Casey Anthony
Joe Burbank  /  AP
Casey Anthony appears in court during her trial on Saturday, June 11, 2011, at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Fla.
msnbc.com news services
updated 6/14/2011 5:39:20 PM ET 2011-06-14T21:39:20

A forensic expert said Tuesday that heart-shaped stickers were found in Casey Anthony's bedroom but didn't testify whether the items were linked to a similar outline observed on duct tape on the body of the Florida woman's slain 2-year-old daughter.

Even so, the stickers shown at the 25-year-old's murder trial over the objection of defense lawyers were powerful images just before the prosecution wraps up its case. Prosecutors plan to rest Wednesday after some last-minute housekeeping items.

The defense is expected to call its first witness Thursday, assuming a standard motion it plans to file asking for the judge to throw out the case is denied.

The prosecution detailed during several weeks of testimony in the trial, which has gained national attention, a largely circumstantial case. Prosecutors have said the girl was murdered and speculated she was suffocated, though a medical examiner testified the means by which the death occurred were undetermined.

Prosecutors have been able to build their case on Casey Anthony's conduct and the lies she told about her daughter's whereabouts during the month Caylee Anthony was missing. Soon it will be the defense team's turn to counter the evidence. The defense maintains the girl drowned in a pool.

Tuesday's testimony included discussion of some of the physical evidence investigators found.

Crime scene investigator Alina Burroughs told jurors the heart-shaped stickers were found in a box and a scrapbook, along with a letter addressed to Caylee Anthony.

Another investigator previously testified she noticed the outline of a heart on one of three pieces of duct tape while examining it under ultra-violet lighting. There were no pictures taken of what she saw, though.

Neither investigator conclusively linked the stickers to the outline. Also, the description of the outline appeared to be a different size than the stickers found in the defendant's bedroom.

FBI quality control manager Catherine Theisen testified that a hair strand found in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car showing signs of human decomposition was a DNA match to hairs found with toddler Caylee Anthony's decomposed skull. The trunk hair and skull hair also were DNA matches to skin cell samples taken from Casey Anthony.

Also Tuesday, the defendant's mother, Cindy Anthony, took the stand for the third time.

Story: FBI examiner found heart shape on Caylee Anthony duct tape

She started crying as the prosecutor asked her about a photo of Caylee Anthony in which the child was wearing the shirt found with her remains in December 2008. Cindy Anthony said the first time she ever saw that shirt was when she gave her deposition after the child went missing.

Later, a tattoo artist testified that Casey Anthony had a tattoo of the words "Bella Vita," or "beautiful life" in Italian, etched on her back on July 2, 2008. She returned on July 15 and scheduled another appointment for a few days later. Her daughter was reported missing on July 15, 2008, though, according to the tattoo artist, Casey Anthony told him she planned to bring her daughter in with her during her next appointment.

"She didn't seem upset or anything. She was happy for the most part," the tattoo artist, Bobby Williams, told jurors.

___

Associated Press writers Freida Frisaro and Harry R. Weber in Miami contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: In Anthony trial, prosecutors focus on duct tape

  1. Closed captioning of: In Anthony trial, prosecutors focus on duct tape

    >>> with this new drama at casey anthony 's murder trial. as prosecution prepares to wrap up the case, nbc's kerry sanders joins us from orlando with more on this story. kerry, good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning, ann. the prosecutors are entering their fourth week now in testimony. so far, they've laid out for the jury casey 's lies, recorded jailhouse conversations, and scientific evidence , including the medical examiner's forensics. casey anthony 's defense team claims there never was a murder. 2-year-old caylee anthony accidentally drowned in the backyard swimming pool. but the medical examiner says, that doesn't square with the way parents react in crisis.

    >> 100% of the time, let's say on a systemic review of drownings, it says one of the more common accidents, 100% of the time when the person finds the child, they call 911 because there is a chance that that child might live. there is -- they need to report that and give them a chance.

    >> reporter: but no one ever called for help in this case. dr. g, as she's known, because of her cable tv reality show made the key determination that led to casey 's murder charges. with only skeletal remains and no idea how caylee died, dr. g still ruled caylee's death a homicide. defense attorney cheney mason.

    >> you are saying that evidence to you it probably was a homicide.

    >> not probably, i think that is the only logical conclusion.

    >> reporter: a conclusion she told jurors she reached because of several red flags . that caylee was not reported missing for 31 days, that her body was hidden in a bag and dumped in the woods, and because of duct tape .

    >> besides the delay, besides the being found in a field decomposed, would be the duct tape somewhere located on the lower half of this face. there is no child that should have duct tape on its face when it dies. there's no reason to put duct tape on the face after they die.

    >> reporter: to emphasize that point in a clip too graphic for us to show on television, prosecutors showed caylee's face super imposed over her skull, and the duct tape from the crime scene then placed across her mouth and nose. included in that picture chosen for that demonstration, the adused murderer, casey , smiling at the camera. casey studied the image when the jury was out of the room. when the jury was back in court, she looked away and never once glanced at the monitor. defense attorney jose baez called the image prejudicial and asked for a mistrial.

    >> served only one purpose, was to inflame the jury.

    >> reporter: but the judge said --

    >> anything else from the defense?

    >> nothing.

    >> reporter: -- way up to the end of the trial so things move forward. meantime, this thursday it will be three years since caylee died. three years since caylee died, a 2-year-old little girl . it's taken longer to get to this point than she was alive, ann.

    >> point well taken. kerry sanders , thank you so much. savannah guthrie is "today's" legal correspondent. good morning to you. there was a lot about this video shown with casey 's face superimposed over this image of caylee's face and the skull. they're asking for a mistrial, saying this photo is highly prejudicial. could this actually lead to a mistrial?

    >> the judge has denied the mistrial but he did say the defense can bring it up later if it wants to, if there's a conviction. this might be one of the points raised on appeal. it was very powerful. for one thing, it demonstrated for the jurors that one single piece of duct tape could conceivably have fit over both her mouth and her nose. it was powerful emotionally because this photograph, of course, had casey anthony , the beaming mother, right next to this adorable little girl and it morphs into the skull, the actual photo from the scene where caylee's body was recovered. it was very powerful. i will say this, none of the prosecution experts have been able to say definitively that the duct tape was placed over the nose and the mouth. and without that kind of definitive evidence, some jurors might have a question about how she died.

    >> they're paying attention to this powerful testimony from the medical examiner. and she made a comment about how she said caylee's death was a homicide even though she couldn't actually pinpoint how she died. the question -- raises the question, how common is nonscientific testimony from a medical examiner in a case like this?

    >> it was interesting moment because actually this happened during cross-examination and yet i thought it was a strong moment for the prosecution. we are in the middle of a trial. fourth week now. and the testimony starts to kind of all flow together. this was a moment that stood out because here the medical examiner is putting the pieces to the for the jurors saying, you know, this death was not reported immediately, this child had duct tape on her face. and that's just not the normal course of business . this is a homicide. but at the same time, as you point out, this medical examiner could not rely on science to tell the jurors exact li how this child died. she had to rule it was homicide by undetermined means.

    >> meantime, over the course of the past week we have seen riveting images of casey looking at some of these pictures of her daughter and just emotional and having to leave the courtroom at one point. at some -- is there a possibility that this could actually create some sympathy in the jury for a mother who has lost her daughter.

    >> it might. i know that all of us who watch this, we all look at the defendant, we're always pouring over her reaction trying to learn something about her. in my experience, jurors, they do look at the defendant but not as much as observers like us do. they usually have their eyes on the witness stand or on the screens that are in front of them looking at some of the evidence. but they will still glance at the defendant. they will try to take a measure of this person president to the extent that her emotions are appropriate, seeing these awful pictures of her daughter, her skeleton lying in the woods, yes, casey anthony cried a little bit and jurors, i think, would expect that kind of reaction.

    >> savannah guthrie this morning. thank you. always great to get your perspective.

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