Casey Anthony trial to hinge on forensic evidence

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — No witnesses saw what happened to 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, and only her killer knows exactly how she died. No one has confessed. So when her mother, Casey Anthony, goes to trial Tuesday on murder charges, the jury’s decision will likely come down to forensic evidence.

Prosecutors plan to have jurors smell the odor from her car, present evidence of chloroform in the 1998 Pontiac Sunfire and present photos that they say show her partying with friends after her daughter disappeared. They also likely will seek testimony from a botanist, a hair and fiber examiner from an FBI lab, and a cadaver dog handler.

Anthony’s defense attorneys plan to present testimony from an expert in the new field of touch DNA, an entomologist and Dr. Henry Lee, a famous forensics expert who has worked on the O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and JonBenet Ramsey cases.

“It is going to be a battle of experts,” said Karin Moore, a law professor at Florida A&M University in Orlando. “They don’t have a confession. They don’t have an eyewitness. They don’t have direct evidence. They are relying on forensic science that is circumstantial, at best.”

Opening statements were set for Tuesday following a marathon 11 days of jury selection in Clearwater, Fla. Jurors were picked outside of Orlando because of publicity surrounding the case, and they will be sequestered for nearly two-month trial.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in her daughter’s death. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death. She also is charged with aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and providing false information to law enforcement. She has pleaded not guilty and has said a babysitter kidnapped Caylee.

Hundreds of volunteers searched for Caylee after she was reported missing in July 2008. The girl’s decomposed remains were found five months later by a meter reader in woods not far from where she lived with her mother and grandparents. Detectives said residue of a heart-shaped sticker was found on duct tape over the mouth of her skull. The local medical examiner could not determine how Caylee died, and an autopsy report said Caylee’s bones showed no signs of trauma.

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