The State of Florida v. Casey Anthony: Day 11

By Nikki Namdar
Special to Valencia Voice

Doctor Arpad Vass was the one and only witness in the State of Florida vs. Casey Anthony trial who testified during Monday’s court proceedings.

Dr. Vass is the senior research scientist at the Oakridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. He has been employed there for 20 years, with areas of expertise in a variety of science disciplines, from anthropology to microbiology.

In July 2008, he received samples of evidence from Casey’s car from crime scene investigators in Orange County.

“Over the years, my 20 years, we have followed approximately 50 individuals from start to finish,” said Dr. Vass.

He told the courtroom that once he received the can of an air sample from Casey’s trunk, he knew it was the odor of human decomposition. “The odor was extremely overwhelming,” said Vass. “I was shocked that little can had that much odor.”

He enlightened the jurors in the courtroom on the four stages of human decomposition and the various stages of odor, stating that this finding meant only one thing: there was a dead body in the trunk of Casey’s car.

“We found the presence of butyric acids … fatty acids, the first compound liberated during decomposition … found in the car itself,” Vass said.

Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton asked Dr. Vass if he believed there was a dead body in the trunk of the defendant’s car. Vass said he did because there’s “no other plausible explanation to explain the results.”

He testified that he identified 51 individual components, one of which was the toxic liquid, chloroform. “The chloroform was shockingly high, tremendously high,” Vass said.

He used a chart to show that the level of chloroform was 16 points per million, adding that he had never seen a level that high.

If found guilty of second degree murder, Casey Anthony may have to face the death penalty. Court will resume on Tuesday at 9 a.m.