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Thread: Dr. Jane Bock testimony (PhD in botany)

  1. #1
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    ______________________________
    RIP Caylee Marie♥

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    Dr. Jane Bock testimony (PhD in botany)


    Dr. Jane Bock - 30-40 years teaching botany, PhD in Botany, written 80 peer reviewed papers, 3 books and edited 1, multiple associations professional, given testimony forensic botanist re: remains moved from one place to another....no objections to her admitted as an expert witness in forensic botany.

    items reviewed photos taken by ME and SO, visited the discovery scene, read several printed docs concerning case - reivew ME report, description of recovery site in Welch's report, read report of forensic botanist...visited scene 2/1/09 didn't take photos - Patrick McKenna was with her and he took pics of the crimes ...not crimes ....recovery site....large picture board being held up to her...

    this is one of the pic Pat. McKenna took while she was @ recovery scene - received in evidence - publish

    JA suggests lavallier mikes







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    Dr. Bock said remains were placed there approx 2 weeks prior to discovery...due to pattern of leaf litter...

    vegetation found in the car vs. vegetation found @ scene - not in agreement with the vegetation (object- no foundation) ....

    Dr. Bock - review a report from Dr. D. Hall items found in or under veh. driven by kc....he described vegetation and veg fragments associated with the vehicle.....what kind veg found? ....

    missed some

    review report by Dr. Hall 2/9/09 date....that report....

    trained botanists estimate how long a root has been alive if don't know the root - solely by measuring the diameter of the root?
    object- sidebar!


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    Dr. Jane Bock

    9:33

    DIRECT EXAMINATION OF DR. JANE BOCK BY DS

    She is a botanist, specializing in plant ecology, plant anatomy and forensic botany - the application of plant science to matters of the law.

    Education - BS in botany from Duke, MS in botany, and PhD in botany. She is a retired biology professor and still teaches a little bit.

    Publications - 80 peer reviewed papers. Books - authored three books and edited a third. 2 books are on plant ecology, one is on forensic biology and botany and the edited one is on plant ecology.

    Research support - 30 year academic career continuos research support NSF, and other governmental entities.

    Professional organization - ACFS, IAI, Botanical Society of America and a couple of others.

    Trial testimony experience - she has testified 50+ times in court, including depositions. She has offered testimony in forensic botany to determine if remains had been moved?

    JA - No objection to witness being used as a forensic botanist.

    In this case, she has seen photos by the ME and CSI and she has visited the discovery scene and has read several printed documents - the ME's report, description of recovery site by Ms. Welch. Also, reports from David Hall.

    She visited the remains site on 2/1/09. She didn't take photos, but Patrick McKenna took photos for her.

    She identified one of the photos McKenna took. Photo marked as Exhibit 29 with no objection from JA and published to the Jury.

    She described the ground cover as "leaf litter", a general term used for leaves that fall off vegetation over arching the area. The litter accumulates. There were also pieces of sticks and needles from evergreen plants.

    Her opinion of shortest period of time that Caylee's remains could have been at the scene was 2 weeks. She could not tell when the remains were placed there.

    Opinion basis - the pattern of the leaf litter.

    Vegetation found in ICA's car, it was her opinion that it is not in agreement.

    OBJECTION BY JA - SUSTAINED

    She reviewed Dr. Hall's report setting out items of vegetation found in and under the vehicle - bits of leaves - especially from a camphor tree. There is no camphor tree at the remains site.

    Regarding Dr. Hall's 2/9/09 report -

    OBJECTION BY JA - comments on someone else's report - OVERRULED

    Does the field of botany trains botanist to estimate how long a root has been alive solely by measuring the diameter of a root?

    SIDEBAR #1 - 9:47

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    Looking at pics of the skull & ICA
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    I missed DS questioning....

    Cross

    JA - from Colorado? how much time spent working in FL....was site of PhD thesis. in 1966
    actual work in FL in 1960 - moving up and down FL looking @ water hyacinths and distribution in fresh water bodies and semi-marine areas...other projects studied food habits of tortise....1980 off and on thru 1990. her parents lived here - came to see them...used field guides to become familiar with thousands plant speices to further botanical non-native and native plants.....in general and continues to now....study botany in FL

    most of work has been studying grasslands - part of work and big piece of it grasslands here and in South America....agree different areas of the country have unique botanical ecology....visit area where body was found...reviewed large number of photos from scene in various stages of exploration and pristine....frequently wet?
    characterized as a swamp-hardwood....part of the plants are upward so not wet all the time ....not all the time underwater but frequently under water?
    occassionally under water or wet....
    statements to counsel that body could have been there in as little as 2 weeks....based upon all botanical information in this case....hair mass roots grown there in as little as 2 weeks....grown or accumulated in 2 weeks? yes both.....

    canvas laundry bag roots growing into the fabric - could have occurred in 2 weeks in December...roots growing into the bones.....saw photos and also saw bones.....opinion growth into the bone could have grown into the bone in 2 weeks in Dec.....not expert on bones/osteology...roots to penetrate substances yes.....never experienced working witha decomposing skeleton?

    Dr; B has dealt with looked @ evidence of skeletons in place for several years....yes and no is not so easy.....looked @ bone where root grown into skeleton....recall depo 2/12/11 pg 64 & 65----ever examine skeleton where plants and roots grown into the skeleton...answer no but done classes....bone? trying to think...clay....no bones doesn't sound like me.....

    she observed forensic archeologist perhaps 10 yr old skeleton did see roots ....should have qualified what she said but didn't even think about that @ time....experience w/roots grown into bone is extremely limited =yes.

    in photos viewed - leaf liter built up on skull up to area of lower portion of the eyes......photos of skull as it was found in pristine form with leaves? yes perhaps...don't know when individual leaves were....

    pic buried up to nose or ear area on the skull....leaf litter collected up to the jaw and nose...leaf litter and humus....whatever it is it is collected to that height - that amount of leaf litter can collect and pile up in that form in just 2 weeks?

    other considerations about this picture.....yes that high leaf litter in just 2 weeks.

    recognize this as photo of skull when returned to ME office with leaf litter collected around it...yes...agree this reflects leaves of varying degrees of decomposition some still green, some yellow some brown, some completely gray...yes....reflection of various decomp levels also reflection of when the leaves fell from trees...some fall when no cholorophil left....some shed when still green....all decomp of leaves around the skull could occur in just 2 weeks in December? left side of the skull or the right side? either side....she doesn't understand how the collection was made.....ME investigator put hands 6" - 8" either side of the skull tried to lift all leaf litter in around and under skull......moved some toward skull - hard not to....leaves have clearly been off the trees for longer than 2 weeks?? and lying other things perhaps.....skull been there for alot longer than 2 weeks? given your hypothesis it had laid there undisturbed all that time answer would be yes.....what is it you are basing thought on other than leaf litter just discussed.....the big cardboard picture....all leaf litter there accumulated on ground that was scraped there by 15th of decemeber - are you familiar with leaf fall rates on trees indiginous to FL? yes!

    If I may - defense exhibit #29 - big pic - what you are saying the amount of leaves here occurred here in approx 6 weeks...not covering ground? in some places is and isn't....lavellier mike for her


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    JA w/Dr Bock -

    agree with left side of photo has considerable more amount of leaf litter than right side @ that time....people trampling around, wind action, animals, and the nature of the trees themselves - just as root growth and leaf fall depends upon the type of plant it was....evergreens constantly shed a few leaves at a time....other plants just drop leaves in the fall....important to compare same spot to same spot - where was the skull? to the best of her understanding - she was told by someone who was not actually there @ site....Mr McKenna visited the scene with others the week before with LKB and other forensic people were there with him so she suspects they were correct....she points out an area she was shown....

    Dr Bock not prepared to render any opinion when Caylee's body was left @ the scene...she thought she had rendered one.....not prepared to render opinion as to when the body was placed....NO! I did render an opinion when remains were left there - a couple of weeks before...

    during depo in ....render an opinion in this case ......she answered NO.....if she said it she meant it however it was tendered.....allows her to read the context of her depo.....


    she reads..they were discussing Greely Colorado @ the time...she knows why she said that....answered No in February but yes today....she doesn't know exactly when it was placed there but best guess was given today....a minimum of 2 weeks not a maximum of 2 weeks...not opinion body had been there 2 weeks only - It's possible , but longer than two weeks? Yes



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    DS - how many years studied plants and botany in semi-tropical regions? 30 years....throughout her time as a professor 31 years at least...if bone fragment has a hole in it...can a root grow into that hole? no...an opening in a bag or opening of any kind - it can......leaf litter on that log? no! inspired me to look @ log - if it had been turned over or any documents about the log....in officer Welch's summary reports discussed took 2 people to move it...any identification of plant material un der or t o the side of the log? no --what info could give you? (object-overrule_) if it had been moved and how far along decay was and some other plants in the area....humus and leaf litter - ask witness to stand down....

    humus top layer w/most organic matter broken down leaf litter, soil, bugs, as you move down gets more rocky....

    sketch represents leaf fall and twigs and remnants of roots appear right on top of humus area ...thru process of decay will eventually incorporate into the humus layer....conditions of photos was it wet? Object- which photos....sustain

    photos of when remains were removed ....same object- sustain

    item placed on leaf litter and it wet and the humus is wet can that item sink? yes

    resume seat Dr.

    Re-Recross?

    JA - ask counsel to move easel back if done with it...thank you...Dr. testimony this skull sank into leaf litter? could have - I dont know...or been pushed....or could have been there for several months and leaf litter accumulated...were you aware that one of the bones was buried 4" into the muck? no....the hip bone was buried in 4" of humus...indicate that bone had been there for a long time - it could or a dog buried it...A dog? or a cayote...we don't have those here.

    Dr excused




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    Dr. Jane Bock

    9:50

    DIRECT EXAMINATION OF DR. BOCK BY DS - continued

    She can not tell how old the roots are by looking at the roots in photos because she does not know what plants the roots came from - growth rates - mineral nature of the soil, water, other plant roots in the area - environmental factors.

    Determining root growth rate - must know what type plant and time-space observations done with a ruler, notebook and camera or you would do it in a lab.

    No further questions.

    CROSS EXAMINATION BY JA

    She is from Colorado. Florida was the site of her PhD and has had individual research projects in Florida. Got her PhD in 1966 from UC Berkley. PhD work was looking at the distribution of water hyacinths up and down the state. She also studied the food habits of the tortoise in Florida from 1980 to 1990. She was also friends of Robert Long who wrote the first book on flora in Florida. She has used field guides to become familiar with thousands of plants in Florida in general, not for this case.

    She visited recovery area and reviewed a large number of photos from pristine form to excavation. This botanical area has been characterized as a swamp/hardwood - but that is an interesting term. Part of the plants are upland plants that are not wet all the time.

    Opinion that body could have been there as little as 2 weeks is based on looking at all of the material in this case. Photos of roots growing through hair mass - roots could have accumulated in as little as two weeks. They also could have grown there in as little as two weeks. Roots growing through laundry bag - this could also have occurred in only 2 weeks in December. Roots growing into bones - she saw photos and actual bones - this growth is suspected to have been able to have grown in 2 weeks, but she is not an expert on bones.

    She has seen root growth in skeletons. Regarding her 2011 depo - she answered that she had not had experience with root growth in skeletons. She now says - not in teaching. However, she belongs to an organization and was present at a crime scene where she observed a 10 year old skeleton where she saw roots. She did not think about this when the question was asked in her depo.

    Her experience in root growth in bones is limited.

    In the photo of the skull (Exhibit S-211) (ICA looking away) - leaf litter or possibly hummus collected to the height of the nose area. This could accumulate in two weeks.

    (Exhibit S-213) (ICA still looking away) photo of skull returned to ME with the leaf litter around it collected with it. She agreed the leaves are in varying degrees of decomp - some green, some yellow, some brown and some completely grey. This is a reflection of when the leaves fell from trees.

    She doesn't understand exactly how this collection was made. JA told her that the ME put his hands approx 6 inches on either side of the skull, reached into the ground at dirt level and tried to lift the entire leaf litter around the skull.

    Given the hypothesis....

    (OBJECTION BY DS - overruled)

    that this had laid there undesturbed, then yes this would have been there longer than 2 weeks.

    Her opinion is based on the fact that the litter that was displayed in the 2/09 picture was accumulated on ground that was scraped bare by the 15th of December. (D-29)

    She is familiar with leaf fall rates for trees indigenous to Florida.

    In D-29 the amount of leaf litter could have been the same as that shown in the photo. She did not measure the leaf litter in any area.

    (ICA continues to look down and shake her head)

    Why no leaf fall on right side of photo?

    OBJECTION BY DS - OVERRULED

    Why is that? Several possibilities - people trampling around. This was a frequently visited spot after the recovery. Another is wind action, animals is another and the nature of the trees themselves. Leaf fall rates depend on the kind of tree. This flora is semi-tropic and some plants are evergreen and maintain leaves all year long, but still shed leaves. Other plants just drop leaves in the fall.

    She indicated where on this photo she was told the skull was found. Mr. McKenna showed her the location. He had visited the scene earlier with LKB and other forensic scientists.

    Can you render an opinion as to when the remains were placed? She then said she did render one. It is her opinion that it was a couple of weeks before.

    2/12/11 depo - she said "NO" she wasn't able to render an opinion as to how long before the remains were found that they were placed there. She knows why she said that - she doesn't know exactly when it was placed there. The minimum of two weeks is her best guess. That is not the maximum. It is also possible it was a great deal longer than 2 weeks.

    No further questions.

    REDIRECT EXAMINATION BY DS

    The remains are in a semi-tropical area. She has studied plants in semi-tropical areas for 30 years and has taught this for 31+ years.

    If a bone fragment has a hole in it, a root cannot grow in the hole. Depending on what kind of root, it can grow into an opening.

    She saw the log near the remains. She did not see fallen leaf-litter on that log. That inspired her to look at the log to determine if it had turned over or laid in that position for a long time. JW's summary report indicated it took 2 people to move it so she supposed it was heavy. What information...

    OBJECTION BY JA - OVERRULED

    She believed indications regarding leaf litter could have indicated many things.

    Hummus and leaf litter - she was asked to draw hummus and leaf litter. The top layer of soil is hummus. She drew an example. Then remnants appear on top and through the process of decay they get incorporated into the hummus.

    Conditions...

    OBJECTION BY JA - SUSTAINED

    Photos of remains prior to being removed -

    OBJECTION BY JA - question withdrawn

    If you place an item on leaf litter and the leaf litter and hummus are very wet, the item can sink.

    No further questions.

    RE-RE-CROSS EXAMINATION BY JA:

    The skull could have sunk. She was not aware that one of the bones had been buried in 4" of muck. This could have been buried by a dog.

    Witness excused at 10:35

    Recess for Jury to 10:55, attorneys to be back at 10:50.

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