Roots, Leaves and …Mistresses? Day 24 in the Casey Anthony Trial

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Joe Burbank / Reuters

George and Cindy Anthony sit in the courtroom before the start of the 13th day of their daughter Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida June 8, 2011.

The morning after Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. abruptly halted the Casey Anthony murder trial, the defense continued challenging forensic evidence in an effort to cast doubt on the prosecution’s theory of how Caylee Anthony died. But like many days in this trial, the testimony inside is technical and complex, while the speculation in the media (both mainstream and social) has taken the sensational path.

(MORE: How the Casey Anthony Trial Became the Social-Media Trial of the Century)

After hearing from a crime scene investigator about the area where Caylee’s body was found, the defense called Dr. Jane Bock, a forensic botanist to the stand. (For those of you keeping score at home, we’ve now heard from forensic pathologists, computer scientists, anthropologists, chemists, entomologists, and now a botanist. News flash: there are jobs out there in the field of Forensic _________ (Insert scientific field here).

Bock testified that the “pattern of leaf litter” where Caylee’s remains were found indicates that the shortest period of time the body was in the woods was two weeks. Bock’s testimony is intended to cast doubt on the prosecution’s time line, which places Caylee’s body at the location almost a month. In cross examination, prosecutors asked Bock if it was possible that the body had been there much longer, to which she agreed, then they got Bock to admit that her experience studying roots growing into bones was “extremely limited.”

(MORE: Why the Forensic Evidence May Not Be Enough to Convict Casey Anthony)

About the time Bock was taking the stand, local Orlando TV and newspaper websites began publishing details of an interview with Krystal Holloway (who for some reason is also known as River Cruz), a woman who claims to be the mistress of Casey’s father, George. As observers try to plot defense lawyer Jose Baez’s next move, there’s speculation that Holloway may take the stand.

In his opening statement on May 24, Baez offered up the theory that Caylee drowned in her grandparents’ pool and that George then disposed of the body. He has also insinuated that George and Casey’s brother, Lee, sexually abused Casey, catalyzing her pathological lying that has been presented to the jury. Many thought that Holloway would corroborate either the accidental death or the abuse, but so far she denies both, telling a local Orlando TV station that she doesn’t believe George abused Casey.

In addition to wondering what it would prove by putting Holloway on the stand, there’s the question of her own integrity. Holloway apparently told investigators she she did not have an affair with George Anthony, but she’s telling a much different story to the media. The jury is composed of 12 ordinary citizens who were selected with pretty wide parameters, but one would hope they could see through such a complete reversal in a witness’s story. We’ll have to wait to find out.

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