The computer forensics played a minor or major role in the trial depending on who you talk to. John Bradley, programmer of CacheBack, testified that a website was visited “84” times. The prosecution jumped on this numerous times, but evidence was presented during the defense’s portion of the trial to dispute this claim. Now, Bradley has stated that the website in question was only visited once.
This is the website which was supposedly “visited” 84 times on March 21, 2008: http://sci-spot.com/Chemistry/chloroform.htm. As you can see, there is not much on that page. Frankly speaking, 84 visits to that page means nothing.
But, of course, there were not 84 visits to any chloroform making page. It was to MySpace as the picture above illustrates.
Some have said this does not matter and that one search for chloroform is enough. But look at the timings. From start to finish, the edification took only 3 minutes and, most likely, half of that time was spent looking through the search results. Given the introduction of the MySpace picture (view pic) and the complete lack of physical chloroform evidence, one search seems irrelevant (read “Chloroform Theory”). How many people have searched “chloroform” or visited chloroform related sites since the trial began?
The State indicated that there was another chloroform search on a different day (March 17, 2008). These group of searches involved chloroform and other chemicals:
However, these searches were made prior to the “how to make chloroform” search. The State argued that someone was looking up the ingredients to chloroform, but the timing is off. How could someone look up the ingredients to chloroform 4 days before knowing how to make it? There were no searches for chloroform prior to or after these two days.
Cindy Anthony took credit for the first chloroform search citing an email she received and issues with her dogs. Contrary to belief, she did not take credit for the second chloroform search (“how to make chloroform”).
What about the other “nefarious” searches? Casey searched self-defense and household weapons where she found a women’s self-defense book. She read page 79 of that book according to the internet history. For some reason, I expect to find a sentence in that book which says that ordinary household items can make weapons for self-defense. In fact, it did (read page 79 of the book Casey visited). She then searched for shovel. The computer searches were easily explained and defused once the sources were visited.
At any rate, we know with full certainty that the computer records presented at trial were incomplete and inaccurate. The OCSO computer forensics unit copied the hard drive using Encase and extracted the internet history data (report). The internet history data was fed into two programs: NetAnalysis and CacheBack. However, neither of the programs fully processed the data correctly and over 300 searches were missing (source, source).
Perhaps the search for “chlorophyll” reemerged after the programmers fixed their problems. We’ll never know. Had Casey Anthony been convicted, this would have been an issue upon appeal – perhaps even reversible error.