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  1. #1
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    Dr. Timothy Huntington testimony (Asst Professor of Biology at Concordia in Nebraska)

    Dr. Tim Huntington is the next witness. He has asked if they can take breaks so that he can check his blood pressure.

    HHJBP - how long you plan to keep him up there Mr. Baez?

    JB - these things are hard to know. Not as long as Heather Seubert - but longer than a half an hour. It could be extensive.

    Jury coming back in.

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    JB - Dr. Timothy Huntington - cheat sheet for court reporter - Asst. Prof. of Biology @ Concordia U, Forensic Entomologist consultant - extra explaination of entomology evidence...Bach and Masters and PhD Entomology @ University of Nebraska Lincoln. Focus on entomology - forensics use of insects as evidence - board cert. trained, diplomate of Amer. Board of Forensic Entomology....currently 15 members - written publications and peer reviewed literature and non-peer reviewed popular papers as well...first study in undergrad. - entire Grad school - decomp entomology....most case work from LE, he is a Dep. Sheriff...honors forensic ent - there are none....has received awards for teaching and research....for LE ...(object-overrule) LE 65 times testified - death investigations majority homicide - normally @ scenes? whenever possible like to go scene - better if he can go bcause he knows what he is looking for and see in context - most time in Nebraska, Iowa, he collects his own - otherwise it is sent to him....he teaches classes, forensic science .....professional organization - diplomate highest level membership - qualificatations higher level education and more publications....he joined as member 2nd person to join as a member - submit publications- take exam 12 hours, lab exam and case study exam.....sidebar




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    Dr. Timothy Huntington

    9:04

    DIRECT EXAMINATION OF DR. TIM HUNTINGTON BY JB:

    He has a cheat sheet for the court reporter.

    He is assistant professor of biology at Concordia University and a forensic entomology consultant since 2002.

    BS in scient in biology, MS and PhD in entomology from University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

    Training - His entire focus has been forensic entomology - insect evidence.

    Certified diplomate of the American Board of Entomology - the only certifying agency in the world for forensic entomology. There are 15 members in the U.S.

    He has several publications and book chapters, as well as non-peer reviewed papers.

    He has conducted several studies. Entire graduate career focusing on forensic entomology.

    Consults with LE and works as a deputy sheriff.

    OBJECTION - SUSTAINED - disregard last statement

    Received awards from U of Neb and ABE.

    OBJECTION - OVERRULED

    Consulted for law enforcement 65 times. Likes to go to the scene when possible. Other than that, it gets sent to him.

    He has done a number of invited presentations to a number of different agencies, has traveled outside country, teaches a class at U of Neb as an adjunct professor and teaches at Concordia.

    Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic entomology - highest level. Qualifications - submit case studies, level of education and publications. At the time he joined, he was the second member to join. There is a 12 hour exam.

    OBJECTION by JA

    SIDEBAR #1 (9:15)

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    Dr. Huntington w/JB - received phone call from LKB on 12/08 would you be involved in this case? he flew down on 13th on Sat. and got a phone call on Thurs. night....info given to review in this case - evidence received was entomology reports from dr. Neil Haskell - later came to FL OCSO to view insects, car itself, insect material, later on vacuum sweepings from trunk liner received the report but not sweepings.....

    Entomology is science study of insects diverse field - agricultural states - deal with bugs attack food we eat.....other ones look @ bugs cockroaches, ......forensic entomology insects in dead people - there are insects infect people that are alive.....he does those cases as well.....field forensic entomology deals with time of death.....naturally all bodies sit for some period of time - rare LE is there @ time of death to discover the body.....time interval between death and discovery.....insects discover dead bodies very quickly-colonize a dead animal on side road - dead carcas on side of road green and blue flies around......lay eggs ....larvae ......


    draw out the info - mike him up with lavallier .....

    insects come in several categories - flies main examples - complete metamorphasis - butterfly - eggs hatch to larvae= fly maggots = small they eat - sole function to eat...first stage larvae maggot - starts to feed - insects are arthropod - exoskeleton means jointed foot - in ocean want to eat in on land want to step on it....cant get bigger without breaking out of exoskeleton - circadas leave shells behind....molten exoskeleton - crawl out of it - like snake get out of skin - crawl out of exoskeleton - get bigger -2nd stage - maggots associated with dead bodies - very easy to tell one stage from next - exoskeleton left behind - flimsy on maggots - disolves and small....can be of evidentiary value - maggots and find shed exoskeletons recent change you can say first to second stage......second stage maggots feed - turn to 3rd stage maggot - flies talking here 3 stages to adult 3 stages of maggots - elementary school, middle school and highschool maggots - when they finish feeding need to change into adult- like butterfly to metamorphasis - pupae - cocoon stage of fly - puparia this is exoskeleton of 3rd stage maggot - they are changing into adult fly - just like butterfly chrysalsis.....adult fly emerge out - ends pop open - wiggle out - flex out wings and let dry and fly off.....do they stay all where the body is.....depending on the species most of them with dead bodies crawl away from food source - entomology implications - gone stage from crawling feeding active energy phase - to dormant stage - cant run away ....lots like to eat this ...craw away from food source - get away to prevent other insects or animals to eat them...self preservation.....how far away? depends on species....teach workshops - tell CSI -look at least 30-40 feet away - recovered 60' feet away some are 100's of feet ...pile maggots - in center of courtroom - watch them crawl out corners and door nothing to eat here.....all depends on environment...

    how does that tell you how long person deceased - insects are cold blood....9 months to grow a baby for human core body temp----insects fluctuate temp....object - sidebar....




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  5. #5
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    Dr. Tim Huntington

    SIDEBAR OVER AT 9:17

    DIRECT EXAMINATION OF TIM HUNTINGTON BY JB

    OBJECTION BY JA MADE PRIOR TO SIDEBAR OVERRULED

    Testified as an expert witness 8 times.

    JB tender the witness as an expert in the field of forensic entomology - no objection by JA.

    He received a phone call from LKB on 12/11/08, asking for his involvement in this case. He then came to Florida on Saturday the 13th.

    He received the entomology reports of Dr. Haskel. He then came to FL and reviewed some of the evidence in house at the OCSO, insect evidence collected from the scene, trash bag from car, and reviewed the car. He later received a box of insect material.

    Dr. Haskel later received vacuum sweepings from the trunk liner of the vehicle which he has not yet received, but he has received Dr. Haskel's report, He is aware of the species of insects and number.

    Entomology - the study of insects - diverse field. Vast majority of entomologists will deal with agricultural insects. Other entomologists will work at urban insects. Forensic entomology is a sub discipline of medical-criminal entomology dealing with insects in dead people. Forensic entomology deals primarily with using insects to estimate the time of death - postmortem interval - time interval between death and discovery of the remains. Insects are important because they discovery dead bodies very quickly, colonizing a human. They lay eggs, which hatch into maggots (larval insects). Witness leaving stand to write on JB's big note pad.

    Flies are the main insects - they go through a complete metamorphosis - such as a butterfly. Flies hatch into maggots - starting small - their entire function is to eat. (Witness wrote too small and had to start a new page).

    Eggs hatch to maggots - first stage maggot starts to feed. Insects are arthropods (a phylum of animals that has an exoskeleton- insects, spiders, ticks). Skeleton is on outside of body and can't get bigger without getting outside their body. They crawl out of their skeleton like a snake crawls out of their skin. When they do that, they get bigger. Maggots then turn into a second stage - a little bit bigger. It is very easy to tell one stage from the next because they have different characteristics. The skeleton is left behind and it either dissolves or dries up. It can be significant if you can find them as it is indicative to the time of transition. The second stage maggots get bigger and turn into third stage maggots. (The flies go through 3 stages of maggots) When they finish feeding they need to change into an adult. They will pupate which takes place in a structure that is called a paradigm ?). The adult fly will then emerge, taking time to stretch out and flex their wings, and then they fly away from the food source, to prevent other insects or animals from eating them. They go at least 30-50 feet away - up to hundreds of feet, or as little as 10 feet.

    Insects are cold blooded. All organisms are dependent on temperature. Insect temperatures fluctuate with the environment.

    OBJECTION BY JA

    SIDEBAR #2 (9:37)

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    Dr. Tim Huntington

    [b]sidebar #2 over (9:47)

    jury excused for a brief recess

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    Dr. Huntington did not come up with Post Mortem Interval (pmi) - Dr. haskell didnt come up with exact PMI gave a time frame......maggots from trunk if you assume are from a decomposing body...you could give a PMI - any other topics ....is that all you plan to testify on that topic PMI isthere more? that should be sufficient....no further questions...

    JA - PMI could have been done under what circumstances - maggots from trash bag from trunk if you associate they came from a human body - PMI - approx. time of death...why were you not able to do that....could not make that assumption ...for him there was no reason to make the assumption the maggots came from a human body....make that assumption......

    JA actually - don't know about that it was the car....thought he was going to talk about the scene - apologise ......

    Another area @ sidebar from bench - take care of those now - both counsel agreed to not discuss another issue.....any other matters need to take up? take a short break for participants.....

    HHBP one of the things - Dr. Baez did you file Dr. Huntingtons report -we did way back when we have all order for the reports - can provide the court with another copy....Jb ask to be excused for 10 min recess.....

    5 past hour recess


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    DR. Tim Huntington

    PROFFER EXAMINATION OF DR HUNTINGTON BY JB (NO JURY)

    He did not perform a postmortem interval estimation in this case. Dr. Haskel did not conduct a specific pmi investigation. He did, however, say it was consistent with such and such date - depending on how you interpret.

    It could have been possible to determine a postmortem interval based on the maggots found in the trunk of the car in July 08. It was not done in this case.

    Are there any other topics? SORRY JUDGE

    Is that all you plan on testifying on that topic - on PMI? No.

    PROFFER EXAMINATION BY JA

    A PMI could have been done - with the maggots from the trash bag in the trunk, if you assume they came from a human body, then you could have estimated how long ago those were laid.

    He could not do that based on the evidence collected, for him there was no reason to assume they came from a human body. If you make that assumption, you could.

    JA - make that assumption.

    No more questions by JA.

    By JA - now that he knows they are talking about the car, they have no objections.

    JJHBP - another area of disagreement expressed at the bench, dealing with the scene. JA stated t

    JJHBP - Did you file Dr. H's report?

    JB - I believe I did.

    hey agreed they were not going to discuss that.

    SHORT BREAK TAKEN at 9:54 to 10:05

    (FG asks for a SIDEBAR #3 (Time taken out of break?)

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    Huntington - insects are cold blooded - know stage they are in, rate of development, and temperature.....simple math ......farmers know when to use certain herbicides or pesticides ....same concept for insects....add up the temperature with size of shells? doesn't have to do with size of a maggot or juvenile insect - has everything to do with how much they have eaten....stages are temp dependent and how old...first stage maggot hatched from an egg- @ 70degrees F. takes 8 hrs for it to hatch....when do this is legal or experimental setting.....take daytime temp, hourly temp whatever data available and tally those towards an accumulated degree days necessary for stage transitions.....basically math computation between temperature certain days and maggot stage....

    3 things forensic entomology needs to see how old insect is....first is stage and species of the sample....every species has a different rate of growth.....stage snapshot in time where in development in their cycle....
    second need - Devleopmental rates - experimentally constructed known temps and known samples of insects ....construct a growth curve - published throughout literature...he did his masters degree on this

    3rd needs - Temperatures experienced during development - very rare for someone to die next to a weather station ..... look for a data recording weather station.....hourly and daily temperatures.....one part town is cooler or raining another part of town is sunny....recording temperature device at the scene after evidcence recovered and log those temps to compare to weather station temps.....scene temps are typically 5 degrees warmer etc. and adjust to weather station data.......

    don't use live human cadavars to come up with studies? no people frown on this that typically.....body farm....human remains to decomp to study.....alternates for human cadavars ....less control want to know when body died and got there as a scientist cuz insects know immediately when body is dead.....where bodies come from are donated bodies....been dead for some period of time....we use pigs for idecomp studies.....readily available, kill pig for research, cheap very similar to humans physically, omnivores eat same food we eat....do a lot research with a pig can't get away with a human....done studies on decomp in trunk of car....do you have demonstative aides? certainly.


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    Huntington w/JB - place pigs into trunks of old vehicles from junk yard....used a Ford Probe and used 6 veh. - donated by tow company.....this is most intact vehicle...no obvious holes in it.....ever inspect Pontiac Sunfire ? yes 7/2010 (object - overrule) liner had been removed ....space or gaps unsealed spaces for insects to pass thru...


    this car match in the category....factory condition well sealed - no body damage -.. obtain pigs - place in trunk veh. Sept. in Nebraska - no flies on pig when close trunk - waited watch observe for insect colony....check it daily....watch for insects - weather was cool and rainy @ time....insects cold blooded...when cool down cold - we don't have bugs fly around...hot and sunny lots insects fly....rain greatly surpresses insect activity = cool weather also......

    pig in trunk - photo thru back windshield of that car with pig in trunk - live and dead flies lining back window ledge - blow flies most common insects colonize ....(object-?)
    when photo taken? day 10 in sept.....correlate that with FL weather in summer.....best estimate? are you qualified to say ....cooler in Nebraska than FL in Sept....

    blowflies - most important family of flies for forensic entomologist- green blue flies buzzing around road kill, most important show up very soon minutes to hours after death....you can be sleep in hammock in backyard - they are around you but if you have heart attack and die they will be on you in seconds - seen it 13 seconds after death after death of animal.......car sealed -car doors closed, windows up......

    flies dead in the car - of importance - fly gains access to sealed environment - person dies in a home - those adult flies don't find way out....attraction to stay with food is bigger than the force to flea the area....trap for them....fly traps work same the way....can't get out.....

    3rd pic - decompse remains of pig when open trunk on day 11 - decomp pig - these whitish spots are maggots fed on pig - actively crawl away and looking for a place to pupae - decomp fluid ring from pig as it decomps - fly colony starts in the head....disarticulate skeleton - maggot act.....flies attracked as he opened the trunk....black material decomp fluid - combo of body fluid, bacteria, waste, maggot waste secretions, that fluid leaches from body as decomp happens....stain distinguishable? object -

    Dr. do you know what stain is - Overrule

    Decomp fluid stain - most studies conducted have been in outdoor environment - this same stain reaches the ground .....cases like this with a mat or carpet very noticable - Object- sidebar!



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  11. #11
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    Dr. Tim Huntington

    JURY BACK (10:09)

    DIRECT EXAMINATION OF DR. HUNTINGTON BY JB - continued

    Witness goes back to easel.

    How does the bug activity tell you how long a person has been deceased? It all has to do with temperature. Cold blood insect's rate is dependent on temperature, if you know the stage, temperature and rate of development, it becomes a mathematical formulation. i.e. - farmer and degree day concept.

    Size of larva has everything to do with what they have eaten, not age. Temperature is important. 1st stage maggot, at 70 degrees it takes about 8 hours for it to hatch, then one knows it has been at least 8 hours since the eggs were laid.

    In a legal setting, they will take the daily temps, average daily temp or hourly temp, add them up towards a number of accumulated degree days that is necessary for the stage transitions. Mathematical computation between the days and the stages.

    3 things needed to estimate insect age - 1. stage and species of sample (every species has different developmental rate). 2. Developmental rates - experimentally constructed using known temps and insects - growth curve or chart), 3. temperatures - temps the insects experienced during development - they look for a weather data recording station nearby - then compare to the scene.

    JB - live human cadavers (what?)

    Witness then referred to info that comes from the Body Farm for data. Also, he finds it impractical to use human body research facilities because the bodies are donated and have been dead for some period of time long before they get to the site of decomp. Pigs are used because they are readily available, cheap and very similar to human's both physically as well as their digestive processes and they can do a lot of research with a pig that they can't do with humans.

    JB - showing the jury Defense Exhibit A-V - (JA - no objection as demonstrative only).

    Witness - a photo of a car. He was conducting research in 09/10 in S.E. Nebraska. He received some cars from a junk yard. He was looking at what kind of barrier a trunk will form on colonizing insects.

    OBJECTION BY JA - bolstering - SUSTAINED

    Goal of study was to place pig bodies in the trunks and allow them to decompose to see what insect activity happens. He used a Ford Probe, not a Sunfire. The vehicle in the photo is the most intact of those he used.

    He inspected the Pontiac Sunfire in 07/10. He looked at the trunk to see what kind of barrier

    OBJECTION BY JA - expertise in trunk condition - OVERRULED.

    The trunk of the Sunfire when he inspected it had the liner removed. He was looking for spaces or gaps or unsealed places that could allow an insect to pass through.

    The car in his study is well sealed and in factory condition. He had pigs killed and placed them in the trunk of the vehicle in September and closed the trunk. He then waited, watched for insect colonization. He checked it daily. Weather was cool and rainy. The cooler it is, the more it suppresses insect activity. Rain also suppresses.

    Next photo - taken through the back windshield (Exhibit D-AX). What you see is dead flies lining the back window ledge - blow flies - most common flies that colonize at a dead body

    OBJECTION BY JA - time frame?

    This photo was taken on Day 10 of the study.

    How does this relate to FL weather?

    OBJECTION BY JA - not qualified to make estimate - HHJBP - lets move on

    If the temp is hotter, there is more bug activity. It is cooler in Nebraska.

    The flies are blow flies - the most important flies to a forensic entomologist. Blow flies key in on dead animals. They show up in minutes to hours from death. They are outside and you don't notice them, but if you have a heart attack and die, they will be on you in a second. Fastest he's seen is 13 seconds.

    Flies trapped in car were not there initially. Car was closed, windows up. The fact the flies are dead in the car is important. A fly that gains access to a sealed environment - the adult flies don't fight their way out.

    Photo - Exhibit D-AW. This shows decomposed remains of pig when he opened the trunk on Day 11. White spots are maggots that have fed on pig and are actively crawling away from the pig and looking for a place to pupate. Decompositional fluid ring showing, extensive tissue loss - fly colonization starts in head and moves it way down. The maggot activity has caused disarticulation of skull. Some flies were attracted to the pig when he opened the trunk. Black material is decomp fluid - combo of body fluid, bacterial waste, maggot waste, maggot secretion. Is the stain distinguishable?

    OBJECTION BY JA - stain is not Dr.'s expertise - OVERRULED

    VOIR DIRE BY JA:

    What expertise are you bringing to talk about the fluid in the picture. Years and years of observation. He has never analyzed the fluid.

    HHJBP - OBJECTION OVERRULED.

    Decomp fluid - most studies and cases have been in outdoor environments. The fluid goes into the ground and is very distinguishable. In cases like this with a mat or carpet, it is very noticeable.

    OBJECTION BY JA - another discovery issue

    SIDEBAR #4 (10:39)

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    Dr. Tim Huntington

    SIDEBAR # 4 OVER (10:39-10:49)

    Jury sent out

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    Huntington - JB - tests can be done to suspected body fluid or soil assoc with decomp fluid.....

    HHBP said his report is not included in discovery

    HHBP all he needs - show to him in report or deposition.....what opinion he is going to give then let the atty's argue.....

    1/28/11 depo - pg 31 line 9-17...asked specifically decomp seen in trunk - hour, day or week sufficient to see...in FL in couple days see decomp saturate liner of the trunk.....straining and saturate carpet liner and fluid....
    JA - any other opinion - (counsel is busy texting)
    HHBP - do NOT want editorial comments - could care less what JB is doing or not doing all concerned with is proffer whether or not in his report vs. his depo is violation of court order....do not care if JB is standing on head or one leg....folks lets be professional


    JB ask question you were supposed to profer to see if this violates court order.....

    JB if body to decompose in car...what type fluid....what expect to see a day or two from decomp...the decomp fluid leaches from body has blackish stain....it will soak thru carpet liner into pad underneath....in a day or two hot temps - rapid bloat....insect activity - body fluids leech rapid - rupture of skin surface of the body..

    JB -slightly expand upon the qustion


    JA - it is not similar to answer he gave ...he now says he can identify color of fluid is no way in his depo....what occurs with decomp fluid not in his depo....outside of his forensic entomology - only other reference he made to trunk is pg 32 acknowledge detect foul odor.....object - to violate court order - and completely outside of his expertise...

    JB -he didn't ID color of decomp fluid - but decomp stain.....see a sort of decomp fluid staining saturating carpet liner in trunk...hundreds of other maggots - not outside of his area expertise - Dr. Neil Haskell testified - now argue an entomology is not qualified to answer now..

    HHBP - Dr. Haskell testified

    JB he testified about different stages of decomp - describe complete decomp involved...

    JA - no object to this witness to generality - object to stain of decomp look like and doesn't look like

    JB - Dr. Haskell took step further testified decomp and napkins in trash decomp - don't understand one expert can testify but another can not...

    HHBP - go to pg .28.....read pages 28-32.....after read both pages - you tell me both of you how similar or dissimilar to Dr. Haskell


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    HHbP reading from depo-

    JB = agreed both experts in field have been questioned about decomp

    HHBP - what is surprise Mr. Ashton

    JA - now trying to describe stain in the trunk ability to id' stain in trunk....doesn't claim to id adipocere - now witness claim whether stain in trunk is decomp or has to be a particular color - outside of expertise - he is entomologist

    HHBP - what did Dr. Haskell say?

    JA - can't off top head ever ask him about the stain - don't recall that he did....never asked him to ID stain - never shown exhibit never shown to him.....to his best recollection

    JB - testified as decomp - he rendered opinion he thought stain was...

    HHBp - let me pull his testimony on the 11th.... Dr. H. if you need to step down now go ahead...

    Dr. Huntington leaves

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    HHBP asks atty's to come up and read from his and start to scroll from page 14....


    CM, JB and JA all reading ...JB and CM point to something and leave JA to read.....AJ walks down from bench....CM looking at evidence packages....JB walking around courtroom...

    HHBP - anything else
    JB - nothing from defense
    JA - nothing about the stain - no problem with witness talking about ....if not in depo or report....
    HHBP - it does not violate court order....Dr Haskell was asked....the area of subject matter was decomp was there not earthshattering info....permit the Dr. to voice his opinion - if jury finds him to be an expert - subspecialty of insects.....MR. Baez....do not get too enthused to make him an expert in something he is not......

    Mr. Ashton you can question him about since you said you did not know...vs. total exclusion in a sub-specialty he is an expert in.

    JA = the phenothaline test is outside his expertise - not serology

    HHBP - you can ask him about it - there are tests to conduct for certain things - as far as details of those test but administer those tests are something different.....without determine his experience would be asking to guess...




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