Monday, June 27, 2011

Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, Professor Bio-Chemistry, Florida International University

Dr Kenneth Furton, Expert, Forensics
He is a forensic chemist.  Dr. Kenneth Furton. Chem/bio-chem professor at FIU.His research is studying the chemicals given off on live and deceased humans. He has authored articles on decomposition. Furton is going over education/training. He is a forensic chemist.

Dr. Kenneth G. Furton is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dean of Arts & Sciences and was the founding Director and currently Director Emeritus of the International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University (FIU).
He received a B.S. in Forensic Science (minor in Chemistry) at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida in 1983 and completed an internship in the Detroit Police Headquarters Crime Laboratory in Detroit, Michigan. He received a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry (minor in Biology) at Wayne State University in 1986.
He then completed post-doctoral studies in Nuclear Chemistry (Physical/Inorganic studies) at British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) and the University of Wales, Swansea, U.K. in 1988 while also teaching Forensic Analysis for second and final year honors students.
Since becoming a faculty member at FIU in 1988 he has directed the research of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students, is the author or co-author of more than 500 publications and presentations and has received over $4 million in external support for his independent research program and collaborative projects.
Professor Furton’s research program has focused on forensic science and separation science including the development of novel sample preparation methods prior to chromatographic analysis. Much of his recent work has focused on studying the chemical basis of detector dog alerts to forensic specimens including accelerants, biotoxins, currency, drugs, explosives and humans (dead and alive).
Professor Furton has testified numerous times as an expert witness in local and federal courts in areas including drug analysis and the use of canines as chemical detectors.

Furton has testified as forensic chemist (expert) more than a dozen times.He is entered as an expert witness in foresnsic chemistry but AShton refutes him being entered as an expert in human decomposition. 

Ashton now questioning Furton about his qualifications re: human decomposition. His current studies are on chemicals given off on "training aids" given to dogs.  He does not have expertise in stages of decomposition except for voliaties given off. 
KF received all the records in investigation, autopsy reports, pictures of trunk and expert witness reports. He was asked to review the documents for Oak Ridge Labs.(Dr Vass ) and Dr. Sigmonds report. 

He has an opinion on whether you can or cannot tell human decomposition from chemicals given off. There are no instruments that can positively determine human decompositon.He has a PowerPoint presentation. 
Ashton wants a copy.  It is shown to jury. 
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He is talking about the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer and a chromatograph.He is going through the methodology of testing. Furton resumes explaining how GCMS works, says it gives you a gas "fingerprint." Gives only relative abundances

The peaks are indicative of chemicals present, on the chromatogram..Baez: You don't know how much of a specific chemical is there? Furton: That's correct.
KF is testifying to chemical living persons give off of body. It is very technical. Different people different chemicals, unique pattern.
Furton discussing chems found in the living. Baez: "Let me stop you there, because you're starting to lose me."
Furton is showing a bar graph of different colors. Each color is a chemical. They are from men/women & alive/dead.  Furton compares the chem compounds found in different individuals to human "barcodes." Now comparing living "barcodes" to dead. Dead are more similar to each other than living, Furton says.Furton says they've tested decomposing animals: cows, chicken, fish, etc. "Quite a bit of overlap" in animal & human remains. 
Dr. Furton has a larger table. (display).  Very technical on the breakdown of chemicals. Many jurors are reportedly yawning.
Furton is describing the most common chemicals found in the human samples, Furton is referring to a table showing eight studies on human decomposiiton.  Furton is showing jurors a summary of compounds presented by researchers studying human decomposition. Furton is showing a bar graph of different colors. Each color is a chemical. They are from men/women & alive/dead.Juror now looking at photo of trunk contents.   Furton: Fatty acids found on paper towels found in milk products. "They're the same compounds that are found" in human fat. 
Now we're on chloroform. Furton: No quantitative analysis performed by Oak Ridge. 
 Quantitative analysis: "That's the only way to know" the concentration of a substance,  Furton says     Chloroform is found everywhere in low quantities. Ashton abruptly objected. Whispered something to Baez and then a sidebar called. Sidebar.  Ashotlooks angry at sidebar. He is using alot of hand gestures.During this sidebar Ann Finnell joins Baez. Mason stays in his seat. Sims also just walked up.
Sidebar again. KF is testifying to chloroform eing found in household chemicals. 
Jury is recessed until 130p <Orlando time
Ashton wants to discuss the experts ability to testify on hearsay. Cites law. Will discuss after lunch.

Attorneys, judge discuss Furton's testimony re: chloroform. Prosecutors want to proffer. Baez says, " We're not interested in trying our case for the prosecution. judge doesn't think a proffer is necessary but doesn't want testimony to be hearsay (inadmissible).  proffer is basically court w/ no jury. They ask q's to make sure it's okay for jury to hear. Judge doesn't want Furton to take stand and just regurgitate Vass' study - that's hearsay. Baez is stepping out of courtroom to talk with Furton about his testimony. Furton did research on other consumer products that contain chloroform.
Ashton asks if all his knowledge about chloroform in cleaning products based on other articles (what he's read based on what he's done)
Perry: "He can simply regurgitate what his opinion is." Baez thought this had already been discussed before lunch. He says he feels like they are running in "circles.   Jury returned to courtroom.
Witness is now testifying to household chemicals and water that contain chloroform. Furton explains where to find chloroform: bleach. Baez asks if a GCMS can pick up chloroform in water? Furton says yes.Furton says the 5 compounds identified by Vass are not unique to human decomp. He says some found household products and trash.
Ashton> Did you ever examine spare tire cover? Do you see any bleach stains on here? KF>NO. Ashton is questioning him to the articles he studied and is referencing.  Ashton is questioning the witness as to the compounds and how chlorophyl is created with what compounds. Furtan states this needs to be further studied.Furton: Chloroform, a carcinogen, is in butter and cheese.Ashton says Furton didn't analyze if it was coincidental creation of chloroform or someone deliberately mixed chloroform & gave it to child.Furton: Chloroform in chlorinated water is in low levels, parts per billion or less.Ashton says Furton didn't analyze if it was coincidental creation of chloroform or someone deliberately mixed chloroform & gave it to child. Ashton says Furton didn't analyze if it was coincidental creation of chloroform or someone deliberately mixed chloroform & gave it to child.Furton: Samples for study done by his student. Took collection from multiple bodies..She sampled over the entire body for one minute. She did do control samples( away from bodies) but it is a morgue and some chemicals will always be there.Furton is talking about a study one of his students did. Talking about common smell of dead people.Jurors -looking at Furton but not writing. Ashton is going slide by slide in POwerPoint display.Ashton: Great deal of difference between human and animal decomposition. Furton: Yes.    Dr. Vass studies are the only studies that test an entire human body. Ashton: Compounds only found in Vass' study because he used triple sorbent traps. Furton: I don't think so.

Ashton is questioning the witness on the reports from Stephanopoulus  versus those from Dr. Vass. Dr Vass studies contained a larger amount of compounds. Ashton says maybe Vass came up with 5 compounds bc he took an approach looking at "whole body decomp" - Furton says this is still developing. 
He is the only one who studied the body longitudinal. He is the only one who did studies on decomp in anarobeic conditions.(oxygen deprived)
Ashton> Ashton asks if 4 of Vass' compounds could be from a dead body trunk of car? Furton says it's possible.Furton says Vass' study/ experiment is more comprehensive then others. 
Aston shows Dr. Furton his deposition. Page 49.
Dr Kenneth Furton Deposition  (LINK). 
Furton says normally you run standards- Vass didn't do that. Furton: Vass' study is still ongoing research. "There's add'l work that really needs to be done"  Baez argues that Furton's comment is inconsistent. Attorneys, judge go to sidebarSIDEBAR
Ashton is reading from Furton's deposition Saturday. Ashton asked if a decomposing body in trunk explain findings- Furton said possibly.Ashton is saying Furton's testimony is changing today Furton clarifies his answer, which was different earlier. compared to Saturday's deposition. KF> agrees something was decomposing in the trunk. Ashton>What was it. Furtan> shows Ashton the slide wth the garbage. 
Ashton shows him the above pic. Ashton asks him if he knew th salami package did not have meat.Furtan>Yes   Ashton: No meat in salami package. Not enough to create odor detectable by methods used. Furton: Unlikely.    Furton said maybe all compounds found could be explained by human decomposition. Would it effect the outcome if it was wet or dry.    Ashton: Do you how much of Velveeta is milk product? Furton: Main ingredient is milk/milk fat. Furton> Yes. 
Aston shows him more evidence. Baez objects: This has no bearing on chemical signature. Perry: Overruled. 
Sidebar.During sidebar jurors are passing evidence around. Juror 11 just smelled it, per reports. CindyAnthony walks out of courtroom. George Anthony remains.

y News 

Jurors take note when Furton says "yes" when Ashton says "you agree something was decomposing in car, per online reports.
Ashton kneels down on floor looking through evidence. Pulls out Velveeta box. Asks if it could give off decomp smell.    Ashton is digging through evidence bags. Lots of rustling of paper heard. Furton: Doesn't see food in Velveeta Rotini and cheese with broccoli package.Furton: Doesn't see food in Velveeta Rotini and cheese with broccoli package. Ashton is showing Furtaiin trash piece by piece.  Ashton continues to pull out trash evidence to ask Furton if decomp could be produced from it,  ash to Furtonrt Ashton is showing Baez: I object. This is altered evidence. Perry: Overruled.   Furton: "Residual odor not visible to the naked eye." What?Furton is looking at another piece of evidence. Furton says it could cause decomp profile. Ashton asks if jury can get closer look.    Ashton shows the evidence to the jury. 
Mason, Finnell, and Fryor all just walked back into courtroom together. Mason is now whispering to Baez.

The jurors. are holding a blue glove (not wearing it) and passing it along. KF > It is unlikely, that the trash in the trunk could still smelll 3 years later.
Furton: We don't know enough of background materials. They could be contributors not saying they were the source. Furton says it looks as if there was rotting material in the bag. (when you buy Velveeta- think the the silvery bag). 
Baez>Baez: Why did you go to Iran to get study on chloroform?    Furton: I may have read...not sure which paper [Ashton] referred to...happy to read others as well. KF testifies that he studied relialbe pulications from the US.Furton: Based opinions on peer-reviewed. not sure about Iranian paper. Furton says the rotted material could be contributors of the odor in the car. Sidebar. 
Baez: Asks about the longitudinal studies.Baez asks if trash (or garbage) in back of car for 3 weeks could account for compounds discovered? Furton says could be contributors. KF> Trash is "pretty clean." Baez unwraps trash.  Perry>Special recess. (smokers)

Baez shows KF items from the. trunk He questionsthem as to smell.
Ashton> The smell would follow the host

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