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Casey Anthony trial: Witness refutes duct tape as murder weapon

A top forensic pathologist said Saturday in the Casey Anthony trial that Caylee, 2, was already dead when duct tape was affixed to her face. Prosecutors say the tape was the murder weapon.

Dr. Werner Spitz, a forensic expert, testifies at the trial of Casey Anthony in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday.

Red Huber/Reuters

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A world-renowned forensic pathologist testified on Saturday at the Casey Anthony murder trial that duct tape found near the remains of Ms. Anthony’s 2-year-old daughter was not affixed to her face until after the child was already dead.

“I think the duct tape was a later event, not an early event,” Dr. Werner Spitz told the jury. He added that it was introduced “after decomposition.”

The testimony is significant because it is in direct opposition to the prosecution’s theory that Anthony killed her daughter, Caylee, by smothering her with pieces of duct tape pressed firmly over the toddler’s nose and mouth.

It also clashes with the findings of Orange County Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia, who ruled Caylee’s death a homicide and concluded that the duct tape had been affixed to her face before her death.

His testimony came on Day 22 of Anthony’s trial in an Orlando, Fla., courtroom. She is charged with first-degree murder and faces a death sentence if convicted.

Dr. Spitz has been involved in some of the country’s highest-profile death investigations, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Spitz said he concluded that the duct tape was applied after decomposition because investigators found no DNA evidence, such as pieces of skin, on what had been the sticky side of the tape. He said skin would be expected if the tape was pressed firmly onto a living person’s face.


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