Day 15: Insect testimony crawls into Casey Anthony trial

by Jeff Shedden
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Insect specialist Neal Haskell took the stand on Saturday as the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony entered the 15th day of testimony.

Haskell is an expert in forensic entomology, the study of post-mortem insect activity. Haskell testified that the type of flies found on the pieces of evidence he received were typically found on bodies in a later stage of decomposition.

This evidence reinforces prosecutor Jeff Ashton’s theory that “the body of a small child was stored in that trunk for a period of time and then removed and deposited in another location.”

Haskell also testified that the same kind of phorid fly, also known as a “coffin fly”, was found at the site where Caylee Anthony’s remains were found, and insect activity suggested that the body had been dumped months before.

Defense attorney Jose Baez questioned the commonness of the phorid fly, and asked Haskell if they might not be attracted to general trash. A minor argument between Haskell and Baez over the definition of ‘trash’ versus ‘garbage’ caused a nervous chuckle to ripple through the court room. Haskell admitted that the phorid flies will eat almost any organic ‘garbage’, but they are not the same as fruit flies.

The rest of the day was spent with the entering of evidence into the record.

Jennifer Welch photographed the area where the remains were found.  Welch identified some photos taken at the scene of an investigator’s machete lying in the grass, some palmetto roots where a skull fragment had been found, and even a photo of the four inch fragment of skull itself.

Welch also identified a piece of duct tape found at the scene that was the same as the piece found with Caylee’s skull while on the witness stand, and pointed out some pieces of lettering from Caylee’s t-shirt that formed the words “packages” and “in.”

Court will resume Monday, June 13 at 9 a.m.