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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Is it Caylee?
Aired December 12, 2008 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, CNN ANCHOR: Bombshells tonight with grisly breaking news out of Florida. The skeletal remains of a young child found in a plastic bag near the home of missing toddler Caylee Anthony. Could this stunning discovery finally break the case wide open? We`ll have the latest details.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT: I have never spoken to the governor on this subject. No representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: As Obama blasts Blagojevich, the disgraced Illinois governor clings to his job with shameless determination. Wait until you hear about the extraordinary measures being taken to force him from office. And who else might fall with him? What do you think about this corruption scandal? We`ll have the latest details and we`ll take your calls on the shocking case.
These issues and more tonight.
Breaking news tonight. We bring you in-depth analysis of the bombshell developments.
Breaking news tonight in the Caylee Anthony case. Just released, the shocking 9/11 call from a Florida meter reader who found the skull of a young child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Orange County utility, the emergency dispatch. We found a human skull.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. We`ve got -- is it a meter reader?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to let you speak with the representative from our field services. Everything is recorded. Here he is. How are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A skull of what we believe is a human.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s the location?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s right off Suburban and Chickasaw in the Caylee Anthony area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, indeed. Bombshell developments at every turn from the courtroom to the crime scene, starting right now.
Breaking news tonight. More bombshells in the Caylee Anthony case. Investigators now confirm that items found last night at the Anthony home are linked to the crime scene. That scene, a wooded area just a quarter mile from the home of Caylee Anthony, her grandparents and her mother Casey. The gruesome discovery of the skeletal remains of a small child found in a plastic bag only yesterday. And another bombshell from Casey Anthony`s defense attorney in court today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA KENNEY-BADEN, CASEY ANTHONY DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Mr. Baez was called yesterday by the sheriff and correct me if I`m wrong and told that the anthropological measurements were correct on the child for her being Casey Anthony, that the hair color was correct and that they were proceeding as if this was Caylee -- little Caylee Anthony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: DNA results not in yet, but the judge just hours ago announced that Anthony could not have a defense team expert present during the autopsy. It remains that may very well be those of her young daughter.
With me now, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, author of "And Justice For Some" and professor at the New England School of Law. Lisa Bloom, fabulous host of "In Session." Dr. Ken Harshbarger, a forensic pathologist. Brian Russell, lawyer and forensic psychologist. And we`re also joined by CNN`s John Couwels.
John, you were in the courtroom today. What was the reaction to the stunning announcement by the defense of all people regarding the resemblance of the remains to Caylee? Was this tantamount to the defense saying hey, there`s been a tentative identification of this child?
JOHN COUWELS, CNN REPORTER: Yeah, it was very shocking, surprising, the fact it would have been the defense in the courthouse would say in open court that a conversation between Jose Baez and the sheriff`s office that the bones, the measurements, the age, the hair color were all similar to that of being Caylee Anthony.
And the fact that it would come from the defense and not from the prosecution and that they even said repeatedly that they could not even tentatively I.D. the remains in open court. And the judge even asked, can you give me an idea of when you could? And they said, no, we can`t. We won`t release anything until we have an absolute positive I.D. from the FBI, who is currently trying to match it by DNA evidence.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, you have watched very crafty attorneys work their magic over the years. Linda Kenney Baden is a famous attorney. Whenever she`s involved in a case, that means it`s a big case. Why do you think she was the one who dropped the bombshell today revealing that there are all these markers that line up with little Caylee, essentially saying the sheriff is proceeding as if this is little Caylee?
LISA BLOOM, HOST, IN SESSION: And you`re right. Linda Kenney Baden is a highly respected, outstanding defense attorney. She represented Phil Spector. I think she was brought into this case because she is a forensic expert. She really knows her stuff backwards and forwards.
The reason why she said that in court is because the defense wanted access to the autopsy. They wanted access to the testing because sometimes DNA testing destroys the tissue, destroys the subject matter of the testing. So it`s not fair for the prosecution to be able to test something if the defense can`t also test it. That`s why she`s making the identification in court saying, yes, we think tentatively this is Caylee Anthony so, please, let us have access to the remains in a scientific, respectable way so that we can do the testing as well.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now today, the lead sheriff for this investigation dropped this bombshell on ABC`s "Good Morning America." Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIF KEVIN BEARY, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: There are there certain things they want to be looking for. Some of those clues came from the crime scene yesterday and a lot of items were taken into our custody for review.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know you can`t go into detail, but there was something that was found that made you want to search the grandparents` home?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Wendy Murphy, investigators remove from the parents` home and the grandparents of little Caylee, four boxes of evidence, seven large paper bags. They also seized, and I find this fascinating, four vacuum cleaners and two pesticide tanks. What do you make of that?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well let me speak first to the vacuum cleaner issue because I think that`s the easiest to speculate about. We know that little Caylee`s body was found, despite having no flesh, with a piece of duct tape over the mouth. God bless duct tape.
Let`s send a thank you note to that company. Strong enough to stay in place six months under water. Unbelievable. But what`s beautiful about duct tape, fibers stick, DNA sticks. Stuff sticks.
And when you go and ask for vacuum cleaners, it`s because probably you found something either on the duct tape or in the black bag that was also found that is either fibrous or something that you would expect to find inside of a vacuum.
When you clean your house, all sorts of stuff goes inside of the vacuum and it`s impossible to get rid of. So taking those vacuum cleaners to a forensic lab now, they are going to do the really important forensic work of comparing scientifically and hopefully matching something found inside those vacuums with something either found in the bag, somehow attached to the body or hopefully on that duct tape.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s talk about the duct tape. Dr. Kent Harshbarger, you are a forensic pathologist. Everyone saying well there was duct tape on the skull. That means it could have been put on the child`s mouth. And that could be a sign of premeditation. But if there`s no skin left on the child, then that`s a big if. I have no independent confirmation of that.
Then, you know, what is fascinating to me is that everybody is making this assumption, Lisa Bloom, that somehow this duct tape remained exactly where whoever put it there put it, even though the skin has disappeared.
That`s not how it works. I mean, obviously if the skin`s deteriorated and the duct tape was put on the skin, then however the duct tape got to the skull means that something happened in the interim.
BLOOM: Well that`s right and we know the utility worker, unfortunately, kicked the bag. Of course, he didn`t realize what he was doing and then this discovery came upon him. What that means is that the crime scene was unfortunately altered to some extent innocently by the utility worker.
So the duct tape could have moved because as Wendy said, it was under water for six months. It may have lost some of its adhesive qualities.
But we also can be sure that law enforcement is looking inside the home for duct tape that would match the duct tape found in or on the body of this poor child whose remains were found. Duct tape can be matched by manufacturer`s lot. So you and I might have duct tape that looks identical. Maybe it`s black, maybe it`s gray. They look the same. But they can be scientifically determined as to whether they came from the same manufacturer at the same time to really ascertain if it`s the same roll of tape.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask this question of our forensic pathologist Dr. Kent Harshbarger. It seems that everybody -- of course, we`re all playing detective because we have to speculate. The authorities themselves aren`t saying that much. But what they are saying is crucial. They are saying that there was some clue at the crime scene that made them want to search the Anthony home. And then they are saying, once they got into the Anthony home, they found something that was absolutely of interest, and we saw them taking all this stuff out. We talked about the duct tape. We talked about the vacuum cleaner. What about the pesticides? How could that fit in?
DR. KENT HARSHBARGER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: The pesticide tanks for a chemical exposure. Maybe there was some chemical or receipt in the bag that was found about when something like that might have been purchased. So we don`t really know what else was in the bag that may have led them to search the crime scene for that pesticide tank. Chloroform residents were found in the trunk of the vehicle. Is that going to be related to the cause of death or not? Maybe that is contained within those tanks that are looking. Duct tape, more important, we`ve heard about the lots being matched. But actually the fracture pattern of where it`s ripped being matched would be crucial. To actually find not only a lot that matches but the exact roll of duct tape that matches. Fingerprints on that adhesive, what fibers that adhesive collected that the vacuum cleaner bags might have in them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to get back to whether essentially the defense was admitting that this is little Caylee, which is what everyone suspects. Here`s what Casey Anthony`s defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden said today about I.D.`ing the child`s body that has been found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEY BADEN: There`s always a tentative I.D. in any medical examiner`s office as to who they think the person is and then they do a confirmation with regular DNA. That`s been my experience. I`d be quite surprised if the medical examiner`s office is sitting out there and saying, this is somebody unknown and we`re devoting all this time and all this energy and all these press and all these objections because we don`t believe that this is the child.
(END VIDEO LCIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, essentially is she saying that they tentatively identified this child as little Caylee?
MITCHELL: Yeah, I mean, she sort of is. I think most people are of the opinion that it is Caylee because no other little girl that size has disappeared in that area. She had the same kind of hair. All the things you`d expect to match, except DNA, have basically matched.
Plus we know that some other physical evidence was found there that no one is really talking about, but that also is making people more confident to say indeed this is her. But the defense is not going to be held to having conceded the question, if that`s your issue. As a matter of law, now that they`ve made this argument for the purpose of trying to get access to the autopsy. It doesn`t mean that henceforth they`re not going to be able to challenge all of the scientific testing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me ask this question of John Couwels, who is our reporter on the scene. When is the DNA going to come back? We`ve heard everything from this weekend to two weeks. Nobody is saying anything definitive. What have you heard?
COUWELS: Well that`s what the judge had asked in court. He asked, can you tell us when you expect any results? And they said, no, judge, we really can`t. And he said, can you just sketch me a timeline, give me a frame, give me something? And the prosecution said, no, judge, we can`t. We have no idea how long exactly it is going to take.
And, I mean, even the defense outside of court when you were talking about the fact that, is this exactly Caylee or not. You know, Ms. Baden has said by all presumption, by everything that is showing, that it appears as though it is Caylee. And she had said in court, too with the fact that that was one of her concerns was that once they do, that`s why they want to be a part of the autopsy. They want to be part of the DNA testing. Right. Her line was she was afraid they would desecrate the remains and they`d have nothing left to test. And that was one of their main concerns.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well thank you so much, John. We`re covering so much ground. Stay right there, panel. We have a lot more to cover on this gruesome story, including the rush to identify the remains. DNA testing as we just heard, not finished yet, but there is already legal wrangling over the results. More bombshells to tell you about, coming up in a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEY BADEN: Remember that if this is the daughter of Casey Anthony, this is little Caylee Anthony, she is still the mother of this child and she is still presumed innocent and like any person, she would have the right to see remains, to view remains and to, hopefully, deal with the remains in a manner that would be appropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The remains of a child discovered near the Anthony home. And today comes news that police have discovered items of interest, key evidence inside the Anthony house. Defense attorneys for Caylee Anthony`s mother Casey say the measurements and the hair color of the remains, the skull, resemble those of little Caylee. I want your thoughts. And with me is my fantastic panel. Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, author of "And Justice For Some." Lisa Bloom, host of "In Session." Dr. Kent Harshbarger, a forensic pathologist. And Brian Russell, attorney and forensic psychologist.
Brian, as we all know, Cindy and George Anthony, the grandparents of little Caylee, have been very vocal in defending their daughter Casey, the mom, accused of killing her child -- this child that may have now been found. If evidence is found in the Anthony home, the home of the grandparents, could that get them into hot water? Could they end up facing charges?
BRIAN RUSSELL, ATTORNEY: Well, sure. It would depend on whether or not there is evidence that they concealed anything or that they tried to dispose of anything. I think they`ve been outwardly defensive of her throughout this whole thing. But some of the videotapes that I`ve seen and that you`ve probably seen as well of them talking with her in jail suggest to me that they, too, have developed suspicion over time that she knew more than she was saying.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know, Wendy Murphy. They always seem in complete denial to me and they just went to California to look at a sighting and then they rushed home from California when the remains were discovered. And so their whole game plan up till now has been she`s still alive. She`s out there and that was apparently going to be the defense argument during the trial.
MURPHY: And if anything, that defense has gotten stronger. I don`t know how they feel personally, but at least their spin has gotten stronger with the nonsense about the Caylee sightings here and the Caylee sightings there and when are we going to get our team together and help us find Caylee? Posters, all that nonsense all over the place.
The problem I have is that sort of spin, that nonsense poisons the jury pool. It is strategic. It`s designed to be a dog and pony show, distract us from focusing on the growing evidence against Casey. And I just -- I find that just distasteful. If you want to support your daughter, fine. Just shut up.
The beauty of this discovery, as sad as it is, is that those two will now stay off the airwaves, asking us to go hunt for Caylee because there`s been yet another sighting somewhere in the country. And I`m glad that part of this case is over.
MITCHELL: That`s going to go away now. And I think as a psychologist, I don`t just look at the defendants in these things. I look at everybody. We were talking in the first segment about how -- is this going to be confirmed to be Caylee here pretty soon? I think one of the ways we can believe and know that it is that nobody involved in the whole thing is cautioning us in the media that, hey, maybe this isn`t her. And all throughout this thing, every time the bounty hunter found a necklace or something out in the forest or whatever, we got a lot of cautionary statements from people saying, hey, you guys better be careful. This might be nothing. We`re not getting that here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.
BLOOM: Jane, can I jump in about George and Cindy Anthony. Because with all due respect, I really disagree with telling them to shut up. You know, they`re not criminals. They`re not suspects. What they have done is try to support their daughter during a time that`s clearly very difficult for them. Many parents will support a child who is accused of a crime, even a crime like murder. You know, there`s no evidence that they are an accessory to the crime in any way.
And if they delusionally believe their granddaughter was still alive until yesterday when the remains were found, can we really put ourselves in their shoes and second guess them and criticize them? I think many of us probably would have reacted the same way, holding out hope after hope, even hope against hope that your grandchild was still alive.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you, Lisa, to a certain degree. They have been put through hell. We just saw video of protests outside their own home where they were literally harangued by strangers who formed some group on the Internet and then went over there and started harassing them. And it`s a crazy, wild scene.
So I have a lot of compassion for them. But I will also say that, and maybe we can bring in Brian Russell, who is a forensic psychologist, that they were in denial and the extent of their denial throughout all of this, where they start saying the smell on the car is a pizza.
To me, it almost indicates where Casey got her ability to lie. If a family structure does not have respect for the truth, this is something that becomes part of the family dynamic. Truth becomes a dead issue and people just say whatever works.
RUSSELL: We`ve seen a lot of similarities throughout this whole thing between the mother and daughter, the grandmother and Casey. Also, those Jerry Springer scenes on their front lawn, that was insane. Those people gathering on the front lawn to protest.
But it was also insane how the parents came out and confronted those people. So, yeah, I`ve seen signs and symptoms throughout this whole thing that there were issues in that household. I think that, probably, Casey, her entire life, has been manipulative and lying her way out of things.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yeah, and you know, we have just scratched the surface here. So many other developments to tell you about. Panel, hang tight. Don`t forget, coming right up after this program at 8:00 p.m., I`ll be filling in for Nancy Grace. I`ll have all the latest breaking developments in the Caylee Anthony case. Things are happening and changing minute by minute. Please make sure you stick around. And in just minutes, I`ll have much more on all of this. We`re going to examine all the things that happened in court today and have the shocking discovery and how it will affect the case against the mom, Casey Anthony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of this area, we confirmed this with the county, was totally under water when we started doing all of this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you guys at no point ever searched this area?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were all over this area several times, but the bottom line is, it was probably under water and that`s really all we can say right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And when the water receded, they found a skull. Meantime, today, a judge denied Casey Anthony`s defense team access to the autopsy. Here`s what defense attorney Jose Baez said in response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We have qualified people, the best in the business reviewing this evidence. So we will be able to actually verify it independently. And that`s all we`re asking for, nothing more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re back. Joining this discussion on the stunning developments in the Caylee Anthony case. And I`ve got to say that Lisa Bloom, I am seeing a new trial of the century come into formation. As soon as I saw Linda Kenney Baden who is very famous in her own right, as you mentioned, the Phil Spector trial and her husband Michael Baden is the pathologist who was involved in the O.J. Simpson case, John Belushi`s death, Phil Spector as well.
Now we have Dr. Henry Lee and we have our good friend, Lawrence Kobilinsky. But I`m seeing what I called the dream team. And as soon as I see that, I think we both know what that means.
BLOOM: Well, it means that she`s got a good defense team and she needs a good defense team. And Linda Kenney Baden also represented basketball player Jayson Williams and got most of the charges against him, got him acquitted on most of the charges. So she`s done a good job in this case.
Look, there`s no question that Casey Anthony needs a good defense team. We want to be sure we get the right person. We want be sure her constitutional rights are protected. I`m disappointed by today`s ruling. I would like to see the defense have the same access that the prosecution has. We don`t want to rush to judgment here. We don`t want to railroad this young woman. If indeed, she is the killer, we want to get it right. And I think today, frankly, we`re off to a bad start.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well I think what I see every time I hear dream team, another phrase comes to mind, Dr. Kent Harshbarger. And that is garbage in, garbage out. And anytime I hear the defense team being very, very intent on getting to the remains, I know that they have to do that for a legitimate defense. But there`s also the specter of trying to challenge every single thing that the authorities come up with. And that is so easy, isn`t it, when the evidence has been under water, since this summer?
HARSHBARGER: Well clearly, there`s degradation of the evidence that occurred. But the policies and procedures that are in place in most statewide crime labs and the medical examiner`s office allow for later review by the defense team.
I think it`s not valid to claim that because the defense wasn`t given access, when they really don`t have rights. The reality is the remains aren`t I.D.`ed. They aren`t Caylee yet. They aren`t the remains of this particular toddler until they are scientifically I.D.`ed, and they don`t have a right to access yet. And the policies and procedures in place in most labs will protect that evidence for later review.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Wendy Murphy, give us a sense of what`s going to happen in terms of this trial now. There`s talk of a change of venue. The trial has been pushed back. They are going to meet to decide. Maybe it`s not even going to happen until March or now with this later.
MURPHY: I`d be surprised if we saw a trial in `09. You know, it`s funny. When there was no body, the defense was rushing to get to the trial, just like in the David Westerfield case with little Danielle van Dam when there was no body. Boy, they couldn`t get a fast enough trial, right? Until oops, now that we have a body, we`re going to do the slow crawl to trial.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Panel, stay right there. So many other new developments to tell you about in just a second.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Bombshell developments in the Caylee Anthony today. Here`s where things stands, investigators confirm items found last night at the Anthony home are linked to the crime scene. That scene, a wooded area just a quarter mile from the Anthony home where the gruesome discovery of skeletal remains of a small child found in a plastic bag were made.
Another bombshell from Casey Anthony`s defense attorneys in court today revealing that measurements and hair color of the skull match that of Caylee Anthony.
With me now, Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor, author of "And Justice for Some" and professor at New England Law Boston. Lisa Bloom, host of "In Session." Dr. Kent Harshbarger, a forensic pathologist and Bryon Russell, attorney and forensic psychologist.
Lisa Bloom, I want to get a sense of what this trial is going to look like assuming, and it is a big assumption, that this, in fact, is little Caylee. Casey Anthony, the accused, always has a way of adjusting her story to new developments.
So how is she going to explain this now? Is she going to try to pin this also on Zanny the nanny, a person that the police think does not exist?
LISA BLOOM, "IN SESSION" HOST: Great question Jane. First of all, I want to point out there`s a big difference between the attorneys and Casey Anthony. And yesterday morning, before these remains were discovered, they asked for a continuance of the trial date. And that was granted.
So they are not just asking for more time because of this. And secondly, let me say that Casey Anthony is clearly a piece of work. She has lied to the police over and over again sent them all off on false trails.
It`s all going to come down to the forensics now. It`s really not going to matter so much what she said. She`s lied over and over again. We know that. That`s very bad for her at trial. That`s why she`s clearly not going to take the stand.
But time of death is going to be critical. If this poor child was killed at a time, for example, when Casey was incarcerated, that would tend to exonerate her, unless this was a conspiracy type of crime.
Manner of death. Is it consistent with the prosecution is claiming or will claim at trial? Was it chloroform or something else that they can link to Casey?
So manner of death and time of death are going to be important for the defense.
Stay tuned for a very -- a finely tuned scientific forensic defense in this case masterminded by Lindy Kenney-Baden (ph).
BRYON RUSSELL, ATTORNEY AND FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: And Dr. Kent Harshbarger, this is Bryon Russell and I just had a question for you real quick. How likely do you think it is that we`ll be able to tell from cellular evidence found on the duct tape maybe or to other tissue evidence whether that duct tape was applied to the child while the child was still alive or after?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Kent?
DR. KENT HARSHBARGER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: It will be nearly impossible to get that specific answer. There are no -- once the decomposition has -- there`s probably no way even in a fresh case but in this case, it will be near impossible to know whether -- even if applied around the mouth, you can say breathing and maybe the cellular transfer from the saliva being found but that could happen postmortem.
So in fact we`ll never know whether the tape was applied before an attempt to dispose of the body or as a potential cause of death. Which the third thing is going to be of importance is actually the cause of death. What did cause the child -- accident is still a potential.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about the fact that the head appears to be disconnected from the rest of the body? They found a skull. What does that tell you, doctor?
HARSHBARGER: Just the time interval of her death can be long. So in other words all those soft tissues that connect the spine to the skull have dissolved or are decomposed away such that the ligament support no longer supports the skull.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Wendy Murphy, there was a search on Casey Anthony`s computer for neck-breaking.
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, exactly. And we don`t know the precise date when these computer searches were done, how it correlates with the ever-evolving timeline. We don`t exactly know when she disappeared. There`s been so much misinformation about that -- lies I should say -- out of the Anthony family home.
One thing I want to go back to Jane, we talked about pesticides earlier. I used to be a counsel to the chief medical examiner`s office here in Massachusetts. Pesticides are commonly used when the homicide is, you know, not necessarily intentional, but you are trying to get rid of the body.
It speeds up decomposition and covers up odor; covers up odor. Think about that. Summer, hot; they`ve got to cover up the odor. Try to get the body to decompose quickly so it won`t be discovered. Perhaps that`s why they were looking for pesticides.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So if they could take -- and we saw them take the pesticide containers out of the Anthony home and they can match up --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- those pesticides with the smell or the pesticide at the crime scene where the skull was found in the plastic bag.
Is this becoming an open and shut case, Lisa Bloom? I mean when you consider all the other evidence, the cadaver dogs hitting on the trunk of the car that Casey Anthony drove, the fact that a hair strand also in the trunk of the car appeared to match little Caylee.
The fact that chloroform was found in the trunk and that she actually went or somebody on her computer went online and researched chloroform. I mean, you`ve got a wealth of evidence here.
BLOOM: Well, I would never say any case is open and shut. It`s clearly a very strong case against Casey. It was before the body was found. Now that there is a body, and if it is the body of little Caylee, then another element of murder, namely that a child was killed or person was killed, is established.
But let`s keep in mind that intent has to be established; that this was a premeditated killing. Not just a regular killing. Not just an accidental killing or a mistake, but a premeditated killing. And yes there is some evidence of that; the searches on the computer.
Perhaps the pesticide search is because this child was poisoned. And we just don`t know. There may be a mental defect defense. There may be an insanity defense in this case. This is clearly a very troubled young woman. So I would never say this is open and shut. The trial has not even begun yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re right, I will never say open and shut because I`ve covered the Michael Jackson case, --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Robert Blake case, the Phil Spector case, all of which appeared to be open and shut cases. But we all know what happened with all those cases. But I think you raise a fascinating point, Lisa. And that is the possibility of the insanity defense.
What do you think, Bryon Russell, as a psychologist? Do you think that she might given all the kooky behavior, that we`ve got captured on tape, the dancing after her child went missing, she`s caught out there partying on camera.
RUSSELL: Well, we have to keep in mind that the insanity defense is an affirmative defense. And say well, I did it but at the time, I wasn`t playing with a full deck. And that`s a hard argument to make when lots of things, obviously, happened surrounding this child`s death that were planned and purposeful. You know, either in causing the death or at least immediately thereafter.
And when you see lots of planned, purposeful activity around the death, it`s tough to argue that your mind wasn`t working well enough to know right from wrong or to know the actions were criminal.
Interestingly, there have been some signs throughout this whole thing that we`re dealing with a psychopath or a sociopath. Which actually cuts against an insanity defense, and you`ve studied these people. You wrote a book about it. "Secrets Can be Murder." But there are also signs that don`t -- that are not consistent with a stone-cold psychopath or sociopath.
For example, those are good liars. Look at O.J. Simpson. I think he`s a sociopath. But she is a horrible liar. So it`s -- she`s a very interesting case. I`d love to get a crack at her in person, but we`re all kind of speculating here at a distance.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, of course, it`s, what, Lisa Bloom, the knowing the difference between right and wrong.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: When you are insane. You don`t know the difference between right and wrong. And frankly, watching her behavior, I think you could make a good argument that she doesn`t know the difference between right and wrong. I mean the pathological lying, the leading investigators to a place she claimed she work and then finally admitting when they had her in a corner, no, I don`t work here.
BLOOM: Yes, taking the investigator on false trails at a time when perhaps they could have still found Caylee. And that`s just extraordinary evil conduct. Not just right from wrong though. It`s also the ability to conform her conduct to the law.
And look, an insanity defense is always a long shot.
BLOOM: And I`ll tell you, Florida is a law and order state. So these are difficult arguments. It may just get her down from first-degree murder to reckless homicide, a lower charge, something slightly below first degree murder.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead Wendy.
MURPHY: The jury would have to feel some sympathy to buy into it, like with Andrea Yates. There was some sympathy for her. I don`t think there`s any sympathy for Casey, given her behavior after the fact.
But you know what else is interesting psychologically. I took a look at some old notes. In July, Casey Anthony had a recorded conversation with her brother where she said, and we all will remember this now, "I think Caylee is close to home."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well listen to this. I`ve got it right here. I want to take you back to July when she had that conversation with her brother. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LEE ANTHONY, BROTHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: Do you think Caylee is ok right now?
CASEY ANTHONY, MOTHER OF CAYLEE ANTHONY: My gut feeling? As mom asked me yesterday, and they asked me last night and the psychologist asked me this morning that I met with through the court. In my gut, she is still ok and it still feels like she`s close to home.
L. ANTHONY: Ok.
C. ANTHONY: So, I mean, that is still my best feeling at the moment.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy, you`ve covered so many of these cases. Often -- and again, she hasn`t been convicted, she deserves the presumption of innocence -- but often criminals weave the truth into their lies.
MURPHY: Yes. And there`s the tell-tale heart possibility. You know, I think there`s a lot that she said that now that we found the body, we`re going to have to go back and re-examine and say, well, look at there. She was saying something else.
I think she may have a lot of psychological problems. But she definitely knows the difference between right and wrong. She covered up. When you cover stuff up it`s because you are afraid of the consequences, of people finding out the truth. That`s enough; she`s not going to have an insanity plea in this case because it`s going nowhere.
VELEZ-MICHELL: Well, you know --
RUSSELL: She probably has a lot wrong with her psychologically. And they`ll have an expert the defense will to come in and say she`s this or she`s that. But that does not at all mean that she is insane at the time she committed the crime for the purposes of, you know, not guilty by reason of insanity defense.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Bryon, you mentioned my book "Secrets can be Murder." and the whole premise of that book is that toxic secrets can lead to murder. And these toxic secrets are often part of a family pattern. And when there is no respect for the truth and honesty in a situation, it is handed down generation to generation. And people back themselves up into a corner where they have no alternative in their sick minds other than to kill.
My panel sticking with me. Don`t forget, you should stick around for "Nancy Grace" immediately following this program. I`ll be filling in for Nancy and I will have all the latest breaking developments; they`re changing by minute.
Stay with us we have more to come in a moment.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: 911, what`s your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I called a little bit ago, the deputy sheriff I found out my granddaughter has been taken. She has been missing for a month. Her mother finally admitted that she`s been missing. Get someone here now.
911 OPERATOR: Your daughter admitted that the baby is where?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That the baby-sitter took her a month ago that my daughter has been looking for her. There`s something wrong. I found my daughter`s car today and it smells like there`s been a dead body in the car.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The chilling call from Caylee Anthony`s grandmother, Cindy, reporting the little girl missing for the first time a month after she disappeared.
I`m back with my panel.
Lisa Bloom, you said it was all going to boil down to forensics. But for me, some of the most compelling evidence is this circumstantial evidence that the fact that this woman, Casey Anthony, did not report her child missing for an entire month. Finally admitted it to the mother, but only when they found her car and it smelled like death. And that`s when grandma called 911.
BLOOM: Yes, that`s devastating to her case as well. And that`s why this case has gotten so much media attention because her story is preposterous and it has been from the beginning. It`s impossible to understand how her daughter has been missing for a month and she didn`t report her. Even if she felt she was in some personal danger herself, what mother wouldn`t put her own child`s safety ahead of her own safety.
And all of the crazy stories she told about where her employer was and who the boyfriend was and they all turned out to be lies. So that is damaging, damaging information against Casey Anthony. No question about it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Wendy Murphy, we actually have some video which we`ll bring you in a second of little Caylee Anthony with her great grandpa the day before she was last seen.
There she is. Look at that angelic little child.
Now here`s the thing. This occurred after -- you see right there. This occurred -- actually, that is June 15th is that video. This occurred after Casey claimed that she dropped the baby off with this Zenaida Gonzalez on June 9th. And she said she left her at this apartment complex called the Sawgrass Apartment at a certain apartment that turns out to have been vacant for more than a month.
They stuck with that story until the video you just saw came up. And when authorities found that video and said, wait a second, it was June 15th that you went on Father`s day to visit the great grandpa. Everybody in the family said, oh, wait a second. Yes, we got mixed up. Actually, it was -- and then the story changed.
And then ultimately, Casey ended up saying that Zenaida Gonzalez, Zanny the nanny took the child from a park. Grabbed her and took off and handed her a script and said read this; that according to the bounty hunter.
RUSSELL: And all that concoction of stories and stuff like that. That`s psychopathic stuff that cuts against an insanity defense. A psychopath or a sociopath is somebody who does something wrong and knows they are doing them.
So I expected -- as a psychologist and an attorney, I expected more of something along the lines of she didn`t intend the death but the death happened. Maybe she intended to sedate the kid and then -- so rather than being guilty of murder, she`s guilty of a negligent homicide maybe rather than first-degree murder and a cover-up afterwards. I`m thinking that`s what happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, do you see that or do you see what this high-powered defense team that they`re going to go for broke and try to get her off completely. Because again, as we`ve learned, there`s no such thing as an open and shut case in America anymore.
MURPHY: I think what they are going to do, at least at this point, until more information comes out and there`s a lot we don`t know yet. The police haven`t revealed everything. And that`s a good thing.
You know, look. They`re going to say the state hasn`t met its burden because, among other things why would she kill the child. If the prosecution says she didn`t like here and she was cranky and wanted to have her free-spirited ways. It`s hard for a jury to get their head around the idea that you would kill your own child, toss her into a snake-filled swamp after she`s dead just because you wanted to go out and party with your friends.
I don`t know. I think there`s more to the story, Jane. I think that apartment; there`s more to the story about that apartment. It was vacant. Casey tells police that that`s the apartment where she used to bring the kid and she just happened to be a good guesser, that that would be an apartment that would just be vacant.
Were people there before? What were they doing in that apartment? Where was she from the 9th to the 15th?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now you`re starting to sound like a defense attorney.
MURPHY: No, what I`m saying is there`s more to the story and both sides have to deal with whatever that more to the story is.
BLOOM: Jane, you know what`s sad? When you see that video of little Caylee with her great grandfather and you think about two-year-olds, my children when they were that age or two-year-olds that you might know. Most 2-year-olds are not going to be real comfortable sitting in the lap of somebody like that.
She`s very, very comfortable with her great grandfather. She clearly loves him. She snuggles in, almost goes to sleep at one point. This was a family that had options for Casey. If she didn`t want this child, she could have let her parents raise the child. There were other family members that the child felt comfortable with.
What is so sad is that if she did this, she felt this is what she had to do to have her free-spirited life, and she didn`t have to do it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But the fact is, she did not want this child. According to the court documents, a friend of hers said, I`m not able to have a child -- back when Casey was still pregnant with this girl, and said, I would be willing to take the child. Apparently Casey went to her mother, asked permission, the mother said no, you have to keep the child and you have to keep it -- you cannot give it away, give it up for adoption.
That`s the tragedy, and the morality tale of this entire Shakespearean drama, is that when you try to control your children to that extent, it can really, really, really bite you.
But I think you`ve raised so many important questions. Wendy Murphy, I was wondering whether prosecutors could actually try to offer her a deal.
Look, this is going to be a nightmarish trial, one of these trial of the century kinds of things, where there is a mini city set up for the media, and then they`re going to do a change of venue, they`re going to try, anyway, and everybody is going to have to commute long distances. Don`t you think that they might be thinking in the back of their heads, now we can approach her and say, look, tell us what happened, and what can they give her in return though? They have already taken the death penalty off the table.
MURPHY: What`s weird about this case is there is no victim waiting desperately to hear the truth, because the victim is the -- you know, is the child of the suspect, so there is no suffering family wondering what the truth is. They all know. They`re just not telling.
So -- and I don`t like giving up deals to save money. This isn`t a swap meet. You have a trial, because justice should be done for that child, whether or not her mother is the killer. You`ve got to do the right thing by the kid. And the whole world is watching to see whether we`re going to be fair and that means honoring this child`s life, not giving out discount sentences just because we finally found the body and we need to save money.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next, we`re going to talk about whether they could take the offer to remove the death penalty off the table and bring it back.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we`ve -- This is (inaudible) utility and emergency dispatch. We`ve found a human skull.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. We`ve got -- is it a -- I`m going to let you speak with a representative from our field services. Everything is recorded. Here he is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing? The skull of a -- we believe it`s human.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s the location?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s right off of Suburban and Chickasaw in the Caylee Anthony area, right by the --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Oh." That says it all.
Fascinating as a meter reader, who -- let`s face it -- nature called, he had to go relieve himself, and he went off the road and he went back there, and actually found that bag, picked it up, and there was a skull in it.
Lisa Bloom, your response to that caught on tape.
BLOOM: Yes, did he say it`s in the Anthony area? Is that what I hear him saying? So it sounds like right off the bat, this stranger, this man who has nothing to do with this crime, this incident or this family, understands the implications of what he has found. He says it`s a human skull and you hear the dispatcher say, oh! And these are people who are trained to get these calls day in and day out.
Everybody immediately understands the implications that perhaps this is Caylee Anthony, the little girl, the entire community has been looking for. This is something I can see the defense using, by the way, in support of a change of venue motion, because everybody in that community is just saturated with this crime.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Wendy Murphy, given that this has gotten global coverage, and everybody in the country, you just say the word "Caylee," they know exactly what you`re talking about, how does a change a venue work when we live in a global village?
MURPHY: It`s not going to work. I had a party at my house -- all these profession women -- that`s all they wanted to talk about. I`m telling you, you can`t go anywhere. That`s one of the reasons the venue motion will be denied.
But remember, we`re talking about a spot that was a three-minute walk from Cindy and George`s home, okay? The grandparents of this little girl; three minutes from their home. Pesticides taken from their house, because it was forensically related to whatever they found at the scene where the body was located.
I hope the police put the squeeze on Cindy and George. And I`m not saying they have anything to do with the death, but there is funky about a woman who says, "I smelled death in that car," and two weeks later says, whoops, I made a mistake, that was pizza. I wish this was smell-o-vision instead of television. You know why? If we could get the audience to understand what the smell of death is, you would never, ever mistake it for pizza at any stage.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to give you the last word, Wendy, and you said it best. It`s not pizza.
My panel is fantastic: Wendy, Lisa, Kent, Brian. Thank you so much for your insights.
Up next, I`m going to be filling in for Nancy Grace with the very latest on the continuing investigation in Florida. Bombshell, shocking tapes; please, stick around for more.