Casey Anthony Trial Day 4: Tow manager says car smelled of human decomposition

12:48 PM, May 27, 2011   |    comments
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ORLANDO, Florida (WKMG) -- A tow yard manager testified Friday that Casey Anthony's car smelled of human decomposition when it was towed in June 2008.

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Simon Birch, the manager of the Johnson's Towing, the towing company that towed Anthony's white Pontiac Sunfire on June 30, was called to testify Wednesday morning.

Birch said the car was at the tow yard for two weeks. Friends of Anthony's have testified that she told them she had car trouble during that time period, and she was seen driving her boyfriend's car instead of her own.

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Birch said that as he was looking around the vehicle and looked into the windows, when he noticed a strong odor emanating from the car.  

He said he had towed vehicles which had had bodies in them on six or seven occasions.

Birch said he worked for Waste Management for two years.

"In my experience, the smell of decomposition is unique in comparison to the smell of rotten food or rotten garbage," Birch said.

When asked to describe the odor he smelled from the car, Birch said, "It was an odor consistent to what I had smelled in the past when it comes to decomposition. The car was sealed.. the smell was minimal, but it was still there."

Birch said Anthony's father, George Anthony, was agitated when he came to retrieve the vehicle. At that point, Judge Belvin Perry called for a lunch recess until 1:30 p.m.

Just before Birch, the state called Katherine Sanchez, the manager of the Amscot store on East Colonial Drive where Anthony parked and left her car on June 27. Sanchez called to have Anthony's car, which was parked in front of the dumpster, towed on June 30.

Sanchez noted that the area Anthony's car was towed from smelled of trash.

Defense attorney Jose Baez began day four of Casey Anthony's first-degree murder trial by asking the judge for a mistrial.

Baez cited irrelevant testimony from friends and former boyfriends as being significantly prejudiced and impermissible character evidence.

Judge Belvin Perry denied Baez's motion after pointing out that Baez has asked many of the witnesses if Anthony appeared to be a good mother to her daughter, Caylee. They all said yes.

Perry did grant the state's motion requesting the option to have witnesses proffer their testimony without the jury present, in order to know their testimony in advance. The defense said granting the motion would limit their cross-examination.

Before beginning testimony for the day, Perry told jurors they would be able to watch Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins Friday night, which they had requested on Thursday.

The state's first witness on Friday was Anthony's brother's fiancee, Mallory Parker.

Parker testified that on July 4, 2008, Anthony told her she didn't want her family to worry, but she wanted space.

During cross-examination, Baez asked Parker about Anthony's relationship with Caylee.

"Casey and Caylee had a very special bond," Parker said, in tears.

William Waters testified next. He met Anthony on the 4th of July, 2008 at a party at his house in Thornton Park. He worked with Amy Huizenga at Houlihans.  

Waters said Anthony told him she had a child, but did not mention that she was missing or dead.

A photo of Anthony that Waters took that night at Lake Eola was submitted into evidence.

Waters testified that he went to Ikea with Anthony on July 5 to shop for furniture for a home she said she would be living in with Huizenga.

Next, the state entered into evidence 12 surveillance videos of Anthony shopping at Central Florida stores.

The first, taken on June 30, 2008 at a Target store, shows Anthony purchasing a gas can. The next is from later the same day at a J.C. Penney store where she used her mother's credit card to make a purchase of $73.40.

The third is from a JC Penney store on July 1. Anthony spent $31.93 while shopping with her friend, Amy Huizenga. The fourth video is from July 5 at Ikea, where Anthony was shopping with Waters.

The rest of the videos are from July 7 through July 15, taken at various stores throughout Central Florida, including a purchase at a Target store where Anthony used a stolen check.

Last year, Anthony pleaded guilty to check fraud and draining Huizenga's bank account using her friend's checks. The jury has not been made aware of Anthony's prior conviction.

Anthony, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in Caylee's death.

Her trial began Tuesday at the Orange County Courthouse.

In addition to the livestream here on wtsp.com, the Casey Anthony trial is also live on our 10.2 digital channel, which you can find on cable channels:

  • Brighthouse - 631
  • Comcast - 212
  • Verizon - 461
  • Knology - 135

WKMG Local 6 and The Associated Press

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