Metro Detroit expert to testify in Casey Anthony trial–accused of killing her two year old


 

caseyA former Metro Detroit medical examiner who is expected to testify in the Casey Anthony trial this week said Wednesday that based on his findings, Anthony may be innocent in the death of her 2-year-old daughter in 2008.

"The medical examiner and the police (in Orlando, Fla.) determined that the cause of death was undeterminable and the manner of death was homicide," Dr. Werner Spitz of Grosse Pointe Shores told The Detroit News.

"If you don’t know what she died of, how do you know it was a homicide?"

Spitz, 84, consulted with police on the JonBenet Ramsey murder case and served on multiple committees examining the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He has worked as the medical examiner for Wayne County and Macomb County. He now has an office in St. Clair Shores and performs private autopsies in addition to consulting work.

Anthony’s defense attorneys will begin calling witnesses today in the trial that began May 24.

Two-year-old Caylee Anthony disappeared in June 2008, and police found her remains near her mother’s home in December 2008. Casey Anthony is being charged with first-degree murder and will face the death penalty if convicted.

Spitz flew to Orlando shortly after Caylee’s body was found to perform an autopsy on behalf of defense attorneys Jose Baez and Linda Kenney-Baden.

He said the medical examiner who first looked at the body never opened the skull, and thus did not perform a thorough autopsy.

"The brain had never been examined. The skull had not been opened. That’s really almost unheard of," Spitz said.

"Even if the brain is decomposed there is a lot of information you can get from the skull."

Although Spitz didn’t discover the cause of death during his examination, he said he could think of "a dozen" diagnoses other than homicide, including an accident, as the defense claims.

Spitz also said the duct tape that allegedly suffocated Caylee might have been placed on the body after her death. Photographs showed duct tape around her mouth, even though the body had no remaining skin or soft tissue to adhere to the tape, Spitz said.

"At least I can now say that the manner of death, in my opinion, is not determinable, but it is as likely an accident as a homicide," Spitz said.

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