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- Casey Anthony
- Mother and Accused Killer
- October, 2008
- Acquitted on Murder Charges, Guilty of Misdemeanors
The arrest of Casey Anthony:
She walked free on a child murder charge and it caused outrage among many people. Casey Anthony was accused of killing her young daughter, but the prosecution couldn't prove its case and she was acquitted on all but a few misdemeanor counts.
Young Caylee Marie Anthony…
…was born on August 9, 2005 and died sometime in 2008.
The two-year-old lived in Orlando, Florida with her mother, Casey Marie, and her maternal grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony.
Her grandmother Cindy reported Caylee missing in a 9-1-1 call on July 15, 2008. Cindy claimed she hadn't seen the baby for 31 days and that her daughter Casey's car smelled like a dead body had been inside.
Grandmother Cindy said Mom Casey gave various explanations as to the baby's whereabouts before finally admitting that she had not seen Caylee for weeks.
Casey also told detectives several lies, including that the child of been kidnapped by a nanny on June 9 and she'd been trying to find her but was too afraid to talk to the authorities about it.
On October 8, 2008 Casey was charged with first-degree murder and pleaded not guilty.
On December 11 of that year, the baby's skeletal remains were found with a blanket inside of trash bag in a wooded area near the family's Orlando home.
There was conflicting testimony from investigative reports and file testimony about duct tape being found in the front of the skull and on the mouth of the skull. While the medical examiner said duct tape is one reason she ruled the death a homicide, officially it was listed as "death by undetermined means."
A six-week trial in the spring of 2011 (from May to July) saw the prosecution seek the death penalty as it alleged that Casey wanted to free herself from being a mother…
…and murdered her daughter by administering chloroform and applying duct tape.
The defense countered that the child had drowned accidentally in the family swimming pool on June 16, 2008 and that her grandfather George Anthony disposed of the body. The Defense claimed Casey lied about that and other things because of a dysfunctional upbringing, which they said included sexual abuse by her father George.
George denied it, but in a book, Casey's lawyer Jose Baez wrote that Casey suspected that Caylee was fathered by George and wondered aloud if George killed the baby to hide evidence of the sexual abuse of his daughter.
And the defense challenged every piece of prosecution evidence, calling it fantasy forensics.
Casey didn't testify and on July 5, 2011 the jury found her not guilty of first-degree murder aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child.
She was found guilty of four misdemeanor counts providing false information to law-enforcement. With credit for time served in jail, she was released in less than two weeks on July 17, 2011. And by January 25, 2013 an appeals court in Florida overturned two of the misdemeanor convictions.
Many Americans were stunned by the not guilty murder verdict and there was public outrage.
The decision was both attacked and defended by commentators. Those in favor of conviction said the jury didn't understand the meaning of reasonable doubt. But others agreed with the jury that the prosecution relied too heavily on the defendant's allegedly poor moral character and they thought the prosecution was unable to show conclusively how baby Caylee died.
Meantime, George Anthony told TV's Dr. Phil he'd never speak to his daughter again.
In the aftermath of this case, there's been a groundswell for a new law, called "Caylee's Law", which would stiffen the requirements on parents to notify the police of the death or disappearance of a child.