Thursday, June 16, 2011

Heather Seubert, Supervisor, FBI DNA Unit, Quantico


She is the Unit Chief of the Firearm  Marks Tool Unit. In 2008, she was a FBI supervisor in the DNA unit in Quantico,Virginia.There are 3 units are mitochondrial unit. They use hair and bone. In the Nuclear unit they examine body fluids for DNA. In the third unit  they type and put into DNA database. She is now testifying to her education. She is studying for her Masters at UF in Gainsville, All the forensic experts who have testified have gone to UF Gainsville. She is an examiner with the accredition committee for labs.This witness is an expert in serology (examining bio fluids) court and jury recognize her as such.  She is entered as expert witness.
She was the individual assigned to the evidence received in the lab.She received  She explains Q and K samples.
Interesting fact: FBI labels item w/ a "Q" if it comes from crime scene. "K" if it comes from a person.
A Q sample is an item from crime scene belonging to unknown source. A K sa mple is a known source like a buccal swab. Sidebar. She is testifying to what items from the Pontiac Sunfire. The items were  given to the lab with a cover of communication letter. It is a letter that describes the history of the case. It is a briefing. There is an objection by prosecution and then Sidebar.
Recess for 10 minutes. "There are matters to be discussed outside the jurys presence."  Apparently, the attorneys and JP are in a back room discussing something. They have never went to a back room for discussion. HMMM!
JP and jury return.. Baez is questioning as to items recieved.

Q13 14 >  Identified as swabs from tire cover. They were looked at independently. The did chemical anaylis on a portion of swab. They tested the swabs for the presence of blood. They were negative.
Q23> piece of spare tire cover. Negative for blood. It was repackaged and sealed.
Q22> spare tire cover There wer yellow and brown stain. They were swabbed and tested. They were negative.
Q24 > Left side of trunk liner. SWabbed and tested for blood. Negative.
Q25> Right side of trunk  liner. Section of dark grey carpeted  printed material. It had yellow and brown stains. Swabbed and tested for blood. Negative.
All items were tested and were negative for blood.  The swabs are not retained by lab after testing. They tested for DNA. They were all negative.
She tested the pants that were found in the car. They were negative for blood. There was no
Q34 > Light blue pants with brown spots, Negative for blood
Q35> Blue jeans , negative.
q36> Light grey skirt with brown stains, Negative
Q37, Light Yellow skirt stains. with bro, Negative
Q38> Light beige skirt with browns spots.Negative
Q39 Light blue button down collar, long sleeve with brown spots, Negative
Q40> light beige shirt with stains, Negative for blood. Q41> Bright sleeveless turtleneck shirt with brown stains. Negative for blood.
Q43> Green Shirt, Negative for blood.
No clothes tested positive.
Q44-45> piece of spare tire cover, grey , brown dingy areas on Q44> Negative for blood. Q45>Negative for blood. Both were swabbed and  tested for DNA. There was no DNA present.
Per the October 9th, 2008 report.
Q46> Shovel. The shovel was examined for blood. Negative for blood. There was not adequate sample results available for DNA. Seubert is attempting to discuss levels of DNA and Ashton objects to relevance. Sidebar.
Q46.1>label on shovel.
Ms Seubert is explaining low copy dna.   Which is the xeroxing of DNA at various sites to enhance the DNA identification process. She tests in 13  areas.  She gets a graphing with peaks. It is all very technical. The attempt was to obtain a DNA sample for comparison. Sidebar.
The jury is removed and there is a Proffer by the defense.
Baez asks about the DNA results. She can not offer a conclusion as to male or female.  . The result is a limited amount  and there is a limited amount for further information. Objection is to relevance. There is not enough DNA for reporting exclusion or inclusion. Baez wants to report simply that there is DNA present.
Judge Perry tells Mr Ashton to calm down and then tells him to sit down. JP questions witness. He asks if their is DNA. She states that there is "a peak" present. She reiterates she can not offer a report to gender.Seubert: DNA results show peak consistent with an 'X' potentially from female or male. Low level for confirmation.  JP will allow question and Ashton can cross.Seubert tells Perry about reporting  from a table in her  report she  brought ,   about the DNA from shovel. JP says okay.
Baez is questioning in front of the jury. She states that gender typing, there is something present but does not meet reporting criteria.. 
Report on March 19th, 2009>  Sidebar.
Q62-64, Items received from Medical Examiner. Duct tape.   There were 3 pieces.They swabbed the silver part of the tape and tested for biological evidence.  There was a manufacturer labeling on tape. 
There was DNA obtained but not enough per reporting policy. There were 6 out of 9 locations tested positive fo DNA. She is explaining the 2 DNA typing.
Baez asks if jurors can raise their hands if they don't understand. Judge Perry says no. Seubert will also wear a wireless mic as she leaves the stand and come in front of jury to note board.
In her report, she did not have enough DNA to report. Casey and Caylee could be excluded from this sample. She utilized all known samples for comparison.  All family members were excluded. She then checked the staff( all who worked the case) and found nothing. DNA on duct tape was from a female. She then checked female examiners who may have had contact and she asked for samples for individuals. It matched one someone from the documents unit.  It was contaminated. Seubert: Large presence of DNA could "shadow" or mix with pre-existing trace DNA on sample.Seubert says it's possible contamination could have covered up any other DNA. But it would have to a lot of DNA covering up a tiny sample. Seubert: Elements can degrade, destroy DNA.Seubert: DNA possibly recovered from items that were underwater, depending on bodily fluid, other factors. 

Seubert tested the adhesive type of the tape. Baez asks if duct tape was put on "in a violent matter" would have skin tissue on it. Seubert> violent manner?  Baez>  placing the tape. Seubert> you would think there would be cellular material.
There was a 17 on the D3 marker. Caylee had a 15 at that D3 marker nor does Casey Anthony. The DNA found on the adhesive side does not match . 
Report July 24, 2009
Q80>She received a pair of shorts. The shorts were identified as items  from Medical Examiner. The were tested for blood and semen. The results were negative.  

Q81> clothing. Items, the elastic trim of shirt and letters from shirt.  

Q82> Blanket.There was a possible evidence of blood. Not enough blood for confirmation.  No DNA profile generated.  NO semen


Q84 laundry bag, Positive for blood. Insufficent quantity for confirmation. No DNA. 
Q103 >Blanket. Tested for blood. Possible presence. No semen. Move to strike. This item is not in evidence. Mr Baez asks to strike and apologizes. 

Caylee's Doll
Q244>Caylees doll.Retrieved from Vehicle. No blood found. 

Report October  2008.
She was given buccal profiles of George , Cindy and Lee Anthony.  Paternity test was done. Sidebar.
Immediate recess for lunch for jury. Ashton is mad about Baez asking for paternity testing. Ashton >There is no good faith basis for asking about  paternity testing.  
Ashton refutes that the state asked for paternity testing.   Baez> Number one is it was tested . I asked this witness last night and the FBI does not usually do it but they did do it.he 
Further testing would have needed to be sent out. Lee was excluded. 
Seubet has written log of conversation with state investigator that inquires about paternity. But admits when questioned by Ashton, that he did not ask about Lee or anyone in particular. October 2008 Seubert was asked by Nick Savage (FBI agent working on case) if Lee could be father. Ashton: "What is the relevance of that?"Ashton is getting excited in his questioning about good faith and relevance.Ashton: "That is not the question counsel asked and he darn well knows it!." CA is looking and talking with Cheney Mason during this questioning. 

Ashton is angry. Judge Perry says no questions leading to the inference police asked about Lee. Judge says he doesn't know what was in their minds. JP instructs Baez on court procedure. He would have to bring forward the investigator who asked for testing. JP cites case law, page and verse.  Perry: Brings up Diamante Banana Company case re: good faith basis about asking questions. JP knows his law!! Instructs them to read.  JP tells them he is not hard of hearing. Judge Perry tells attorneys they don't need to raise their voices or change inflections. He says he can hear just fine. He admonishes the attorneys about raising their voice
.Perry: Will consider striking Baez's question when they reconvene. Perry: "I will ask the court reporter to mark the last question. I will review it.

Back in court. Casey at table. JP on the stand.  We continue with the Proffer( questioning outside of jury presense) by defense.
We continue with the objections over the "who told FBI to test Lee for paternity."  

Witness has returned. Baez asks her if she was asked to do paternity testing. She finds the December 16, 2008 report, page 3.  The report that Baez asks for has no reference to above question. Baez states there are two reports from that day. She searches. She can no find the report. so JP gives her the report. Results>Lee is excluded from paternity.

 Q47> prosecution stipulates that it is the car seat from the Pontiac Sunfire.  It was tested and was negative for blood. 
Q48> steering wheel cover from Pontiac Sunfire, It was visual inspected for biological stains therefore no testing was done

Q55> debris from L tire wheel well.   
Q56> swab from R tire wheel well.
No further questions.
Ashton crosses.
Swabbing from spare tire cover. She testifies that it was tested for blood. The  Phenolphthalin chemical used for blood testing reacts with red blood cell. It would not be found in decomposition unless there was hemoglobin or blood cells pesent. Ashton pushes witness to testify that decomposition could have been present  but she stands fim  on testifying to blood because she did not test for decomposition., based on her results. She testifies that  DNA would not be expected to be found with decomposition. She states it is true. As time of decomposition increases, information is lost. 
Ashton is having her re-explain the methodology of testing for DNA.  There has to be 50 RFU's present in order to be inspected and reported as a result. Some of the evidence did not have enough RFU's to be tested.  She could not give gender because she did not have enough RFU's for resulting. 
It was not possible to do further testing with DNA copying. 
Sidebar. JP returns to bench  then requests attorneys to side bar,again. Court recorder does not need to be present per JP.

Baez is allowed to ask additional question. Baez inquires about the DNA result on the adhesive side of the duct tape.  She compared the  one DNA marker result to the DNA sample of the Anthony family, at the same DNA marker site. It was D3 marker. The result was 17 at the D3 marker site. It was compared to staff profiles. The result was "limited" so there was no comparison note. Judge Perry tells Baez to get to the point. his last question was supposed to clarify things.  There was an individual  who did have a 16- 17 at that marker site. At the peak site on graph. the indiviual had only one peak . The result had two peaks. The result was inconclusive.
Aston redirects.
He asks the" inconclusive" results mean nothing.They have no value.   Seubert> Correct Ashton> It did  not match George Anthony. Seubert> George did not have a 17 on D3 marker. @D3 Caylee is a 14-15, Casey is a 15-16.   Ashton raises question that death without bloodshed and not finding blood, does not mean death did not happen.  Seubert testifes that the absence of blood does not mean that a crime was not comitted.    Seubert would not be able to tell manner of death.
Ashton questions her whether or not DNA would be expected to be found on someone who laid in a swampy area for 6 months. Sidebar.
Seubert: DNA in heat, Fl. conditions would degrade over time. Caylee's DNA for paternity testing was taken from marrow from  tibia bone. 
Baez redirect>
Seubert.. Bone has a longer DNA life than skin, tissue and blood.She cannot testify to when DNA disappears during decomposition.  Seubert: Explains difficulty in detecting when DNA degrades during decomp. process. Enviromental facts have to be weighed..  

It's 2:44 and Heather Seubert is done. She started testifying around 9:30am
Excused. Recess until 305p

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