The Casey Anthony Case
1. On July 15, 2008, Florida 9-1-1 received a call from Cindy Anthony to report her granddaughter, Caylee Anthony, missing. Cindy also tells the operator that her daughter, Casey, says she has not seen Casey in 31 days and in the heat of the emotion she announces that the car Casey drives smells like a "dead body" had been in the trunk.
2. Casey got on the phone with the police and announced that she had not seen her daughter in the 31 days and that the last she saw her she was with her nanny, who either Casey referred to or the media picked up the spin of "Zanny the Nanny."
3. Between July and October, Casey continually kept telling different stories as to the last time she saw Caylee as well has lied to the police about her place of employment and people involved in her life.
4. In October 2008 Casey was charged with the first degree murder of her daughter, although Caylee had still not been found.
5. On December 11, 2008 the skeletal remains of Caylee Marie Anthony were found in a wooded area, in a trash bag, near the Anthony home. The remains were found by meter reader, Roy Krunk.
6. Casey was put on trial in May 2011. On July 5, 2011 Casey was fount not-guilty by a jury for 1st degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. She was found guilty on four counts of lying to the police (misdemeanor) and was released from jail a few days later. It has been reported that she was not immediately released and her exact release time was not officially announced, although that did not stop people camping out the jail to find out, for fear of her safety as the results of the trial had outraged many people. She was released on July 17th after being sentenced to 1 year and $1,000 fine for each of the four counts of lying to police.
7. The four counts she was found guilty on were as follows:
- In July 2008 she told the police she was employed at Universal Studios (she also stated this is where she met "Zanny the Nanny"; She went as far to take the FBI there pretending to work there and show them where her employment was (the FBI were already aware this was a lie) and subsequently had to admit she was lying)
- Casey told investigators that she had last seen Caylee when she dropped her off at a particular apartment in an apartment complex with the babysitter. (She had taken the investigators there, pointed out the apartment, that was now empty)
- Casey stated she had told two "other" Universal Studio employees, Jeff Hopkins and Juliet Lewis of Caylee's disappearance. (Not only were these people obviously not co-workers as she did not work at Universal but these people did not exist).
- Casey told investigators that she had received a call and spoken to Caylee at some point through the 31 days.
8. Casey had accused Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez as the nanny. Zenaida states she has never been known as "Zanny" nor has she ever been a nanny and filed a civil suit against Casey for defamation of character. As of this writing the trial has been delayed until January of 2013.
9. Basing their lawsuit on the words of the defense attorney in the trial stating that Caylee drowned in the family pool, in essence always knowing where she was and what happened to her, the non-profit group, Texas EquuSearch filed suit against Casey for recovery of financial resources based on their searches for Caylee. At this time I have no information on this lawsuit.
10. In September 2011, Judge Melvin Perry (the presiding trial judge) ordered that Casey was to repay the State of Florida over $200,000 for charges they incurred based on her lies and searching for a missing child. She was liable for charges from July until September 30, 2008 when the investigation was no longer considered a missing child case but a murder investigation.
11. After the trial a push to enact what became known as "Caylee's Law" went into full gear. In essence it would make lying to police in the investigation of a missing child a felony and would also be a felony not to file a police report within 48 hours in the disappearance of a child under the age of 16. Many states have proposed laws similar to this. Florida has passed this law and it goes into effect October 2012. Some argue that the law could endanger innocent parents.
1. Just as I have stated many times, the largest disputed fact is in the guilt or innocence of the accused.
2. It is largely disputed as to when or how Caylee died. According to the defense attorneys she died in the Anthony family pool. County coroner, known in the media as Dr. G, the cause of death was homicide, although a specific cause of death could not be determined based on decomposition. She based this information on the fact that there was duct tape found at the scene where the body was found (it was maintained by Dr. G and prosecutors that the duct tape had been placed on Caylee's mouth and nose; defense argues that based on decomposition it could not be determined where the duct tape was). Prosecutors maintained that traces of chloroform were found in the trunk of Casey's car; that a strand of Caylee's hair, with what they called "root banding," was also found in the car. It was testified to that root banding has only been found from the bodies of a deceased person. A large piece of controversial evidence was based on smell tests done. Many involved in law enforcement, including Casey's father, George, stated the smell of decomposition from Casey's trunk. The "smell" was captured and analyzed and was surrounded in doubt as it was difficult to prove. The defense argued against all of the forensic evidence in one way or another, through improper procedures, lack of being a fully researched and accepted method, to simply trying to explain it away.
3. During the trial it was reported that the Anthony home computer was searched and that certain phrases were "Googled." A computer program was used to determine how many times these things were searched. It was later discovered that the program itself, while not wrong about the searches, was wrong about the amount of times the searches were made. Some of these searches were said to be "How to make chloroform," and "neck breaking."
4. It was maintained by the prosecution that Cindy Anthony, Casey's mother, lied on the stand when stating that she could have made the searches on the computer. The times in which these searches were made were times in which it was proven that Cindy was at work. Although it should be noted that she would not commit to the specific search but something similar. Prosecutors chose not to file charges against Cindy for her perjury, however, it has been widely accepted that she did in fact lie on the stand in attempts to save her daughter who was facing the death penalty.
5. While it was not directly related to the murder of Caylee, this was brought up at trial, and I feel it is significant to mention here; there was a dispute as to if Casey had been molested by her brother, Lee, and her father, George, throughout her life. Casey's attorney announced these allegations in his opening arguments of the trial. It was revealed later that because the father of Caylee could not be determined that her brother (and possibly her father) were tested and there was no evidence. Jose Baez, Casey's attorney was informed by Judge Perry that without evidence (to which there was none) this line was basically not to be entered again, that is beyond his questioning of George on the stand as to if he had ever molested his daughter, to which he denied.
6. Another large contention in the trial pertained to the actions of Casey after she admits (initially) that her daughter was missing and claimed to be searching for her and later states (at trial) that Caylee had drown in the family pool in June 2008. Many pictures were entered into trial of Casey partying at night clubs as well of a tattoo she obtained after Caylee's death that stated "Beautiful Life" in Italian. Defense argued that her actions could not be used against her as everyone reacted differently to grief. They went as far as brought in an "expert" on grief, who it was revealed never interviewed Casey herself.
7. One thing that was not necessarily disputed was the fact that Casey lied. Her defense attorney's agreed to this and a large portion of the prosecution was based on her lies. Cindy had continually tried to have contact with Casey in the infamous 31 days that Casey stated Caylee was supposedly missing and had reported what Casey had said was going on each time. Making elaborate stories about where she was, who she was with and what she was doing with Caylee.
8. In Casey's LAST story of what happened, the drowning of Caylee in the family pool, she implicates that her father was there and that he had been angry with her for not properly watching Caylee, and that he was the one who found her in the pool. She later indicated (through her lawyers, since she never testified, nor to this day as I am aware has physically told her story) that it was George who had disposed of the body.
9. Defense attorneys maintain that George Anthony, Casey's father, began an affair with a woman who was helping in one of the many searches for Caylee. This woman was brought to testify and stated that she did have an intimate affair with George and on at least one occasion stated that the death of Caylee was an accident. Defense attorneys used this, combined with the evidence of a suicide attempt by George in January 2009 as evidence of his involvement. Other than the word of the woman, no evidence has ever indicated that George was involved in any way. Prosecutors argued that even in his suicide later his involvement was not noted.
As I have repeatedly said in recent blogs, this too is one in which it was very difficult to keep my opinions and feelings out of the sections above. I followed this case closely and saw nearly every day of the trial that lasted from May to July of 2011. When the verdict was announced I was extremely angry!
This case has often been compared to the O.J. Simpson murder trial. While I agree, yes, there are similarities, especially considering the verdict in a case in which many believed the defendant to be guilty, I do not agree in many other areas. Firstly, it is widely known that in the Simpson case the crime scene, as well as the trial was highly mishandled by the investigators and prosecution. Now, that being said, the meter reader, Roy Krunk, who ultimately found and reported the body apparently had reported it in August of 2008, twice. In one case an officer met him at the scene and according to Krunk, who's testimony and involvement was in question, failed to properly investigate and had chastised him. The area in which the body was located at one point had become submerged in water and the body had been scattered, likely by animals. Had the initial officer investigated properly the body would have been found many months earlier and the chances of finding more evidence, as well as possibly an official cause of death could have been found. I also agree that the company involved in the computer searches made a large mistake. The jury was already deliberating when the mistake was discovered and the prosecution did plan on informing the jury, however, before they could do so the jury had come to a verdict. It has been reported that if that verdict would have been guilty the fact they had not yet been informed of the computer company mistake would have been grounds for a mistrial....sometimes I wish that would have happened. Where I do not feel a connection between this case and the Simpson trial deals with the prosecution. In the Simpson case, it has been reported that there was more evidence than presented at trial but the prosecution was so confident in their charges they felt they did not need to enter it all. In the Anthony case, the prosecution used all the information they had. They could only show and use what they had, and they did that.
It is my opinion, based on watching the trial, reading Jeff Ashton's (one of the prosecutors, and seeing multiple interviews with jury members and others involved that the lies the defense entered into the trial with absolutely no proof of anything tainted the jury into their non-guilty verdict. Obviously lies from a defense attorney, who is attempting to free their client, is not unusual by any means. The problem here is that the lies pertained to a) things that were not related to the death of Caylee and b) those that were, had no evidence to support it. Yes, trials are often based on theory. The prosecution theory was that Casey was jealous of the relationship between Caylee and her mother Cindy and resented Cindy for this; and that in an attempt to "have fun" and not be "tied down" to her child she had purposely used chloroform on Caylee so she could party and that something went wrong and Caylee died. The defense theory, again was that Caylee died in the family pool and her body was placed in the woods, not by Casey but in one theory by George and in another by meter reader Roy Krunk. The problem with the defense theory is that there was no evidence of this. There was no connection made between the Anthony family and Roy Krunk for one; for two, there's no evidence of drowning (of course this could be argued due to the lack of a definite cause of death due to decomposition); and for me most importantly based on the actions and emotions of George Anthony, I honestly do not see his involvement. One of the reasons I do not believe George was involved is because of Cindy. It has been reported (as well as evident in interviews and stories) Cindy is fairly controlling and George is more of a submissive man. However, George is also not stupid. If we were to take the defense theory that George knew about the drowning and helped cover the body, we also have to believe that neither he or Casey, had come up with a cover story to tell Cindy. They knew Cindy was very close to Caylee and repeatedly had asked to see Caylee in the 31 days she was missing. Casey always had a story and an excuse. It was also argued, and I agree, that George had been a former police officer and he knew that "accidental" drownings happened often in Florida. Not to mention, we have to expect that this, what I consider loving, grandfather did not attempt to not only follow the proper channel but at least attempt to get some kind of medical attention to his granddaughter.
It is my belief that when Jose Baez did his opening statements and brought up the molestation of Casey by George the jury believed it and at that point had decided not to believe anything George had to say. Of course none of the jury members have said this word for word but some have said they thought George to be involved and found him unbelievable on the stand. Yet, in a rebuttal session, the prosecution proved Cindy had lied to the jury, and they seemed to believe her on the stand. After the opening statements of course the State presented their case, to which all the Anthony's (aside from Casey of course) were called multiple times. I believed they highly ignored a lot of the information they were given because they were waiting on the defense case in which Jose Baez (and his side kick Cheney Mason) were going to prove Caylee died in the family pool, that George had molested his daughter (in essence explaining her personality and why she always lied), and that George was involved in the crime.
This case is one of the few, maybe the only one, that makes me angry at double jeopardy laws because she can never be retried for this murder. I wanted to do this case with the intention of soon after doing the case of Scott Peterson for comparison. Instead of comparing this case to Simpson I generally like to compare it to Peterson, not necessarily because there are so many similarities, but more so to show the evidence. It is my opinion there was more evidence against Casey Anthony in the murder of her daughter than there was in the Peterson case who was convicted, and sentenced to death, in the murder of his pregnant wife. That is NOT to say that I do not think that Peterson is guilty. I think to compare the two you are seeing how this country (of course Peterson was California, Anthony was Florida) looks at cases such as this when men and women are involved. Both are considered to be very attractive people, but much like how I feel about child custody cases, it appears we have to show much more evidence of a mother being deviant, and abusive than we do in fathers. The jurors answered that the prosecution did not prove how or why Casey would have wanted Caylee dead. Well, in less you have a confession prosecutors rarely have an absolute WHY... I simply never did, nor will I ever, understand how with her lies, the location of the body, the trace evidence in car, the evidence of her behavior after, those jurors could ever determine her to be not-guilty. Of course they have said it was "not-guilty" but not necessarily "innocent" as the law provides but there was absolutely more evidence against her than there has been in many, many cases. I do not think this is one of those cases of a defendant having money (i.e Simpson, or even Robert Blake). I think this was a case of not wanting to sending an attractive young mother to death row and the charisma her defense attorney displayed.
I have to move on with the belief that Casey Anthony get hers in the end (whether it be someone takes revenge on her for this, or she commits another crime, much like Simpson, and will get more time than would be normal, to make her pay for this one). But not only do I hope Casey "gets hers," I also hope that the lawyers who defended this woman, and lied nearly as much or as often as she did get their's too. In my opinion they did not simply do their job in getting her off, they manipulated and lied to do it. Judge Perry had repeatedly warned Baez of being sanctioned through the court throughout the trial and there were rumors that he would be brought to answer those charges but I have heard nothing in that area. Then again, I have to admit, other than the interviews with the jury members, a few with attorneys and reading Ashton's book I have attempted to stay away from this case. I became obsessed with it, literally. The verdict so angered me that I could not be spoken to. I am not much of a crying person but I cried at the verdict. I cried because that woman murdered her daughter, likely because she wanted to live her life without responsibility and there was no way she was going to allow her mother to raise her child, and she got away with it!