The State of Florida v. Casey Anthony: Day 4

By Nikki Namdar
Special to the Valencia Voice

The infamous odor from the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car was the focus of the trial on Friday, as witnesses testified that the car smelled of human decomposition.

Simon Birch worked as the operations sales manager at Johnson’s Wrecker Towing Company in Orlando during that time. He Casey Anthony’s Pontiac at his workplace on June 30 the vehicle was abandoned at an Amscot on June 27.

District manager of Amscot Financial Services Catherine Sanchez said she saw the vehicle unattended for four days before she called the non-emergency police line to inquire if the car was reported stolen. She was informed it was not, leading her to call the towing company.

In her testimony, Sanchez said she did smell an odor, “but it was right next to the dumpster, so it was a normal smell for that area.”

Sanchez wasn’t the only one who refers to an odor. Birch said he recalls an odor coming from the car but was not that was not that of garbage.

“On the third or fourth day, I started paying a little more attention to it,” recalls Birch in his testimony. He said he checked to see if the doors were locked and then placed his hands on a window to shield the light and that’s when a smell struck him. “I did notice a fairly strong odor emanating from vehicle.”

Birch said he has been exposed to the smell several times before, and is able to clearly distinguish that versus another type of odor. “It is a very, very unique odor,” Birch described. “It was odor consistent to what I have smelled in the past of decomposition.”

Birch also stated, from where he could see, there was nothing in the car that could cause the odor.

George and Cindy Anthony, parents to the defendant, retrieved the car about two weeks later on July 15. Birch described them as very upset about the towing, calling them “unruly customers.” George Anthony walked with Birch to the car, continuously apologizing for their behavior, explaining they were under pressure due to Casey Anthony not allowing them to see Caylee. Birch said it was when the Anthony’s opened the car that he first recognized the smell as that of human decomposition.

“As the door was opened, it came out very intently,” Birch said. “It was as if it was released in the air. It was potent. In the back of my head, I thought it was the smell of decomposition. It’s a smell you can’t forget. I haven’t smelled anything similar to it.”

When Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick asked Birch why he did not inform George Anthony, he explained that George seemed irritated and did not want to place a burden on him. But George Anthony said in his testimony that he acknowledged the stench, as well.

Birch suggested opening trunk, a moment George Anthony said he prayed his daughter and granddaughter were not stored in there. The trunk released flies and the odor, said Birch, was much stronger than the original. No bodies were found, but a white garbage bag filled with paper and a pizza box. George also recalls a stain on the spare tire cover.

George Anthony also said he has smelled the odor of human decay before and like Birch, is able to distinguish that with anything else.

“That particular smell,” George said, “once you smell it, you never forget it. It’s very distinctive.”