The Casey Anthony trial, finally likely to get under way today in Orlando, could become an important test of cutting-edge forensic science in the courtroom, says the Christian Science Monitor. Anthony, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, who was last seen alive on June 16, 2008. Her remains were discovered six months later in a wooded area not far from her home. Investigators say there appeared to have been duct tape over her mouth.
Prosecutors do not have direct evidence of Anthony's involvement in her daughter's death. What they have is evidence of a stain and a foul smell that has lingered in the trunk of Anthony's car. A major portion of the state's case is aimed at proving that the foul odor is a remnant of the toddler's decaying body. Likely witness Arpad Vass of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee used scientific instruments to test air and carpet samples from the trunk of Anthony's car. He said the odor in the trunk included the presence of compounds found during the early stages of decomposition of a dead human body, but he was unable to state with certainty that the odor was from a decaying human corpse.