Jeff Ashton Blows His Cool – Is the Prosecution a Sinking Ship?

By John Kays

“Well, she’s fashionably lean, and she’s fashionably late. She’ll never wreck a scene, she’ll never break a date. But she’s no drag, Just watch the way she walks. She’s a twentieth century fox, she’s a twentieth century fox. No tears, no fears, no ruined years, no clocks. She’s a twentieth century fox, oh yeah.” Twentieth Century Fox – The Doors

The atmosphere in Courtroom 23A on Thursday was brittle, explosive; tense is a word that better resembles a euphemism, especially with regards to the veteran prosecuting attorney, Jeff Ashton. Ashton was ‘tense’ the entire time, but at two points Jeff obviously blew up!

One juncture of volatility was when Jeff questioned the relevance of DNA on the shovel, the other sparking moment was when Jose Baez asked FBI DNA expert, Heather Seubert, why she was conducting a DNA paternity test (at the request of Orange County detective, Nick Savage) for Lee Anthony.

My suspicions were that Jeff’s behavior could be explained away by the fact that he sees his case melting like The Wicked Witch of the West (when Dorothy douses her with baptismal water), right before his very eyes. I took meticulous notes on Thursday’s smokin’ testimonies, and I recognized it as a sterling day for the defense.

Every witness plowed down to the ground the prosecution’s case, systematically bit by bit. Let’s see here, there was Gerardo Bloise (again), Heather Seubert, Lorie Gottesman, Jennifer Welch, and Robin Maynard. All of these witnesses jabbed some black holes in the prosecution’s fragile fabric of circumstantial evidence.

So I’ll tell you briefly what each witness did to suggest the possibility of reasonable doubt (as to Casey’s guilt) to the jury, but I urge you to experience for yourself the entire sizzling day uncut.

Gerardo Bloise, a CSI for Orange County, helped to eliminate the possibility of any crime occurring in Tony Lazzaro’s car. Bloise also inspected Casey’s clothes in her closet, and didn’t detect any blood on her clothes, including the all important brown pants that Casey was wearing on June 16, 2008.

Heather Seubert gives a wealth of information that negates the culpability of Casey. A spare tire cover (Q13) tested negative for blood when the phenolphthalein test was applied. Q23 (another spare tire swab), Q24 (carpet lining in trunk) and Q25 (right side of trunk liner) also tested negative for blood.

Nor did Heather find any DNA traces in the now infamous trunk. This is odd, why wasn’t any DNA of Caylee deposited in the trunk, if her body was left there for three or four days? Decomposition fluid is highly pungent, yet none was found. The Sunfire was confiscated in July of 2008. Not enough time (one month) for DNA to evaporate.

Q33-Q43 are evidence items, mainly some clothes in Casey’s closet. Pants, blouses, shirts, skirts, that sort of thing. While many of these clothing items had stains or remnants of stains, each and every one tested negative for blood (when the phenolphthalein test was applied). Q44 was a spare tire carpet that had a dingy brown stain on it, that tested negative for blood also. Moreover, no DNA was present on the carpet. Then what was the dingy brown stain comprised of? The FBI never tells us.

Q46 is a shovel, and also provides us with an emotional crescendo, when Jeff Ashton blows up and requires a reprimand from Judge Perry. “Mr. Ashton, calm down!” Ms. Seubert thought she noticed female DNA on the shovel, but couldn’t confirm this, since the sample, using Touch DNA, was below the threshold of 50 RFU (if I absorbed my nuclear DNA lecture sufficiently).

The peak of Heather Seubert’s biting testimony (to the prosecution), if it’s possible to surpass the ‘Shovel Incident,’ was the revealing duct tape (Q62-Q64) exposition. To summarize (ever a deadly game), Heather couldn’t come up with any DNA (tied to either Caylee or Casey) on the sticky side of the Henkel duct tape.

Disturbingly enough, she did detect some DNA on the tape. This ended up belonging to FBI agent Lorie Gottesman. Lorie said she never took the sample out of the plastic evidence wrapper.

So how did her chromosomes get on the most important evidence in the entire case? I’m not calling her a liar, but she must be mistaken, Gottesman had to have removed the duct tape from the protective covering!

Am I wrong? This is another major mistake made by an FBI professional. Jose Baez made a good point. If the duct tape was applied violently to Caylee’s mouth, a good amount of DNA should have been left on the sticky side of the duct tape. But since the strip of tape was contaminated by a FBI expert, it’s impossible to ever know.

Robin Maynard was the CSI who actually collected 313 (the crimson heart sticker with cardboard). What is clear, however, is that this object (which grows in importance to the attorneys, jurors and even we the audience) was originally discovered a full 30 feet away from the skull (Area A).

Ron Murdock, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department Forensics’ supervisor, reaffirmed the considerable distance of the heart-shaped sticker from the original deposit location of the body.

Baez was able to show this sleazy little park on Suburban Drive in Orlando, Florida was nothing more than a dumping ground. Beer bottles, pop bottles, Mazda blue signs; in short, every type of trash imaginable was tossed there.

Is it too much of a leap of faith to suspect the little heart was just another chunk of trash? Not for me. Couple this with the fact that Lorie Gottesman couldn’t see any trace of a heart-shaped residue on the duct tape (which the prosecution claims is the murder weapon), after conducting a Video Spectral Comparatore (VSC) on said duct tape.

Jennifer Welch (who we’ve seen three times previously) just reminds us that tons of trash was collected from the crime scene. I’m providing you with a photo of some of the trash collected. Linda Burdick was right, this sight was a veritable, TRASH DUMP! So how did the CSI know what was trash and what was evidence, other than bones?

Why wasn’t there any decomposition fluid (that would deposit good DNA) on the trunk carpet of the Pontiac Firebird? And why did Jeff Ashton blow up like the Hindenburg on Thursday?

And is the prosecution’s case a sinking boat (like the Titanic) on stormy seas? Heather Seubert gave em nothin’. And Lorie Gottesman embarrassed none other than the FBI. Believe it or not, now Judge Perry is acting nicer to Mr. Baez. There’s a telling harbinger for you!

“She’s the queen of cool, and she’s the lady who waits. Since her mind left school, It never hesitates. She won’t waste time on elementary talk. ‘Cause she’s a twentieth century fox, She’s a twentieth century fox. Got the world locked up inside a plastic box.”

John Kays follows interesting current legal events that often have unusual twists and turns.

Trade Ambassador Philip Kapneck Surfs the Wave of Goodwill While Creating Jobs in a Bad Economy

During the past years when the recession was starting to take hold and change the American way of life and the American dream, there were those who worked harder and longer each day to help their fellow citizens, keep their heads above water.  One of these individuals was Maryland Trade Ambassador Philip Kapneck, who was able to contact and reconnect with business and industry he attracted to the USA over the past 30 years, that created jobs for individuals in Maryland.

Since the recession, Ambassador Kapneck called on the same companies after he helped to set up their businesses in past years, and surfing the wave of goodwill, to help find jobs for people who lost theirs with other companies.  While this was not one of his duties, he felt that it was essential to help those in need of work.

Ambassador Kapneck does not want any notoriety or press coverage about his work, but it seems that the press has a yearning to cover his unselfish work in helping others.

People like Ambassador Kapneck and their hard work are responsible for 2011’s third straight month in creating new employment over the 200,000 mark in the USA.

Through research we were able to supply a list of some positions that Ambassador Kapneck held and some he is still holding as follows:

  • Delegate to the Maryland State Convention
  • He was appointed by Governor Marvin Mandel to open Maryland’s first overseas office in Brussels, Belgium as the State’s Trade Ambassador. He assisted the Federal Government in “Invest in the USA”.
  • He was appointed by Secretary of Business and Economic Development to represent the State of Maryland with international companies in Asia and the South Pacific.
  • He was appointed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Rowlings as Special Advisor Ambassador/Maryland Trade Ambassador to assist companies in New Zealand and Australia doing business in the USA.
  • He has been appointed by each administration to date, since his first appointment to Belgium over 30 years ago, and is still serving as Maryland Trade Ambassador.

Ambassador Kapneck’s ability to achieve the goals set before him, and always extending a helping hand, when it is possible to do so, has made him an icon in his own time, from his success in attracting business and industry to the creation of jobs.

To learn more about Hon Philip Kapneck: Trade Ambassador Kapneck Official Site: http://tradeambassadorkapneck.com.

If you would like to nominate someone to be featured in out next story, email them to newsroom@thesop.org.

The Holocaust as Seen Through the Eyes of Students at Park Vista High School

The Holocaust and other tragedies in history may seem unimaginable to today’s youth. But Park Vista High School came up with an innovative and stimulating program to bring awareness of these atrocities to students that also translated into relevant issues facing teens today. For three months, they have studied the White Rose resistance movement, when a group of courageous college students almost their own age from Munich were the first to stir up the ranks of Hitler’s Nazis during l942-3. Students honored those who lived and died during that time on Holocaust Remembrance Day last month when they wore white roses, most probably a symbol of peace and purity. Donations from the effort were sent to the Save Darfur Coalition.

Mr. Moskovic from Hobe Sound was l3 years old when he was taken by the Nazis and when he was released in l945, was the only surviving member of his family. He escaped death three times from nothing short of miracles. His goal in sharing with students is “to keep the memory alive and to help our youth carry the truth in the future so people don’t forget.”  Students also shared how they have grown from the project, similar to PSAs, and posters which are part of a large quilt that covers a wall in the main cafeteria.

The White Rose program at Park Vista was made possible through a grant provided by LEAH, the League for Educational Awareness for the Holocaust based in Boca Raton, an organization that educates and advocates about the Holocaust and other genocides. It seeks to engage teachers in inspiring and motivating students to actively contribute to a kinder, more compassionate world.  To date, LEAH has funded more than 300 education grant awards which have touched the lives of 36,000 students in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

The White Rose group are most well-known for their leafleting and a secret organization started by Sophie and Hans Scholl of which several award-winning movies, documentaries, books and plays have been made. All seven members were convicted of treason and beheaded at a very young age.

Media Specialist and coordinator of the school-wide program, Brigitta McTigue, spent her early years growing up in Munich, Germany where Sophie and her brother Hans Scholl and the White Rose students were considered heroes.

“Our l6 and l7 year olds need to know this, so that they learn how to deal with prejudice, bigotry, bullying, and other human rights issues they face today. We hope this program has given them some tools to become more tolerant in their daily lives and to find healthy ways to stand up to hurtful and cruel actions done to other people merely because of differences.”

Also collaborating and working together on the project was Sue Mehok, English teacher, as well as reading and social studies classes. Activities included reading chapters or books about the White Rose movement and watching the film “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days.”

“As we teach students about the Holocaust, and other examples of genocide such as Darfur, Rwanda and Bosnia we are in a very real way repairing the world,” said Amanda McGee, executive director of LEAH. “They are taking the lessons that happened in the Holocaust of these very brave young people in the White Rose movement so that they can hopefully become better human beings.”

Educational programs such as these are designed to help children learn about time periods and events that may seem incomprehensible to them.

“They have no concept of what freedom is, because they have it,” said Ms. Mehok.

While many schools offer only a few paragraphs in their history books about the Holocaust, Park Vista High School has a dedicated program, under the leadership of Eileen Shapiro who heads up Holocaust Studies for the school district of Palm Beach County. It was at her suggestion that McTigue applied for the grant from LEAH.

Burn The Fat And Help The Needy

Kal Gunay of ‘Fit Body Boot Camp, East Boca Raton’, announces that anybody participating in Fit Body Bootcamp between June 28 – July 16, 2010, $100 will be donated to the Jessica June’s Children’s Cancer Foundation.

“The current economic state has drastically reduced the amount of donations being made to charities and non-profit organization. So we’ve decided to kill two birds with one stone. By offering a stress-reducing and physical fitness program to the public, while helping out a great cause”.  

All participants are welcome to workout at their own pace for as little as fifteen minutes or, for those up to the challenge, for the full hour of each session. The activities include fun exercises in a group atmosphere designed to burn fat and firm and tone the entire body.  

Every participant will walk way from this workout with a better understanding of fitness and weight-loss concepts, a feeling of accomplishment and knowledge they helped a worthwhile cause.

In addition, every participant will receive the “Ultimate Tone-It-Up Nutrition Guide” designed to help make healthy dietary choices simple.

“This is just a fun and social way to introduce an alternative to the boring gym workouts and at the same time help out a charity that does so much to feed the hungry, especially in these current economic times,” explains Sally Smith. “Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning than having a fun and energizing workout.”

East-Boca Fit Body Bootcamp offers locals fat loss and fitness, and nutrition services. For more information, they can be found at http://www.bocafitbody.com