Friday, June 17, 2011

Dr Timothy Huntington, Entomologist, Defense Expert


Dr.Timothy Huntington, Entomologist, Defense Expert

The defense will call Tim Huntington - another Bug expert. He is diabetic and may need to take a break to check blood sugar.

Tim Huntington joined Concordia's natural science department as a full-time faculty member in 2008 and served as an adjunct faculty member in 2003 and 2005. His teaching emphasis is in organismal biology, and his research interests focus on forensic entomology (the use of insects as evidence in legal investigations), carrion ecology, and taphonomy.
Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
M.S., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
B.S., Concordia University, Nebraska 
Courses taught
Principles of Biology, Elements of Anatomy and Physiology, Entomology, Gross Anatomy I & II, Zoology, Community Ecology. Huntington is currently studying the bed bug epidemic. 

Professor Huntington is one of 15 board certified forensic entomologists, and is a forensic entomology consultant for several law enforcement agencies. He has consulted on more than fifty death investigations spanning seven states and four countries, and is a member of the American Board of Forensic Entomology, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Entomological Society of America, North American Forensic Entomology Association, and Nebraska Chapter of the International Association for Identification. In 2007 he was awarded the Young Alumnus of the Year Award by Concordia.

He is an  entomologist consultant. He is an assistant Professor with Concordia University.. He is stating his background and education. Huntingon spent time training under the state's expert Neal Haskell. 
Huntington is also a reserve Sheriff's deputy but Jeff Ashton says the jury shouldn't  know that. Objection/ sustained. Ashton calls it bolstering.

Ashton is asking for a sidebar because of what he is calling bolstering. His objections were both sustained and overruled.
Dr Timothy Huntington is entered as an expert witness He was contacted by Linda Kenney-Badan on December 11, 2008.. This is prior to the remains of Caylee Anthony being identified. She was the defense attorney with Baez. She quit due to finances. He reviewed Dr Haskells report and reinspected the evidence. 
Forensic Entomology deals with insects and dead bodies. Forensic entomology deals with estimating "time of death."  Insects are important because they discover dead bodies quickly and lay eggs. They eggs then hatch into larvae. Mr Huntington has risen and approached a demontration board.  

He is explaining the process of flies eating and laying eggs. He refers to them as elementary maggots, middle school, and high school maggot     The eggs develop into larvae (maggots).
First stage larvae start to feed.The are arthropods. They have external skeletons like lobster. They can not get bigger without breaking out of skeleton.Similar to when a snake crawls out of its skin.  
They then go to a second stage. It is easy to tell what the stage of an insect. If you find the exo skeletan it is a very recent moving to next stage.  
Third stage maggots need to change to an adult. The go through  metamorphosis  from pupae to fly.
3 stages to maggots.Within a week, the pupae undergo metamorphosis and emerge from the shell as an adult fly, the final stage of the life cycle. Once the maggots reach their full size, they stop feeding and begin to migrate into a drier area, usually into the soil. They remove themselves from food source to self preserve  themselves. They are at risk to be eaten by  other animals. They can move  30-100 feet away.  As informative as bugs are, they lose much of their forensic value once they leave a cadaver to pupate. 
Once a body is dead, the first organisms to visit the corpse are the blowflies and the fleshflies. The scent of blood or bodily gases attracts the flies about ten minutes after death. They deposit their eggs in the natural orifices- the eyes, nose, mouth, ears or in the wounds and blood of the body. Once the eggs hatch into larvae they devour all the soft tissue of the body. Then the maggots migrate to the soil or to the clothes to develop into pupae and eventually into adults. This usually takes from several days to weeks depending upon the species of fly.
The jury is removed for a profer (questioning ourtside the jury's presence by the defense.)
Huntington did not perform a post mortem interval investigation. Haskall reported that the death was consistant with a date of death. 
Cross by Prosecutor Ashton. Ashton is asking how to PMI. Huntington could not assume the evidence that was collected was from a human body. Ashton asks him to make the assumption then withdraws the question. (you can not assume in court)
Ashton objected if Huntington was discussing scene of bone recovery, but wtdrew obj. now that he will discuss car. 
Sidebar and recess for 10  minutes. 

Life cycle of a blow fly
Life Cycle Of The Blow Fly (courtesy of National Library of Medicine)

Life cycle of the black blow fly

Adult female blow flies arrive within minutes to lay eggs on a cadaver. Each deposits about 250 eggs in the natural openings of the body and open wounds. The eggs hatch into first-stage maggots within 24 hours. These feed and then molt into second-stage maggots, which feed for several hours, and then molt into third-stage maggots. Masses of third-stage maggots may produce heat, which can raise the temperature around them more than 10° C. After more feeding, the third-stage maggots move away from the body and metamorphize into adult flies.

Jury is returned.
Mr Huntington returns to the demonstration board. Temperature is involved in telling how long a body has been dead. Bugs are cold temperature animals.  They  use a tool to measure temp of bugs  and calculate a time of death. There is no reference to size. Size is determined to by how much to they have eaten. It take temperature and time to move blow fly through process.  They know the temp and time needed to move fly
through process.
There are 3 things an entomologist needs, (1)species and  (2)stage.They need to know the species to determine developmental rate and stages (what stage is the insect in?). The (3) third thing they need is the temperature of insect. Huntington brought some demonstrative aids to help jury understand. He has a pic of a car in a field. It is a car he studied.  He did a study on the trunk being a barrier to studying insects.  This study goal was to place pigs and allow them to decompose.He was studying how insects conlonize Was the trunk a barrier? None of the cars he used were a Pontiac Sunfire.
 He did inspect the Pontiac Sunfire n July  2010. The trunk was not in orginal factory conditiion. The liner had been removed. He  inspected for "gaps: for insects to pass through. 
Weather is a factor in insect development. The colder it is the slower the process.Rain slows activity Increase temperature draws more flies.He is showing a pic of a view looking out of the rear view window . Blow flies are most important. They show up in minutes to hours after death occurred. When a car is sealed , flies can not get out because they lack the chemical cues to escape conditions.In the pic there are dead blowflies.

The next picture shown to the jury  is a dead pig, decomposed, after 11 days. We do not have the pic here.  It is in a car trunk. It was placed there in September in Nebraska weather. Cooler than Florida. The pig is not wrapped in bags.There are maggots and they are crawling away looking for a place to pupate. 

Similar to  pics show in court.This is 13 days decomp. Picture shown in court is worse. That pig was in a trunk and there were maggots and pupae clearly evident. This is what Caylees remains were subject to at site.

There is extensive tissue loss. They eat the head first and move down. There is no chest cavity left. The pig is nearly  skeletonized. There is black fluid. It is bacterial fluid with maggot waste. Baez is asking about a stain in the trunk. Objection overruled. Ashton is allowed to ask witness on his expert ability to diagnose stain. He states "years of experience" however, did not do chemical studies. He is allowed to continue. Sidebar There is no reaction from CA. (I would be disturbed by this decomposed pig and the obvious insect presence and activity after 11 days and the obvious correlation to what happened to her daughter.
Dr Neal Haskell, Entomologist, Prosecution Expert
The jury is removed for profer. (questioning outside of jury,) Witness states the stain and smell of decompostition is unique.  
Ashton objects and asks if Baez is going to ask about his experience. Ashton> O I am sorry, Counsel is busy texting, (sarcastically) JP > admonishes them to be professional.He then tell Baez to stay on track and ask the question he was to ask outside of the jurys presence. 

Witness testifies the decomposition  fluid  after 3 days, is black and leaks under liner.  Baez states that this is the testimony of witness in depostion. Ashton> This is not even close to what is in his depositon; The argument is the witnesses ability to testify as an expert in this issue. JP>asks for Dr Haskalls testimony about decomposition and stains.  JP> Read page 28-32 , both of you (@Baez and Ashton. Then tell me how it is similar and dissimilar. Dr Haskall stated that decomposition fluid is not likely to be able to be cleaned. Ashton argues that Haskall did not claim the stain was from decomposition. Ashton states that the witness is an expert in entomology not decomposition fluid and stains.Ashton says Huntington is trying to change his testimony.   JP "pulls" Dr Haskalls' testimony. He shows both the defense and prosecution his testimony.
Judge Perry rules Dr Haskalls' did testify on decomposition. He is going to allow it despite some minor inconsistencies. "Not to do so would be an error" JP> Baez don't get to enthused. Ashton will be able to 
cross. JP describes decomposition fluid as a "sub speciality."
Ashton asks witness about his experience on carpet and fabric. He states he has watched 20-30 decomposing animals and people. Ashton asks him on how many color of carpets? No real answer. Ashton asks him about the uniqueness of decomposition fluid. He states "Beneke" as a provideer of case study. real studies on color of decomposition fluid of humans. The witness did not study the stain on the trunk liner of the Pontiac Sunfire. He has never studied a body decomposed in two bags. 
JP> Are you going to give us an opinion on the stain in the Pontiac Sunfire. Witness> I did not know I was going to be asked about the stain in the Pontiac Sunfire. 
Witness testimony is he would expect to find conditions the same as the pic he showed. (decomposing pig in ktrunk.) He has never testified on decomposition fluids in court.  Huntington says after looking at pics of trunk there is nothing (insects) to say there was a decomposing body in that trunk. Perry asks if he was told he needed to give all and any opinions he could give in court? TH says yes.  Apparently, Baez did not share info with witness per court order.Perry asks why should he allow his testimony in when defense (Baez)  withheld information which everyone was instructed NOT to do
Baez> Did I ask you to write report. RH>Yes BAEZ> Did I aask you to leave things out or put things in TH> NO
They are still arguing on the witness ability to testify on the color of stain in the Pontiac Sunfire. TH states the fluid is black in all decomp thereby leading one to assume the stain in the Pontiac Sunfire trunk should be black in color. Ashton thinks this is a significant point to argue.Ashton says if he knew TH would give an opinion or talk about color of stain he would have questioned him about it & called other experts. (I do to) JP is going to allow him to render an opinion. 
Jury is returned
Th is discussing the decomposing pig and trunk. He points out maggots burrowing into the carpet. He points out the decomp fluid ring. He states you may see a trailing stain as maggots pull away from corpse. Baez> Can yo wipe up fluid with paper towel. TH> Laughs, No. The fluid is greasy. I don't think professional cleaners could clean it up.
Flies will only colonize a body for a short time. The time has to right as flies are picky to feeding conditions. Temperature is a factor.  
In regard to this case, there were not an early colonizers. TH>There . was a leg of a blowfly, per Dr, Haskell. One leg of a blowfly does not mean anything. It does not mean anything because there are many insects with no way to escape. There could be hundreds to thousands of insects. The expectation would be to find hundreds of bodies of flies. They do not migrate. They could go to passenger part of car. The leg of the blow fly was found in a trash bag.  Most of the flies found in the Pontiac, were fruit flies.They eat  any organic material. They are common. In his opinion, the number of flies found does not equal a decomposing body due to the limited numbe. They are early colonizers.

LUNCH until 130p
Study of Blow Fly Colonization by Timothy Huntington"timothy.

We're back in court. Baez objects to Ashton asking Huntington about being trained by Haskell.Ashton says it's not going to be a Karate Kid moment. Judge will rule on it later today. There were a few samples from outside of the trash bags. They were obtained form sweeping/vacuuming of the vehicle. There was a very low number of insect evidence outside the bag. Baez> Is there a difference between trash and garbage. TH> NO
Baez is questioning him in regard to the paper towels. TH> The paper towels did have fruit fly cocoons. There were no live materials. What it means is when a maggot looks for a spot to pupate, they go to dark spaces. A crumpled up paper towel has many dark spaces. TH uses crumpled up paper towel in the "rearing" of flies in his lab.
Ashton objects to Baez asking if TH has an opionion to the paper towel and decomposition. When you find a paper towel with "food source" you would  expect to find  flies.  So why were the flies found? Huntington says it's because there were cans of tobacco spit! He says flies love that. Ashton is concerned he can't see what the defense is pointing out. Judge Perry says move it along.  The jury is looking at a giant picture of the garbage found in bag in.Baez asks of an empty carton of food has bacteria that would attract flies? TH says it depends on what the food was.TH says there was pupae on a box of velveeta (Mac n cheese). TH says there is nothing remarkable about what was found. He would expect to find the same thing in anyone's trash. TH now talking about crime scene. He says the colonizing flies should have been there. TH says that shows the body was moved to that location. Jurors take notes . 
Sidebar. There was a sudden noise in the courtroom. Ashton and Baez were stunned. they immediately went to sidebar. No explanation given(Didn't we know that already and how does that benefit the defense?)
Th testifies when a body decomposes and the body fluids leak into ground , it changes the animal community, bacteria, and the microorganisms. It kills the plant community around it. When you examine sites where there are decomposing entities they study soil and living and non-living communities around it. Dr Dave Carter is an expert in the field.  If the body is in 2 bags , if there is no breech to the bag, TH would not expect ithe community around the site to be damaged. If there was a breech (leak) TH would expect there to be damage.  Objection by Ashton. Witness is testifying to botony(outside his expertise). Overruled.There were 3 pupae and early colonizers found in evidence. 
TH states the remains were moved from primary decomposition site. (Don't we already know that and how does that help the defense?)\

Ashton> Do you mean the body was skeletanized before it was moved? TH>NO. I mean it was moved in early decomposition. 
There are stages are in decomposition. There are 5 stages, fresh,bloat, , active decay, advanced decay,... Ashton>Fresh and bloat stage in a child is how long. TH> I don't know. Ashton> Opinion> TH> An accumulated degree day is an calculation of  average of days minus minimal base threshhold. temperature.  There is a time that decay stops.  Ashton> 2 days , average 90 degree days.? TH> It depends on minimal base threshhold.  It would be a 180 accumulative degree days.Huntington says one day at 90-degree day equals about a day and a half of 60-degree weather.Caylee would have decomposed very quickly, In my opinion.
In his opinion, Caylee's body would have had to be moved to the wooded site after 3-5 days of decompositiion.  Now that we know the early colonizers are in little numbers.  Assuming the environmentally  conditions are as stated by Ashton. Caylee would have decomposed very quickly, In my opinion. In his opinion, Caylee's body would have had to be moved to the wooded site after 2-4 days of decompositiion.  Now that we know the early colonizers are in little numbers.  

Assuming the environmentally  conditions are as stated by Ashton.     Huntington reads down a few scenarios of what could have happened to body. He says anything is possible.
Ashton ask TH to review Ken Haskalls' deposition in regard to the low amount of early colonizers.. Haskall stated the body was moved.  Ashton reads TH his deposition which states he did not disagree with the report of Haskall.  He agrees with Haskalls supposition that the body was moved in late June or early July.
TH agrees when Ashton asked if the decompositiion would smell where early decomposition occurred. Huntington says it would smell bad for a long time and that the smell of any type of decomposition is easily recognizable. TH agrees decomposition smell is recognizable. It can not be clean  out. Ashton> two years after the Sunfire had been retrieved and you inspected it , and with the liner bed out....Objection by Baez and Sidebar.
Ashton was going to ask if he could still smell decomposition in the Sunfire but Baez did not like that.
Ashton asks if he could smell the trunk eventhough  the smell was minimal. Huntington said he could have thought the smell was due to the trash in the car Ashton> When have you smelled trash car after 2 years. TH> Never.
Ashton asks if he did the "decomp of the pig in trunk" due to this case.TH> No. Huntington's says he did this experiment because he wanted to for a long time and it wasn't specifically modeled after this case. 
He was hired in September 2010 and he initiated experiment in December 2011.  TH >have never had an occassion to work with a dead body in a trunk, case. TH> never worked on case with small child. nor wrapped in blankets, nor wrapped in blankets and wrapped in a garbage bag and then another bag and then a laundy bag.
Ashton>Why did you not wrap your pigs in a blanket? The whole court laughs.
Ashton> I had to say that. (Chuckle.)
Ashton> The pig in trunk experiment is not an accurate description of what happened to Caylee. TH states he was studying early colonizaton of Blow Flys and access to trunk through openings.
TH> Other than this research . No access to dead body in trunk. A trash bag can be acessed when a fly can smell the decompositin. If a fly can smell odors emitting from bag.  , the bag is not airtight. If the flies can not enter the bag , they will lay eggs at the opening and the hatched maggots will crawl into the bag.
 Chloroform can kill insects in high concentration. If there is chloroform present and a dead body,  TH states that chloroform level would have to be high to displace flies. In studies, it only displaces them for a short time.
Blofly can smell several miles away.  Even if they smelled chlorofom they would still be attracted but there has never been a study.  TH states he would find it highly unlikely that the chloroform in the trunk would have displaced the flies.

Trash. Huntington is asked to point out cans with tobacco spit.
  Moving onto paper towels found in garbage. Ashton asks what was on them? Huntington says he need to read report.  TH reports from previous testimony from Dr Vass, that there is a fat adipocere product on the paper towels . Adipocere is a hydrogenerated body fat derived from decomposition. Flies would be attacted to this per TH.
TH is shown this pic It is the garbage found in car. It was thrown in. Dumpster at tow company. Collected by Law enforcement later .  He  is asked to show which cans have tobacco spit. Zooming in on pic w garbage collected. You see plastic bottle w/ tobacco spit. You also see chewing tobacco container (size of a tuna can) Ashton states there is only one.He states  that 4-5 cans contained tobacco spit. He has previously testified that he thought the flies were attracted to tobacco spit.  Ashton is going to pull out each can. Baez objects and states there is no guarantee that the cans are in the same condition. Ashton opens a huge box with many brown sealed bags. Ashton is going through the garbage. Letting Huntington look at it and say if there was tobacco remnants in it.  TH states that the flies would have bee attracted to residue in cans. Ashton states there is nothing in the can. TH states he would have to tear open can to testify what is exactly is in case.Ashton shows TH the report from the trash that states the cans were empty  and that there is no entomological evidence present.  
TH agrees tobacco spit  does not smell like decomposition. Ashton asks if tobacco spit ever smells like human decomposition ever? TH says he can't put "ever" onto that statement.   TH there is nothing edible in picture but there is something in a salami package but he can not tell what it is. Ashton is going to pull out salami package. 
Recess until 315p.. The witness has been on the witness stand since 9am Florida time.
Jury re enters. JP asks the jury what they had for dessert.   
Ashton has the salami container. It is a piece of paper in can.  Ashton asks about the smell in the car. TH states the it is an over expession to not being able to get rid of the smell. It is possible to get rid of smell but it would be difficult. 
TH>10 days at 60 degree weather  would equal 6 days at 90 degree temperature.  The increase in temp of trunk would increase the accumalative degree days. It would take less time to decompose in higher temperature.Ashton points out Huntington's experiment didn't mimick conditions here. Child wrapped in blanket in bags in Florida heat. 
Redirect by Baez.   TH does not disagree with Haskins. They both agree that the body was moved. TH> The evidence speaks for itself. The body was moved from where primary decomposition  occurred.  
There were early colonizers present in laundry bag. Baez asks TH to look at Haskins report and tell the court how many. TH  is reading report. There were 75 pupura(casing) present. Beaz> is that alot  TH> It is very few. A female fly can lay 300 eggs.  TH disagrees that the trunk was the primary site of decomposition as Haskall has reported. Sidebar.
  TH disagrees that the trunk was the primary site of decomposition as Haskall has reported. Huntington says the number of eggs found is far fewer then should have been there. Also he says 1 blowfly has 6 legs- should've found more. He does not believe that a body was in the trunk ever. The evidence does not make sense per TH. He does not believe chloroform was a factor creating low number on entomological evidence. There would be no fly casings pesent if that argument was valid.
Baez> Are air samples recognized by forensic communities. Ashton> Objection,  sustained TH is  so he startgoing to be allowed to answer the question but Baez has to first lay a foundation of his experience. Baez starts asking him his background. Sidebar.Not sure what's happening right now. Judge on bench and Ashton and Baez are standing up there. Now court reporter and Judge Perry are at bench and reviewing something on her computer.
 Huntington says Dr. Vass' report doesn't say "adipocere" it says fatty acids consistent with (list of things.  
TH> says that you do not have to test for adipocere. Someone just tells you. Ashton> So you have never tested for adipocere . You just let people tell you.  Ashton interrupts witness.  Baez objects. They are contentious.
JP is obviously disturbed and calls for sidebar with ALL  attorneys.  
Adipocere developes in variable condition s. Conditions required are reduced oxygen content and cool , damp area. A properly buried body years later will have adipocere.  How long it takes to develop would be enviroment dependent. Adipocere occurs in later stagesa of decomposition. 
TH> If I was the first entomologist I would ask for DNA from the guts of the insects. (This is noted in other reports I read in entomology to be a tool in identification of decomposed bodes)
Ashton >objection,moves to strike.Huntington says He would expect evidence collected and stored for 3 yrs to be in different condition now.
TH is shown the pic.of trash found. He is show the knot . It is not a deterrent to insects per TH.
If TH was doing the decomposing pig in the trunk in order to replicate the Caylee Anthony conditions, he would have done it differently . He would not have done it in Nebraska.
TH is shown pic of carpet stain in trunk of the Anthony car and asked to render an opinion on it being due to decomp. Objection and sidebar. 
Carpet stain in the Anthony car.

Huntington is going to be allowed to answer the question TH> It does not look like a decompostiton stain I have seen. Baez is showing pics of decomp fluid on carpets of other cars. 
Baez asks TH if he would expect to smell decomp after a car was abandoned for 2 days.  Objected as hypothetical.  Baez has gone to confer with Cheney Mason , who is a expert defense attorney in death penalty cases, many times today. 
Ashton> What was the condition of the garbage when it was in the trunk? TH> I don't know. Ashton> So you do not know  if it was wet or dry. TH>NO Ashton> SO YOU DO KNOW THERE WAS NO FOOD! TH>no.
  Ashton> You got you doctorate in the same year this crime happened. TH>yes  TH testifies , after being asked, he is not a Forensic Scientist.  Ashton> Did you study adipocere? TH>NO  TH testifies that he has not been asked to be an expert witness in carpet stains and decomposition.  TH> no. This is the first time TH has been asked.  
Ashton asks him if he knew in his report all that he was going to testify on in this case TH>yes


Ashton>you did not tell the jury the pic (decomposing pig) was not meant to replicate the condition s of Caylee Anthony. TH> No, but I did tell them it wasn't.

Baez> You are the youngest entomologist in the country. Ashton objects , bolstering , overruled. .

TH> Yes.  TH had no anticiption he was going to be asked about "pigs in the blanket" and carpet stains. Huntington says many times he only reviews photographs because sometimes samples can't be produced

Court is recessed for today.

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