Updated:ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.,None — An Orange County deputy, who trains cadaver dogs, was called to testify on day 23 of Casey Anthony's murder trial Tuesday. Casey, 25, is charged with killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony, in 2008.
Casey entered the courtroom just after 8:50am, wearing a blue and white striped button-down shirt and black pants. She had her hair pulled back into a bun. Casey's mother, Cindy Anthony, was in the courtroom on Tuesday, but Casey's father, George, was not.
DAY 23: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 BILL SHEAFFER: Analysis Of Day 23 CASEY WALKS IN: See Images | Raw Video KEY PLAYERS: Casey, Attorneys, Witnesses, Judge VIDEO REPORT: Cadaver Dog Handler Testimony
Deputy Jason Forgey was asked to explain how his dog, Gerus, was trained and what the dog detected in the case.
Caylee was last seen alive on June 16, 2008. Prosecutors believe Casey drove around with her dead daughter's body in the trunk for days. Casey's next-door neighbor said she borrowed his shovel for about one hour on June 18.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office cadaver dog had alerted on two different locations in Casey's backyard. The location that was given the most attention was close to Caylee's playhouse. The playhouse was a second-birthday present for Caylee that Lee and Cindy bought and George put it together. Caylee even had her own mailbox.
Prosecutors believe Casey might have tried to bury Caylee's body in that area where the Anthonys had so many memories with Caylee. George had directed deputies to one area where he noticed fresh dirt.
"He gave a final trained alert in the southeast corner of the yard. There was a playhouse in the area," said Forgey.
The sheriff's cadaver dog also alerted on Casey's car, which bolsters both new scientific evidence and other eyewitness testimony that the jury heard, indicating Caylee's body was in her mother's trunk.
"The trunk was open, Gerus jumped up into the trunk," said Forgey. "Of course, I was overwhelmed at that point because I'm hitting it same time as he is."
"They're going to be so impressed with the training and expertise of the dog that there's going to be little doubt Caylee's body was in the trunk and in the backyard of the Anthony home at some time in at least two locations," WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said.
Earlier, prosecutors called to the witness stand a crime scene investigator who testified about a garbage bag found in Casey's Pontiac Sunfire.
Prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick questioned crime scene investigator for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Gerardo Bloise.
Bloise has testified previously about the trash bags found in Casey's car. A picture of a Fusion Nightclub receipt was admitted into evidence, along with a box full of trash. Bloise confirmed he secured the contents of the box.
Casey's defense attorney, Jose Baez, suggested Tuesday that Bloise altered crucial evidence.
Baez questioned Bloise about why he dried out garbage found in a bag in Casey's car. It included empty packages of pizza, lunch meat, frozen chicken and cheese, among other things.
The bag is important since defense attorneys say a foul odor in the car came from the garbage, while prosecutors contend the smell was of decomposition.
"You had no idea it would alter significant items in this case?" Baez asked during cross-examination.
Bloise said he was following protocol, since drying out evidence preserves it and makes it easier to examine.
The state called FBI forensics expert, Dr. Michael Rickenbach, to testify about the trunk and the smell of canisters used to capture chemical evidence.
"When you opened the can did you detect an odor?" a prosecutor asked Rickenbach.
"Yes," Rickenbach replied.
"Did you recognize the odor?" the prosecutor asked.
"Objection," called Jose Baez.
Baez successfully stopped the witness before he described the smell.
During cross examination, Baez attacked the technology used to identify the chemicals found in Casey's trunk. But Rickenbach insisted that one questionable chemical was inside the trunk.
"Residues of chloroform were detected on that specimen," said Rickenbach.
Baez asked if the level of chloroform was high and Rickenbach said, "No."
However, prosecutors questioned him about how the carpet sample was packaged, in a non-airtight box which would have allowed chloroform to dissipate.
"I was very surprised to even detect chloroform," Rickenbach said.
Briefly Tuesday morning, a scientist from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory also returned to the witness stand. The state had to put Dr. Arpad Vass back on the stand to correct a mistake that was made on Monday.
Dr. Vass developed a new technique for detecting decaying bodies. When prosecutors were showing Vass canisters used to capture air samples, they showed him the wrong can at one point. Therefore, the state had to re-introduce the correct can into evidence.
The defense tried to seize on the moment to show that Vass was not familiar with the evidence in the case because he didn't catch the mistake. Casey's lead attorney Jose Baez questioned Vass for a brief minute and then he was excused.
On Monday, Vass testified to extremely high levels of chloroform in Casey's trunk and he said the gases being emitted were consistent with a dead body being on the carpet. He described his reaction to a container of air generated by a piece of trunk carpet from Casey's Pontiac.
"I jumped back a foot or two. I was shocked that the small sample could smell that strong," he said.
Vass explained that the stain on the carpet contained acids generated by early stage human decomposition. He is a research scientist who's studied decomposing bodies for two decades.
He told jurors he was shocked to find 10,000 times the amount potentially deadly chloroform than would normally be expected in human decomposition alone.
Vass has pioneered a way of detecting human decomposition from air samples and detailed for jurors his research on the chemical compounds observed when a body breaks down. Until Monday, the tests had never been admitted in a trial in the United States.
Caylee's skeletal remains were found in a wooded area not far from her grandparents' home on Suburban Drive in December 2008.
Prosecutors say the child suffocated after Casey put duct tape over her mouth. Casey's defense says Caylee died in an accidental drowning in the family's swimming pool.
Casey is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of lying to law enforcement. Casey has pleaded not guilty, and if convicted, she could be sentenced to death.
Court will resume at 9:00am on Wednesday.
Previous Stories: June 06, 2011: Expert: Tests Show Body Was In Trunk Of Casey's Car June 04, 2011: Forensic Expert Testifies On Evidence In Casey's Car June 03, 2011: Day 20: Parts Of Casey's Car Trunk Shown As Evidence June 02, 2011: State Exposes Lie After Lie From Casey On Day 19 Of Trial June 01, 2011: Witnesses, Recordings Heard In Court Expose Casey's Lies May 31, 2011: Tears Shed As 911 Calls Play; Casey's Ex-Friend Testifies May 30, 2011: Cindy Cries During Testimony On Caylee, Casey Angered May 27, 2011: Witness: Casey Anthony's Car Smelled Of Decomposition May 26, 2011: Casey's Ex-Lovers, Friends Testify On Day 14 Of Trial May 25, 2011: Casey Friends Say They Never Knew Caylee Was Missing May 24, 2011: Casey Murder Trial Brings Tears, Blame And Shame May 23, 2011: Legal Analyst Previews Casey Trial Opening Statements