When Arpad Vass opened a canister containing air from Casey Anthony’s car trunk, the forensic scientist recalls that he “jumped back a foot or two.”
“It was shocking that strong of an odor could be in that little can,” Vass testified Monday in the Orlando trial of the woman accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
The prosecution witness is a senior research scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, more commonly known as the “Body Farm,” dedicated to the grim study of human decomposition.
Researchers tested chemical compounds evaporated from a piece of carpet recovered from the trunk of Anthony’s Pontiac, where authorities suggest Anthony had stashed Caylee’s body after the childdisappeared in 2008.
Vass explained that he picked up the scent of chloroform, which comes with decomposition.
“The chloroform was shockingly high,” he says – higher than any levels he had seen in 20 years of experience.
The defense frequently objected during his testimony about the study of air samples, a novel area in the law. Until the Anthony trial, no court has admitted air sample tests in a criminal case, according to experts
BY AMY GREEN AND MIKE FLEEMAN