Lowe said the hair showed characteristics of one that had been forcibly pulled.
Lowe went on to compare the hair sample to a sample of hair found in a brush that belonged to Caylee, the deceased toddler. However, because of the small amount of hair recovered, Lowe was unable to guarantee it was a match. She said the brown, 9-inch-long hair strand was similar to a hair from Caylee and not her mother.
Baez challenged Lowe's qualifications before the trial and tried to block her testimony. Defense attorneys called the hair evidence unreliable.
Mike Vincent, an assistant supervisor with the Orange County Sheriff's Office crime scene unit, explained how he collected air samples and a stain from Anthony's car in 2008.
Another crime scene investigator testified Friday that he smelled the odor of human composition when he first opened the door to examine Anthony's car days after her initial arrest in July 2008.
Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in Caylee's 2008 death. Her remains were found in a wooded area near her parents' home in December 2008. The prosecution says the girl was suffocated after duct tape was placed over her mouth. The defense contends she accidently drowned in her grandparents' swimming pool.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.