ORLANDO, Fla. – The meter reader who found Caylee Anthony's remains testified Tuesday that he didn't touch the bag containing the toddler's bones after he spotted it in the woods and called police.
Roy Kronk discovered Caylee's remains in December 2008 in a wooded area near the Anthony family's Orlando home. Under questioning at the murder trial of the girl's mother, Casey Anthony, Kronk denied ever moving them.
Kronk is a key witness as defense attorneys continue a strategy of casting doubt on the forensic evidence in the case. In opening statements, the defense suggested that Kronk tampered with the 2-year-olds remains and might have moved them at some point in hopes of claiming a cash reward for finding her. They hinted at that motive during questioning Tuesday, but Kronk denied it.
Anthony has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in her daughter's death and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge. The prosecution contends she used duct tape to suffocate her daughter. The defense says she drowned in her grandparents' swimming pool.
Kronk first told police in August 2008 that he saw something suspicious in the woods along his route, not far from the Anthony home. Kronk called authorities three times over several days, but they found nothing at the time.
"I saw an object that looked a little odd to me," Kronk testified Tuesday. "I told them I saw an object that looked like a skull."
Defense attorney Cheney Mason asked Kronk if he touched the suspicious object or moved it when he saw it in August.
"I never was closer than 30 feet to that bag," Kronk said.
Kronk returned to the area in December 2008 and spotted the remains, which were then recovered by authorities.
Mason asked Kronk if he shared what he'd seen in August with anyone else. Kronk said he mentioned it in passing to a roommate, but nothing beyond that. Kronk said only "I believe so" when asked if he knew there was an award being offered for finding the child.
Nearly every member of the jury could be seen taking notes while Kronk testified.
Earlier in the morning a former search leader used his constitutional right against self-incrimination to avoid answering a question about his time searching for the toddler from August to December 2008.
Mason asked former Texas Equusearch team leader Joseph Jordan why his testimony Tuesday differed from previous statements he gave to law enforcement.
Mason eventually asked Jordan if he'd ever been threatened with felony prosecution, and Jordan invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
The prosecution objected and the jury was sent out. Following arguments by both attorneys about the question, Judge Belvin Perry ruled that he would instruct them to disregard that Jordan took the Fifth.
The defense also called Casey's father George Anthony to the stand again Tuesday and asked him about whether he had an affair with a woman who volunteered during the search for Caylee.
He denied having a romantic relationship with the woman, Krystal Holloway, and said he knew her by the name River Cruz. He admitted to visiting her home on a handful of occasions, but said it was only to comfort her as she dealt with a brain tumor.
"Sir, I never had a romantic relationship with Krystal Holloway or whatever she wants to call herself to you or in the world," George Anthony said during the sometimes contentious examination by defense attorney Jose Baez. "I did go there just to console her. ... She also explained that to my wife, sir."
Anthony also denied ever telling the woman that Caylee's death was "an accident that snowballed out of control."
"I never confided in any volunteers or anybody on the search," he said. "Never did."
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