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Cindy Anthony: I searched for chloroform on computer

By Ashley Hayes, CNN
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Cindy Anthony: I looked up chloroform
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Judge does not allow two defense witnesses to testify
  • Casey Anthony's mother says she searched computer to figure out why dog was tired
  • The attorney for Casey Anthony's parents issues a statement clarifying his remarks
  • Anthony is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008

CNN tonight on "AC360" at 10 ET, George and Cindy Anthony's lawyer talks to Anderson Cooper about why Casey Anthony's own parents are having doubts about her innocence. Also, tune in to HLN for wall-to-wall coverage of the entire trial and follow along online at the "Nancy Grace" trial page.

(CNN) -- Casey Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, testified Thursday that she, not her daughter, conducted Internet searches for key words including chloroform and alcohol on the Anthony family computer in March 2008.

Cindy Anthony told jurors in her daughter's capital murder trial that she conducted the searches because she was trying to figure out what was making one of her Yorkie dogs "extremely tired all the time." Both the dogs ate bamboo plants in the backyard, she testified, so she started searching for chlorophyll to see if the plants were causing the dog's exhaustion.

A bacteria associated with chlorophyll production comes from different plants, she said, and some species of algae and seaweed produce natural chloroform, so the search led her from chlorophyll to chloroform.

She also was searching for other chemicals, including alcohol, she told defense attorney Jose Baez, because of a recent scare regarding hand sanitizers around small children. And she searched on some injuries, she said, because a friend of hers had recently been in a car accident and suffered head and chest injuries. She was, she said, "looking up specific terminology that someone had asked me to look up."

In a testy cross-examination, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick noted that Cindy Anthony's work schedule showed she was working the days the searches were conducted, March 17 and 21, 2008. The witness said it was possible she could have been home, saying she went home early a couple of days that week.

"Were you or weren't you?" Burdick asked.

"The only thing that triggers that day for me is those computer entries," Cindy Anthony told the Orlando courtroom. "It was not a traumatic day for me like the last three years, so I can't tell you what time I went home."

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008, including first-degree murder. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.

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Prosecutors allege Casey Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious, then used duct tape to cover her nose and mouth, suffocating her. Caylee's remains, prosecutors allege, were then put into Casey Anthony's car trunk and eventually disposed of. The girl's skeletal remains were found in a wooded field on December 11, 2008, nearly six months after her family last reported having seen the child.

Defense attorneys say Caylee was not murdered, but that she accidentally drowned in the family pool on June 16, 2008, the day she was last reported to have been seen. They argue that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked and covered up the death. George Anthony has rejected that scenario in his testimony.

Caylee was not reported missing to police until July 15, 2008, when Cindy Anthony tracked down her daughter and demanded answers regarding Caylee's whereabouts.

Earlier in the trial, experts testified that someone conducted the keyword searches on a desktop computer in the home Casey Anthony shared with her parents.

The searches were found in a portion of the computer's hard drive that indicated they had been deleted, Detective Sandra Osborne of the Orange County Sheriff's Office testified Wednesday in Anthony's capital murder trial.

However, she told jurors, deleted material remains on a computer's hard drive and can be retrieved until it is overwritten by new data. It had not been overwritten on the Anthonys' computer, she said, and "a complete Internet history" was obtained.

The searches using the keyword chloroform were conducted in March, three months before Caylee disappeared, according to testimony.

It appears the computer user first searched for "chloraform" on Google and received results for "chloroform," said John Bradley, owner of the software development company that created the software used to retrieve the data. One of the search results was from Wikipedia.org, which was accessed, he testified.

It also appeared searches were conducted using terms such as inhalation, self-defense, meningeal artery, ruptured spleen, alcohol and head injury, he said. The user either typed those terms in to search, Bradley said, or in some instances might have clicked on links on the Wikipedia site to go to a different page.

Searches were also conducted on "how to make chloroform," "neck breaking" and "making weapons out of household products," Bradley testified.

Cindy Anthony testified Thursday she did not search for how to make chloroform or household weapons. She said she also did not search for neck breaking, but remembered a pop-up ad featuring a skateboarder doing a "neck-breaking stunt."

She said she would not know for sure if she was home March 17 and 21, 2008, unless she could access her work computer. When Burdick questioned her about why she never tried to get that information, she said her work passwords would have long since expired, as she has not returned since July 2008.

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She testified that she told authorities about her search for chlorophyll earlier.

She also testified about a stain in Casey Anthony's trunk, saying it had been there since they bought the car in 2000.

Orange County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Kevin Stenger, a forensic computer examiner, followed Cindy Anthony to the stand, where he was questioned about the report on the searches he compiled. Asked by Burdick whether a search for "how to make chloroform" would have showed up in such a fashion if someone had typed the word "chlorophyll," Stenger said it would not.

The jury was dismissed after Stenger's testimony. Prosecutors questioned the defense's next two witnesses -- FBI agent Nick Savage and Erin Martin, request coordinator for the FBI laboratory -- to determine whether their testimony was admissible. Prosecutor Jeff Ashton told Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. it appeared that neither witness had any direct knowledge of the case.

Showed an e-mail regarding a request for photos from the medical examiner's office, Savage said he had never before seen it, and was dismissed. Martin, the sender of the e-mail -- which had to do with the medical examiner's office not taking scale photos of the duct tape that covered the mouth portion of Caylee's remains -- said she had nothing else to do with the matter besides sending the e-mail.

Defense attorney J. Cheney Mason argued the information provided by the witnesses was relevant to the case, but Perry said it was not and ruled neither witness could testify before the jury.

Meanwhile, after saying Casey Anthony's parents do not believe she is innocent on Wednesday, an attorney representing George and Cindy Anthony issued a statement Thursday clarifying his remarks.

Attorney Mark Lippman said George Anthony never molested his daughter or helped cover up his granddaughter's death, as Casey Anthony's attorneys have alleged. But he said his clients have not come to any conclusion about whether their daughter is guilty of murder.

"They simply want to know the truth," Lippman told reporters. "They have no idea what happened. ... They just want both the state (prosecutors) and the defense to do their jobs."

Lippman's Wednesday statement to CNN's Gary Tuchman was talked about that night on "AC 360," a discussion that the lawyer mentioned Thursday.

Tuchman said Thursday the statement "doesn't mean (the Anthonys) feel she's guilty of the charges against her." Saying someone is not innocent is not quite the same, he noted, as saying they are legally guilty.

"But this is important, and they wanted me to stress this," Tuchman said on the show Wednesday. "They love her, they support her and they do not want her to get the death penalty and they will do all they can to avoid her getting the death penalty in this case."

Tuchman acknowledged Thursday that Lippman was "not happy" after the story aired. He said that in a follow-up conversation, he asked Lippman what he thought was taken out of context, and Lippman said he could not point to anything Tuchman said that was out of context, but said there was "too much hype" in the discussion. "That happens sometimes," Tuchman said.

He said Lippman also said that not everything he told Tuchman was mentioned on the show. That is true, Tuchman said, but added, "I certainly included every single thing that was important and relevant to this discussion."

Jurors in the case are sequestered and barred from watching or reading news coverage.

On Thursday, defense attorneys called a forensic toxicologist to the stand in an effort to cast doubt on the forensic testing done at Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

However, Barry Logan's testimony was punctuated by frequent prosecution objections, and prosecutors scored some points when Perry did not allow some lines of questioning. The testimony was also the subject of frequent sidebar conferences between Perry and attorneys for both sides.

Arpad Vass, a research scientist at the Oak Ridge laboratory, earlier testified for the prosecution that testing on a carpet sample from the trunk showed chloroform at a level that was "shockingly high." He also testified the odor in the air samples he received was "extremely overwhelming." He identified it as human decomposition.

Vass also said he found compounds associated with human decomposition in the trunk.

Stephen Shaw, a hair and fiber examiner for the FBI, was also recalled to the stand on Thursday. Earlier in the trial, Perry barred Shaw from showing a PowerPoint presentation to jurors regarding a study he is conducting on decomposition in hair.

Shaw has testified in his study, he was attempting to recreate banding in hairs taken from living people. While he said some of the hairs -- which were put in varying indoor and outdoor locations -- showed evidence of decomposition, none showed postmortem banding like that testimony has showed was on a hair taken from Anthony's trunk.

Shaw has acknowledged he cannot state definitively that postmortem banding is exclusively seen in hair taken from dead people. Two independent examiners as part of his study both analyzed the hairs, and each in their initial findings identified a hair as banded from a live person, although they both discounted that in their confirmed findings, he said.

Baez and Ashton questioned Shaw further on his study Thursday. Shaw told Baez he cannot say whether a specific hair comes from a dead person. In his earlier testimony, he told Ashton that he has seen thousands of hairs in his career and that he has never seen a hair with a decomposition band that did not come from a corpse.

CNN's Lateef Mungin and In Session's Mayra Cuevas and Michael Christian contributed to this report.

Watch Nancy Grace Monday through Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. For the latest from Nancy Grace click here.

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