Casey Anthony’s defense team presented testimony this morning from the FBI’s forensic DNA expert who had examined evidence in the case. The testimony came as the defense takes center stage during day 20 of Anthony’s trial for the first-degree murder of her daughter, 2-year-old Caylee.
Heather Seubert, a certified expert in serology--the study of blood serum and other bodily fluids--testified she worked in the forensic DNA analysis unit at the FBI in Quantico, Va., in 2008. Seubert said she was assigned to the Anthony case and examined several key pieces of evidence.
Seubert reported she tested swabs taken from items in the trunk of Anthony’s car, including the spare tire cover and the trunk liner.
“All of those items were tested [for the presence of blood] and were negative,” the expert testified.
Anthony, 25, is accused of multiple charges, including capital murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and misleading law enforcement. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.
Caylee was last seen alive on June 16, 2008. Her disappearance was not reported until July 15, 2008, when Casey Anthony’s mother, Cindy Anthony, called 911.
“I found out my granddaughter has been taken, she has been missing. … I found my daughter’s car today, [and] it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car,” Cindy Anthony told the dispatcher.
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Questioned by police, Casey Anthony alleged her daughter had been abducted by her babysitter. Multiple searches were conducted, and in December 2008, Caylee’s remains were found near her family home.
During opening arguments, Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez, said his client had invented the story about the babysitter. He also said Caylee died on June 16, 2008.
“She never was missing. Caylee Anthony died on June 16, 2008, when she drowned in her family’s swimming pool,” Baez said.
Prosecutors dismissed the defense’s explanation and claimed Anthony killed her child by placing duct tape over her mouth. The remains were then kept in the trunk of Anthony’s car for a period of time before being transported to the wooded area where they were recovered, the prosecution alleges.
In addition to testifying about Anthony’s vehicle, Seubert said she also examined several items that were taken from Anthony’s closet, including clothing investigators believe she wore on June 16, the day Caylee was last seen alive. While several of the items had faint stains, all were negative for the presence of blood, she said.
Prior to Seubert’s testimony, Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez, had called Orange County Sheriff’s Department crime scene investigator Gerardo Bloise to the stand. Bloise had previously testified for the prosecution, stating that in his “personal opinion” Anthony’s car smelled of “human decomposition.”
On the stand today, Bloise testified about processing the clothing found in Anthony’s room and said that he sent the items to the FBI. He also testified about his examination of a car belonging to Anthony’s former boyfriend, Anthony Lazzaro. Bloise explained the process for checking the car for blood and body fluids, all of which were negative.
During cross examination, Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick asked Bloise if one of the items of clothing had been washed by Anthony’s mother, Cindy Anthony, prior to examination.
“Yes, she informed me she had washed that particular item,” he said.
In regard to Lazzaro’s vehicle, Burdick asked, “Did it smell like there had been a dead body in it?” Bloise replied, “No.WATCH: