Tattoo artist says Casey Anthony seemed normal, happy

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2011 9:03 PM
Tattoo artist says Casey Anthony seemed normal, happy

By Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor

ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - An Orlando tattoo artist who said he has known accused child killer Casey Anthony for seven years testified on Tuesday that she made an appointment for a tattoo on July 15, 2008 -- the same day her 2-year-old daughter Caylee was reported missing.

Casey, 25, is standing trial in Florida on a first-degree murder charge stemming from her daughter's June 16, 2008 death. The trial, which has drawn widespread TV coverage and national attention, is in its fourth week.

Caylee was reported missing after her grandmother found Casey's car, reeking of the odor of death, in an impound lot. The child's remains were found in woods a 10-minute walk from the Anthony family's home on December 11, 2008 after a nationwide search.

Bobby Williams, an artist at Cast Iron Tattoos, said Casey had come into his shop to get a tattoo earlier in July, and he applied a flowing script saying "Bella Vita" (beautiful life) to her back at the shoulder blade.

"She seemed normal," Williams testified. "She didn't seem upset about anything, she seemed happy for the most part."

Williams said Casey talked on the phone, ordered a pizza that she shared with him, and paid $65 in cash for the tattoo.

The next time Williams saw Casey was on July 15. She came to the shop to set up another appointment for her and a friend to get tattoos on July 19, he said. Again, she seemed normal and happy.

Williams said he was aware Casey had a daughter and testified that she said Caylee was with a nanny when he saw her on July 15. He said Casey told him the toddler would be with her on the 19th when she came in for her next appointment.

EXPERTS DISCUSS HAIR AND STICKERS

Earlier Tuesday, an FBI expert on forensic mitochondrial DNA testified that a single strand of hair from Casey's car trunk had the same profile as a buccal, or mouth, smear from the defendant.

An additional sample of hair tested later also matched the profile, expert Catherine Theisen said.

Theisen said the test can only tell that the hair or smear came from an individual or that individual's mother or someone who shared the mother's genetics. Thus the hair from the trunk could have belonged to Casey, Caylee or Casey's mother, brother or another maternal relative.

Alina Burroughs, a crime scene investigator, described collecting evidence at the house Casey and Caylee shared with Casey's parents, Cindy and George Anthony.

Jurors saw photos of a quarter-sized heart sticker with a red glittery border sitting on an envelope and a sheet of smaller pink and purple heart-shaped stickers found in a dresser in Casey's bedroom.

An FBI examiner had testified on Monday that she saw the outline of a small heart on the duct tape prosecutors say Casey used to smother her daughter.

But during cross examination on Tuesday, defense attorney Jose Baez asked whether Burroughs noticed the price of the stamp on the envelope beneath the sticker. He pointed out that it was 37 cents and asked if she had any idea how long it had been since a stamp cost that little.

Baez also noted the items in the box where the heart-shaped stickers were found were from a baby shower scrap book.

Cindy Anthony was called back to the stand and asked questions about two canvas laundry bags found during a search of her home.

Cindy said one of the canvas bags had been used to store balls Caylee played with and the other was used to collect her stuffed animals until they moved the toys to a display.

She said the latter bag had been placed between Caylee's bed and the wall, and that she had not seen it since.

Cindy became emotional during the testimony, her voice breaking as she explained, "that whole period was very difficult for me."

Prosecutors say Caylee's body was stuffed into a canvas laundry bag and two black plastic garbage bags with yellow ties like ones also found at the Anthony home.

Cindy also was asked to describe in detail the length and color of her hair at the time of Caylee's disappearance, as well as the hair of her daughter and granddaughter.

The state is expected to wrap up its case Wednesday by submitting two more pieces of evidence. The defense is expected to begin its presentation on Thursday.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)