Botanist testifies for Casey Anthony defense on Caylee’s skull, root growth
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On June 21, 2011, forensic botanist, Dr. Jane Bock, testified in the Casey Anthony trial about plants, vegetation and root growth present at the crime scene where Caylee Anthony’s remains, including her skull was found. Casey Anthony is currently on trial for the first degree, premeditated murder of Caylee Anthony, 2, somewhere near June 16, 2008. The prosecution believes that Casey Anthony, after murdering Caylee, placed her body in an area familiar to her: a wooded area where she used to bury her pets as a child. The area is approximately 15 houses away from the home where Casey Anthony grew up and lived with her daughter Caylee.
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The root growth and vegetation is important for determining how long Caylee Anthony’s remains were present at the crime scene. The state brought several witnesses that testified Caylee Anthony’s remains were in the area where they were discovered on December 11, 2008 for at least six months. Dr. Jane Brock, witness for the defense, stated she believed the remains were in the area for approximately two months.
Warning! Graphic Images: Caylee Anthony crime scene, remains photos
When asked under cross examination by Jeff Ashton why one of Caylee Anthony’s bones had been partially buried to a depth of four inches, Dr. Jane Bock replied that an animal (such as a dog or coyote), may have buried it. When asked to address the presence of roots and other vegetations growing through blankets, clothing and Caylee Anthony’s skull (the eye sockets had root growth); she answered that it was possible for that type of root growth to occur within two weeks.
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HLN host, Jane Velez-Mitchell spoke about Dr. Bock’s claims regarding the rampant growth of roots to Aphrodite Jones, host of the show “True Crime” on Investigation Discovery, as well as Aphrodite’s first hand view of the jury when the claims were made.
Jane Velez stated to Ahrodite Jones on her show “Issues with Jane Velez-Mithchell” on June 21, 2011, “And I`ve got to say, Aphrodite, you and I were sitting next to each other in court. Now, one thing that I want to say is that, what I was watching, up until I got to the courtroom, I thought, oh, these jurors don`t have the whole story, right? They don`t have all the salacious details that we know about.
But the fact is that they got something that we don`t have, and that is they are looking at the video and the photos that are incredibly graphic. You and I were sitting there. They showed little Caylee`s skull, and it was so sad. And the prosecution in the cross-examination very cleverly kept it up for a good, what, 10, 15 minutes?”
Aphrodite Jones agreed, “Fifteen minutes, I would say, Jane.”
Jane Velez continued, “Fifteen minutes. And we`re sitting there watching it. And this woman is saying, ‘Well, those roots that were going through the skull,’ and you imagine a skull and there are roots growing through it, out the eye sockets and around the head, at least a half a dozen of these roots growing through the skull, and she`s saying these roots could have grown in two weeks. Your common sense tells you, on what planet could that happen, right?”
Aphrodite Jones continued, “That`s the thing. This woman, who is the plant expert, to actually sit there and try to finesse her way into telling a jury that “I`m an expert and I know that leaves fell, that leaves fell, and it was leaf litter that created my position to say this skull was only there for two weeks. Somebody placed it there.”
Continuing she stated, “When you see roots growing, when you see that it`s embedded into the earth — and we`ve seen testimony and other witnesses testify about how long it took them to collect that skull, and all of Caylee`s little remains out of that…”
Jane Velez-Mitchell concluded, “It was kind of insulting your intelligence, to say that many roots could grow in a skull in that short a period of time.”
You may see Dr. Jane Bock’s full testimony in the video player to the left. Click on the link above to watch live coverage of the Casey Anthony trial when court is in session.