Prosecutors want to admit the sample – which was collected from the boot of the defendant’s car, canned, and tested by a human decomposition expert – in the trial of Casey Anthony, 25, who is accused of killing her two-year-old daughter Caylee.
Dr Arpad Vass, who analysed the sample, testified that when he opened the can he recognised ‘the smell of human decomposition’.
Jose Baez, Anthony’s lawyer, has dismissed the air sample as ‘junk science’.
Caylee’s disappearance attracted enormous attention in the U.S. and judge Belvin Perry has said media coverage of the trial could dwarf the circus that surrounded the O.J. Simpson case in 1995.
The Orlando toddler was reported missing in July 2008. Her skeletal remains were found five months later in woodland close to her grandparents’ home, where she had lived with her mother. Anthony denies killing her daughter.
In Florida courts, new types of evidence are admissible only if a judge is convinced the technique is generally accepted by the scientific community.
Judge Perry initially stated he would allow the air sample, but later said he needed more evidence following complaints from the defence.
Christopher Slobogin, a law expert in Tennessee, said the biochemical identification of odours – known as gas chromatography – was widely accepted by scientists, but it was controversial to claim a smell definitely came from human remains.
Anthony - who faces the death penalty of found guilty - broke down in tears earlier this week during juror selection for her first-degree murder trial.
She is also charged with aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. Read More