The trial of Casey Anthony for the murder of her daughter Caylee continued yesterday as her defence attorney Jose Baez continued to try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear by badgering Orlando’s answer to Dick Tracy
. While Detective Yuri Melich sat patiently on the stand for the second day in a row, tapes were played of both him and then him and another officer questioning “Tot Mum” intensely both at her parents’ home then at Universal Studios.
They went to this latter location because Anthony told them she worked there; after they arrived, and she had bluffed her way in
, she admitted she didn’t work there.
At times the men raised their voices as much in exasperation as desperation, as Anthony fed them a story about a non-existent nanny called Zanny; as the saying goes, you couldn’t make it up. But she could, and did.
Melich warned her early on about what he called the snowball effect, using the imagery of a small lie becoming bigger and bigger, and finally rolling downhill out of control.
Both officers were obviously concerned as they pleaded with her; everything you’ve told us so far is a lie, it’s time to start telling the truth before it is too late. Alas, it already was, 31 days
too late, as they obviously suspected.
Under cross-examination, Melich said his Orange County office had eventually received some six thousand tips relating to the missing Caylee, but that none of them had led anywhere. His colleague had gone through pictures with Anthony to try to identify the nanny whom she alleged had abducted her daughter, but by this time they must surely have realised the truth.
When finally they had arrested Anthony, it was on false information and child neglect charges rather than murder. Jose Baez made much of the way Melich testified looking at the jury, and tried to badger him into admitting that Anthony was a murder suspect. The rationale behind this appears to have been that she had not been read her Miranda rights, and that this was somehow grounds for a mistrial. That argument did not impress Judge Perry, nor anyone else.
While it is undoubtedly true that for some police officers, rules of procedure are inconvenient obstacles to be overcome or sidestepped in order to browbeat or coerce a confession out of a suspect, it is equally true that for some defence lawyers they are stumbling blocks to be erected in the way of a watertight case in order to trip by foul means a conviction that cannot be prevented by fair play. Sadly, apart from an insanity plea, this is probably the only way Baez can save his client from certain conviction and a possible death sentence.
His treatment of Melich was also unfair; in the first place, he is not the bad guy in this case; secondly, when Melich said Anthony was not initially a murder suspect in his eyes, he was almost certainly telling the truth; in retrospect, Anthony’s behaviour and demeanour were so bizarre and her lies so ludicrous that he and probably everyone else involved in the case, including Anthony’s parents, must surely have found it impossible to assess the truth, much less what was going on inside her head.
The jury also saw a video recording of Anthony talking with her brother during a prison visit.