06-06-2011, 09:02 AM #1
JB addressing the Court regarding Dr. Voss's database. Database could contain exculpatory information to show that his testimony and opinions are not in conformity with his database and JB does not have the opportunity to cross examine him on this.
State calls Dr. Arpod Voss.
Jury coming in.
06-06-2011, 09:31 AM #2
Direct examination of Dr. Arpad Voss by JA.
He's a senior research scientist at Oakridge National Laboratory - been there almost 20 years. He then listed his education. His Ph.D. dissertation was developed around Dr. Bass's work at the Body Farm in the area of forensic anthropology - post mortem interval - determining how long someone has been dead. This was in the late 1980's.
The Oakridge facility - in the early eighties it was the only facility in the world where you could study a whole body decompositional event - 1.5 acres in size. Began in 1972. 1100 test subjects - bodies donated to science - left outside under various conditions - some in cars, some buried and some on the surface.
Post-mortem intervals - his initial research was looking at the chemical breakdown of soft tissue - analyzed decompositional fluid to determine how long an individual was dead.
4 stages of decomp - fresh, bloat, active decay and dry. Fresh stage - 2 processes - autolosys (self-digestion process) After sudden death, the cells don't realize the body is dead and they continue to metabolize - byproduct is carbon dioxide which builds up in the cells and is acidic.
JB objected and HHBP overruled.
Cells are breaking down and becoming acidic. Blisters occur and then skin slippage. One of the first visual signs that something is amiss. This gives the body a moisture laden appearance. This allows the second process of decomp - putrifaction - where microscopic organisms now feed on the nutrient rich fluid. The organisms can come from inside or outside the body. Decomposition is the liquification of the body.
Bloat stage - when micro organisms in the intestinal track produce gas.
Objection by JB - overruled.
When someone dies the rectal region and esophagus can become blocked. The gases then have no place to escape, so it builds up in the abdominal region, causing appearance of a bloated abdomen.
Final stage is active decay - the major 40 to 80% of the decomp process - liquification, leading to the dry stage - mummification and skelatinization.
Four processes that are important in the rate of decomp - temp most important, then presence of water, then ph, then the presence of oxygen.
Higher temp excelerates decomp.
His study looked at the liquids. Learned fat and muscle breaks down into volatile fatty acids. There was one publication on this - in that was the analysis of inorganic components. A variety of inorganic components could be used to determine how long a person has been dead. First paper was published in 1992.
First 10 years at Oakridge was looking at a variety of methods to look at volatile fatty acids.
He received his phD in 1991, then went to work at Oakridge.
The Oakridge National Lab is under the Dept of Energy, largest research laboratory. Roughly 4000 employees, guest researchers. Key areas of research which require multi-disciplanary teams looking at climate change, bio-fuels. (JA to witness - I think you just went past the "be brief" part.)
06-06-2011, 09:44 AM #3
JB up whining about Dr. Arpad Vass's database is not available for him to look @.....
Dr. A. Vass is 1st witness up for the State....
Sr. Research Scicentist for Oakridge Lab, almost 20 yrs, research scientist anthropolgy, chemistry, microbiology, ......
Bach., Masters in Forensics Science, PhD in Anthropolgy from U. of Tennessee.....working as a med tech while working on his Masters...offered position in Knoxville, learned about Dr. Wm. Bass (?), decomp. process in outdoor setting - The Body Farm, 1988 - 89 timeframe when started.....PhD on Decomp....Dr. Vass likes challenges....determine how long someone has been dead.....biochemical perimeters of human decomp....up to that point in late 80's biochemistry was fairly new....
Anthropoligcal research only facilty in world where to study a whole body decomp events.. outdoor facility a little more than 1 1/2 acres - est. in 1972......1100 test subjects donated to research....human bodies left out (object-overrule) various conditions, there is a vehicle, some studies in trunk and inside veh.....in early 80's post mortem interval....time since death....initial research chemical breakdown....4 components, fluids leak out.....analyzed fluid reproducable to
4 stages ; fresh, bloat, active decay, dry - mummified or skeletonized
Fresh stage decomp - 2 process in early stage ....self digestion process....100 trillion cells in human body.....someone dies suddenly - cells don't know death yet...cell metabolism (object - narritive not a biologist)......carbon dioxide usually removed by respriation builds up inside cells ......carbon dioxide (object- witness not a chemist 0verrulled!) cells made up complex structures ....organelles ....... nucleus, other structures inside a lysizone surrounded by membranes and contain enzymes used to digest food ...enzymes are proteins and digest......
lysizone is single membrane ...cell now become acidic from Co2 as membrane ruptures ...releases ....cells eating themselves....cells liquify interior blisters on the skin...start to see skin slippage ......skin sloughs off the body..
nutrient rich fluids give body moist appearance.....2nd process of decomp begins....putrifaction = bio.....feed on the nutrient rich fluids come from inside the body and on the body......liquify body.......breaking down cell structure
when microorganisms of intestinal tract of humans....metabolize.....by product of metabolism is production of gas.......(slows him down for court reporter - and me!!!)
metabolism as bacteria use new nutrients now available.....rectal region and esophogus become blocked.....gas has no place to escape....builds up in abdominal region...a bloated abdomen.....eventually finds it way out...
Active decay 40 - 80% of decomp process ....major aspect of liquify occurs.....all organs decay.....leads to skeleton stage.....non-nutritive value ....insects won't eat it (bone)
most important enviornmental factors
1) temperature - most import
2) presence of water - from enviornment,body,humiditiy
3) Ph - Acidic or Basic - above 7 alkaline below is acid - (burials aneorbic are acidic )
4) presence of oxygen -
high air temp accelorate decomp.....
During study of post mortem interval....what were you looking @? Liquification - anything in that liquid to determine TOD....didn't know what to look for = screen for compounds. fat & muscle breaks down to volitale fatty acids.....only a few buteryic acid, .....
publish findings once? volitale fatty acids .....analysis of inorganic components ...calcium...variety of inorganic components - normally fatty acids .....as soft tissue goes away....inorganic are there ----sodium........., Journal of Forensic Science.... this was one paper.......developed other methods to determine Time since death......homicides never occur the same way twice ....need toolbox to determine....
research facilty.....during volitle fatty acids - PhD in 1991....worked for Oakridge in 1992....Oakridge Nat. Lab...dept of Enegy runs Nat. Lab's in ....largest research .....4-5K employees, key areas of research large complicated projects require multi-disciplinary teams to investigate.....climate change -biofuels, neutrons, material sciences, super computers....homeland security.....
the Lab has a broad range of disciplines....beyond Energy related items.....multi-discipline .....research scientist have to know multiple fields.....looking @ new types food plants that make ethenol or fuel products.....my expertise in micro-biology.......
did there come time when you felt all you could do on post mortem.....yes after the 3rd model....how tissue breaks ....protein to amino acid breakdown......cutting edge......after that point bio-chemically reached limit of knowledge .....early 2000 or 2001 and began another project
he likes challenges .....up til that point thought time since death was most difficult question....he liked that challenge ---he was wrong (object)
why move into another area?
detection of clandestine graves...always problematic....looking @ ways to improve that technology....use of cadavar dogs, ground penetrating radar.....probes to put in the ground.... none of them very effective........
what method ....we look @ odor composition......@ body farm....graves special....put in a piping system ....under the bodies, above the bodies......monitor which chemicals produce during .......@ the body under the body, above the body, and which compounds made it all the way from under..to escape to surface of the ground......
odors? in initial 10 yrs or more ....decomposing human remains in various stages.....over the years 20 yrs .....followed approx 50 individuals from start to finish....fresh when came in .....start to finish......looked @ 100's at various stages.......
odor of human decomp unique odor just to smell.....literature publications describe what
number of researchers done human bodies, pigs,
Dr. Vass has done research .... usually pigs ......deer, pigs, dogs, cats.......
odor of human from nose perspective distinguishable ....he thinks yes (object- overrule) animals have a more mustier, domesticated animals have a sweeter scent...
collected data 2002 - 2007 publish initial paper - Journal of Forensic Science - peer review.....continued research after 2004 paper....establish graves.....begin ....enviornmental perimeters - temp,rainfall,barimetic pressure - if high pressure moves in can't detect chemicals @ the surface....hi pressue pushes down into ground.....low pressure - chemicals come out of ground......some water soluable....float above water when rains sometimes.. .very complicated .......in 2nd paper had been looking @ bodies for 4 years by that time skeletonized (object- narrative = Approach!)
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06-06-2011, 09:45 AM #4
Direct examination of Dr. Arpod Voss by JA. (continued)
There came a time, after the third model which was based on how tissue breaks down in very early decomp, when they felt they had gone as far as they could. Bio-chemically he felt he had reached the limit of his knowledge. This would have been early 2000 or 2001. Up to then he felt time since death was the most difficult challenge.
Next area - locating clandestine graves - complicated process. Up to that point the primary method of finding was geo-physical in nature - none very effective. He was looking for a more universal way. Mot successful way at that time was cadaver dogs, they then looked at odors by burying a number of individuals with a piping system so that they could monitor the chemicals being produced around the body, in the soil and at the surface which would be the odor the dogs could smell. This lead to the development of instrumentation.
Odor of decomp - over the 20 years there, they have followed 50 individuals from fresh dead to skelatinization. They also looked at 100's of bodies at individual time points. He has found the odor to be unique. There is literature that describe the chemical components liberated in decomp. He has also worked with the odor of animal decomp, including pigs. They also use road kill - deer, dogs, cats.
He has found the odor of human decomp to be distinguishable from animal decomp. Animals have a more musky scent. Domesticated animals have a sweeter scent.
Initial paper on the odor of decomp was published in 2004. This paper related to the establishment of the graves, an assimilation of the chemicals and an evaluation of the environmental parameters - temp, rain fall, pressure. A high pressure will push chemicals down into the ground.
Objection by JB - overruled.
Rainfall - some chemicals in decomp are water solluable and some aren't.
The second paper - had been looking at bodies that had been in the ground for 4 years and were skelatonized.
Objection by JB - SIDEBAR (#1)
(News Commentator saying this is breaking history - first time this testimony has been admitted in Court - air sample testimony)
06-06-2011, 10:02 AM #5
Direct examination of Dr. Arpod Voss by JA - continued.
Research continued after 2004 paper. In addition to studying buried bodies, they looked at bodies on the surface, skelatonized bodies and then using a different type of technology.
10 surface individuals - some lying on surface, some loosely covered with tarps, some in body bags. Samples were obtained from the buried bodies using a carbon filter attached to the tubing. The same procedure was used for the surface individuals, but they put the tube in the body bag or put it close. They used an air pump. The tube is then removed, sealed, taken to the lab and then uses thermal desorption - heating tube causing gas to flow and examined in a gas chromatograph. Also, a portion of the gas is chriogenically frozen into pellets - a concentration type technique. They can detect minute amounts. This was used in both buried and above ground remains. They studied the above ground remains for two to three years. Samples were taken initially weekly, then bi-weekly, then monthly as the decomp process slowed down.
2004 paper was updated in 2008.
JA submitted Dr. Voss in the area of forensic anthropology and human decomposition.
JB objected and HHBP accepted him as an expert.
06-06-2011, 10:04 AM #6
JA w/ Dr. Vass
research continued after 2004 pubish.....also look @ decompose on the surface....skelneton bones..... different type of tech used finally....instead of carbon traps.....speamy fibers (solid phase macro-extraction)
work w/above ground bodies .....antrhopology research facility .....body farm.....10 surface decomp.....some lying on surface....some loosely covered.....buried ......piping systems little ports on end of each pipe......collected air into TST triple sorbent trap.....3 types of activated carbon....little piece of metal activated......air passes thru TST remove odor components capture on activated carbon.....same procedure used on surface individiuals.....placed ..trap on surface, dangled close to body .... use an air pump draws air from enviroment to lab......tube removed ends sealed with nuts....brin back to lab....thermal absorbtion......heat up metal tube - gas goes thru.....as tube heats activated carbon releases into gas chromatogram......cryoloop........tiny little metal loop @ -321F......condenses and freezes odor molecule....concentration techniquie....as heat up....compounds become volital again........cryofocus is to concentrate sample.....triple traps used in buried remains and above ground remains......studied above ground remains 2004-06, inital stages of decomp frequency of samples weekly, then bi-weekly, skeletonized went to monthly.....surface individuals more frequently.......
update 2004 info with new info in 2008.....Expert in Forensic Anthropoligy...(object-
materials in criminal case YM from OCSO.....discussion with him.......sent items of evidence to examine.....metal evidence can.....States exhibit IO - don't recognize outside box.....(giggles no looks like a box)......open box and loook @ contents
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06-06-2011, 10:06 AM #7
Direct examination of Dr. Arpad Voss by JA - continued
First contacted in this case in 2008 by YM. He then began to receive items to exam.
First item was a metal evidence can. He dentified the box containing the can. JA cuts tape on box.
(Casey sitting there with a blank far away look on her face)
JA showed him the can in the box. He recognized as the can he was sent.
JB objected to can being entered into evidence as not having the proper chain of custody. HHBP looks at box and can.
06-06-2011, 10:08 AM #8
Dr. V recognizes can/label/initials (object - HHBP looks @ item)
HHBP - court reporter come over to sidebar....
IS reporting they believe can has carpet sample from kc trunk - critical moment......@ some point .....SA may want pass this around jury........DT doesn't want this.....IS says gross - must be all jurors or none of them........
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06-06-2011, 10:16 AM #9
Direct examination of Dr. Arpad Vass by JA continued
Can received in evidence as #114.
HHBP says break in 4 minutes.
He also received a plastic bag with an air sample from the trunk and fibers from Dr. Sigmond. He did not use the plastic bag, Dr. Marcus Wise did. Wasn't sure how this sample was collected, not by normal procedure. Doesn't recall results. Wasn't used in his opinion in this case.
He asked OSCO to take air samples from various parts of the car and garage. He sent them equipment to do this - an air pump used to collect air samples through TSTs (triple sorbant traps). This is what he used in his prior studies. Pump has two aquarium like pumps.
He received the tubes back from the OSCO. He identified the packaging the traps were sent to him in. JB examining the packaging. Entered into evidence with no objection as Exhibit 115-122.
15 minute recess to 10:40
06-06-2011, 10:17 AM #10
received in evidence - DT has renewed previous objections
JA w/Dr. Vass......
in 4 min we will recess
receive an actual plastic bag w/air sample taken from trunk.....and spme fibers....Dr. Marcus Wise analysed that...(object- overrule) not sure how that particular sample collected not normal procedure........
air samples .... sent equipment air pump and triple sorbent traps (TST) .... same as used in studies described......portable pump....box size of shoe box w/2 aquarium air pumps in in it.....received back from OCSO tubes and triple sorbent traps......
show items....recognize packages initials on each of the packages.... items F - M
JB looks @ ea package.....no objections
time for morning recess 15 min.....til 20 minutes to the hour
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06-06-2011, 10:25 AM #11
Bill Scheaffer says that Dr. Vass can now say that he has been recognized as an expert witness on the odor of decomposition in Orange County, FL. The next historically significant event will be Dr. Vass rendering his opinion.
06-06-2011, 10:49 AM #12
Direct examination of Dr. Arpad Vass by JA - continued
Back to analysis of the items he was sent - he was assisted by others at Oakridge, Dr. Marcus Wise and Dr. Martin.
Dr. Wise - lab where instrumentation for analysis was his. He is in charge of the instruments. He is an analytical chemist. A gas chromatograph mass spectrometer was used to analyze these items.
First analysis of carpet sample was an injection of 8/10's mil of headspace of can.
JB objection - overruled.
The can lid was cracked, syringe inserted, 8/10's of mil removed with syringe and put in GCNS by Dr. Wise. No chryo trapping was used here. (Head space = volume of air in can)
JB objected -
Initial evaluation of unconcentrated air sample -
JB objected and requested a SIDEBAR (#3 I think)
06-06-2011, 10:49 AM #13
Dr. Wise - assisted him....lab w/instruments to analyze samples....his lab.....(object- sustained) hearsay.....utilize it can't testify....
what instrument used analyze - Gas chromatograph mass spectrometer...GCMS,
carpet sample arrived first analysis inject 8/10 mil. headspace (object- witness discuss test by other experts - overrule)
can lid crack - syringe inserted 8/10 mil extracted & insterted into GCMS....
Dr. Wise shared results - we looked @ GCMS - asking for a site (?)
headspace? volume of air contained in the can - items in can......piece of carpet from spare tire area in trunk....
results of initial? (Object- knowledge and expertise - sidebar!)
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06-06-2011, 11:13 AM #14
JB moves to strike previous testimony. HHBP - NO
Initial exam - large peak (chloroform). Chloroform is a compound he has dealt with in his research. It is an identified decompositional event product. The level of chloroform was shockingly and unusual. There were also a variety of very small peaks. They then tried to concentrate the air sample.
He was with Dr Wise in the room as the next round of analysis was done.
They removed the piece of carpet from the can.
JB objected - overruled.
They removed the carpet from the can and placed it in a plastic bag (Tevlar plastic bag designed as a product to contain air samples for testing). They put the sample in the bag and incubated it for two days at body temperature. The carpet came from the trunk of a car in Florida. They estimated temp in trunk was high nineties. They were trying to get the substance in the carpet to be released into the air specifically.
They extracted 10 ml through the chryo trap concentration procedure and then examined it in the GCMS.
JB objection - overruled.
Results of concentrated analysis - 55 individual chemical components - one was chloroform. Chromatogram showed large, tall peaks indicating a greater concentration. The largest or base peak was chloroform. The amount surprised him - they were SHOCKED. They had never seen chloroform of that level in environmental samples in 20 years.
Chloroform is a by-product of decomp - but in very small amounts - parts per trillion. They tried to quantify it in the sample. They injected a standard of chloroform in a known standard to verify their findings. They were then able to make a rough approximation of amount of chloroform - rough approximation - parts per million vs. parts per trillion that he had seen before.
They could not further quantify it because they needed a more concentrated standard. Further quantification really wouldn't have been helpful to them.
Chloroform has a high rate of evaporation - similar to gas.
Objection by JB - overruled.
Chloroform appeared in the trunk, over time it has evaporated - car was in tow yard, anthony garage, forensics lab. Then sample was taken. They could not approximate the quantity at an earlier time.
Also tested a piece of carpet from another vehicle to determine if chloroform was naturally present. He was shown chromatograms from the control carpet and ICA's car.
JB objection - document admitted into evidence at #123 - then published to jury over defense objection.
06-06-2011, 11:16 AM #15
JA w/Dr Vass
2 high peaks.....highest was chloroform....chloroform is a decomp event compound in human decomp......reason we progressed was the result of chloroform shockingly high.... (object-overrule).....small peaks noted....tried to concentrate air sample.....used cryotrapping to concentrate....present w/Dr. Wise while analysis being done....removed piece of carpet from metal can....not sure if air in can was representative (object-ovrrule) what coming off the carpet....placed carpet in plastic tevlar bag- polyvinyl bag....placed carpet in bag and incubated it @ body temp....tevlar bag won't change sample.....incubate it because carpet sample came from trunk of car in FL anticipated quite warm - high 90's close to 100 degrees in trunk in FL, speeds up evolution of these compounds...estimated 2 days in analysis....
take air sample of bag - from that bag extrated 10 ml, thru cryo....to trap.....
identify sample not concentrated - present for all the post analysis......JB- almost everyone...(object-overrule)
51 indiv. chemical components out of 10 mil extracted from tevlar bag - chloroform present.....GCMS - chromatogram.....large peaks and tall peaks ...much more concentrated amount of material vs. small peak.....
largest peak called base peak ....base peakwas chloroform.....surprised? Shocked! never seen chloroform in those levels in 20 years......in human decomp have seen chloroform in parts per trillion ...very very small amounts.
attempt to quantify amount of chloroform - shot a standard - an analite.....chloroform ....to ensure it was chloroform....concentration of standard is known......rough approx. of (object- speculation - ovrrule)
chloroform was in the parts per Million range vs. Trillion range..
attempt to quantify.....need to purchase much more concentrated standards.....not more helpful to further test @ minimum........chloroform high rate of evap. much like gas.....(object-ovrrule) appears in top trunk first, @ tow yard, lower range in A' garage....lower in OCSO garage.......minimum range....
obtain a standard of the carpet from similar vehicle......
GCMS from control carpet and A's carpet.....enter demonstrative chart.....object-not testified to how obtained...who conducted test and reliabiitly...HHBP who conducted test ...both Dr. Wise and Dr. Vass conducted = HHBP data you reasonably rely upon for data in this case? Yes......Admitted into evidence
output of actual GCMS - which peak represents chloroform = tallest peak - @ 16 min.....(appears to go off the chart?) numbers @ left = abundance - rough approx. of how much material is present......top number 16 million in terms rough estimate how tall that peak......above 16millionish range.....sample from carpet from vehicle in this case.....also show other peaks....region @ lower right side compounds associated with gasoline....dozens of components ......benzy
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