Defense calls first witnesses to stand

By Bryan Levine
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The defense began its case on Thursday, three years to the day since Caylee Anthony was last seen alive. After 19 days of testimony directed by the prosecution in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, defense attorney Jose Baez called his first witnesses to the stand.

A total of seven witnesses testified Thursday, some of them repeat visitors to the stand, but none for nearly as long as Heather Seubert.

Seubert was a forensic DNA examiner with the FBI in 2008, when she was assigned this case. She tested the stain on the spare tire cover and trunk lining of Anthony’s Pontiac Sunfire for traces of blood. The “yellowish-brown” stain, as described by Seubert, did not contain blood.

Along with car parts, Seubert tested clothing of Anthony’s that she received from Gerardo Bloise of the Orlando County Sheriffs Office. Bloise, who testified earlier in the day, works with in the crime scene investigators unit.

Bloise said he investigated the Anthony’s home with an emphasis on Casey’s room. He took some of her clothes to test them for blood stains, but no such stains were found.

Seubert also took part in testing duct tape found at the scene where Caylee Anthony’s skull was discovered on December 11, 2008. The duct tape, which was attatched to the hair mat under the skull, is what the state claims as the murder weapon. Having been exposed to the elements for several months, neither Casey nor Caylee Anthony’s DNA were found on the tape.

“It is probable that if there were cells on there, the cells would degrade over time,” said Seubert. She also says DNA would be expected to be on the sticky side of the tape had it been on her mouth.

The conversation took a slight turn at one point in Seubert’s testimony when Baez asked her a question about the father of Caylee and the possibility of it being Lee Anthony, Casey’s brother. After much objection to the question, it was revealed that it is rare for the FBI to do paternity tests, however, Seubert did perform the test and found that Lee was not Caylee’s father.

In the late afternoon, two consecutive witnesses were not cross examined by the state. When crime scene investigator Jennifer Welch took the stand for the fourth time this trial, Prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick asked, “Would it be fair to classify the area where Caylee Anthony’s remains were found as a trash dump?”
Welch affirmed, and described many pictures of trash sifted from the crime scene by the OCSO.

Testimony will continue Friday at nine in the morning. The defense will likely bring in character witnesses, and it is expected that members of the Anthony family will testify by the end of the week.