Three years after two-year-old Caylee Anthony's controversial death, the jury has decided on Casey Anthony's fate and the role she played in her daughter's death.
After 11 hours of deliberation over two days, the jury in the trial of Casey Anthony found her not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, or aggravated manslaughter of a child. She was found guilty on four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. This decision comes more than three years after her daughter, Caylee, was reported missing from her home and later found dead in a nearby swamp. When the verdict was announced at 2:15 pm EST on July 5, Casey Anthony breathed a sigh of relief and tears streamed down her face. The jury, made up of five men and seven women, did not ask for any additional information or reviewed any presented evidence before making their decision.
The trial was full of controversy and contradictions. Opening statements by Anthony’s lawyer Jose Baez alleged that Caylee had drowned in Casey’s parent’s backyard pool; and that George Anthony had covered it up. Baez also stated that George had sexually abused Casey as a child, leading to her misguided actions of pathological lying and going missing for 30 days after Caylee’s death. Yet George Anthony denied on the stand that he had ever abused Casey. Casey never took the stand, but was seen giving visible expressions to George Anthony’s testimony. Jailhouse conversations with her parents were also admitted as evidence by the prosecution.
The prosecution claimed that Casey had murdered Caylee with chloroform and duct taped her mouth shut. Part of their evidence was a number of searches on chloroform found on the Anthony’s home computer, but Cindy Anthony claimed it was she who had done the computer searches for chloroform as a mistake versus chlorophyll because she was concerned that their pet dogs had eaten some bad plants that made them sick. However, according to her employer’s time cards, Cindy was at work during the time of the searches.
Closing arguments also prompted fireworks, as Baez accused the prosecution of using “fantasy forensic evidence” to prove Casey murdered Caylee. Prosecutor Jeff Ashton was making gestures and facial expressions that appeared to mock some of the claims Baez was making during his rebuttal. Baez even called it to Judge Belvin Perry’s attention, who gave Ashton a warning. When Ashton began chuckling at another remark, Baez referred to him as “this laughing guy right here” in his statement, prompting Judge Perry to call a side bar to both lawyers and warning them about possible contempt of court.