June 10, 2011 -- The judge in the Casey Anthony murder trial ruled today that an animated video that morphs from the face of a live 2-year-old Caylee Anthony to a skull with duct tape can be shown to jurors.
The video was first shown to Anthony, her defense team, prosecutors and Judge Belvin Perry. The jury was removed before the video was played and it was not displayed on monitors for the rest of the court audience to see.
The prosecution asked to submit the video as evidence to prove that Caylee died from duct tape on her nose and mouth. The defense argued against the video.
"This disgusting superimposition is nothing but a fantasy...It's not supported by anything that can't be testified to," argued defense attorney Jose Baez.
Anthony, 25, watched the tape intensely but did not show emotion. She is accused of murdering Caylee and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Michael Warren, an anthropology professor at the University of Florida, created the tape. He offered proffered testimony to the judge and the lawyers.
"The purpose of the demonstration is to illustrate that it's possible that the width of the tape would cover both the child's nose and...the mouth," Warren testified.
Once Judge Perry approved the video to be shown to jurors, Casey Anthony was visibly upset and did not watch the video a second time.
Caylee's skull, found in December of 2008, had three pieces of duct tape on it. The duct tape is key for the prosecution in proving that Caylee's death was a homicide.
Earlier today, Orange County Chief Medical Examiner Jan Garavaglia testified that it was scientifically defensible to say that Caylee's death was a homicide, but that because of decomposition she could not determine how the homicide occurred.
"The fact that there's duct tape anywhere attached to that child's face is to me indication that it's homicide," she said.
Garavaglia said that a number of red flags contributed to her decision to list the death as a homicide. The first was that nobody reported Caylee was missing for 31 days. Caylee was reported missing July 15, 2008.
The second red flag was that her body was hidden.
"The fact that it's [Caylee's body] tossed in a field to rot in bags is a clear indication that the body was being tried to be hidden," Garavaglia said.
Casey Anthony's lawyer claims the Caylee drowned and her mother never told anyone. Garavaglia seemed to poke holes in that claim, stating that her data and experience shows parents usually always report their children's injuries or accidents.
The example she referred to frequently throughout her testimony was instances of children drowning. "No matter how stiff that body is, they always call 911 in the hopes that child will be saved," said Garavaglia of the parents of drowning victims.
This morning, a frail looking Anthony began sobbing inconsolably as a witness told the court that her daughter Caylee's bones were chewed on by animals.
The description of the gnawing on Caylee's bones triggered a near breakdown by Casey Anthony. She sobbed and her body shook. One of her lawyers, Dorothy Simms, held Anthony and tried to comfort her. She continued to weep and wipe her face with tissues during a long sidebar among the judge and lawyers.
Casey Anthony Sobbed During Morning Testimony
The morning's testimony centered on the photos of Caylee's remains that were first seen by jurors and Anthony on Thursday. Anthony became ill after seeing pictures of her daughter's skull, forcing Judge Belvin Perry to call an early recess on Thursday.
One witness described the remnants of Caylee's clothing. Her shirt read "Big trouble comes small." Her plaid shorts were ripped and extremely dirty.
Emotional Testimony in Casey Anthony Trial
Forensic anthropologist John Schultz testified today that Caylee's vertebrae were found all in the same place, a sign that the body was intact when it was brought there.
"We collected all but one tooth. We have most of the spine, many of the ribs, all of the long bones, the tiny bones, hand, feet, left foot and we did recover one bone of the right foot. The only reason we have one bone of the right foot is because we had carnivore activity on that part of the skeleton," Schultz said.
He estimated that the body may have been there as long as six months.
"These bones were completely dry, no decomposition odor. There was some slight erosion on some of the bones which would take time, [they were] found under leaf litter. One bone was basically buried," Schultz said.
Caylee's remains were found on Dec. 11, 2008 in a wooded area near the Anthony family home. The toddler was reported missing July 15, 2008, 31 days after she was last seen alive.
Schultz also said that duct tape was covering the mouth of the skeleton but he couldn't say for certain that it was covering the nose. Fibers from the duct tape were also found in the skeleton's hair.
The remains were found by meter reader, Roy Kronk. Legal experts believe the defense will attempt to villify Kronk. In opening statements, defense attorney Jose Baez claimed that Kronk tampered with the crime scene and wanted to profit off of finding Caylee's remains.
The crime scene photos seem to have heightened public interest in the case. The first degree murder trial is becoming the hardest ticket to get in Orlando, Fla. Spectators aren't allowed to line up until 5:30 a.m., but people were gathering near the courthouse as early as 1 a.m. today.
Paramedics were called after a scuffle broke out between people lining up to get one of the 50 seats saved for the public, WKMG-TV reported. A woman was knocked down by one of the more than a 100 people who gathered at the courthouse hoping to watch today's hearing, WKMG-TV reported.
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