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Casey Anthony Trial | Daily Updates (Thoughts & Observations)

2011-May-24
By Martie Hevia | Blue Beach Song™

[Updated: September 04, 2012 | 5:30 a.m. PT]




| | Introduction | | Summaries | | Daily Updates | | Thoughts | | Resources | |



Introduction

The case of Caylee Marie Anthony’s death has captured the attention of this country. In part, because she was such a beautiful little girl, almost three years old when she died. And, in part, because the mother did not report her missing for 31 days.

Perhaps, because most of us who are parents cannot begin to understand how a parent could go on for 31 days not reporting their daughter missing, we followed the case hoping to understand, hoping for an explanation that would make sense.


Last Video of Caylee Anthony


We first learned of this little girl’s disappearance shortly after July 16th, 2008, when Cindy Anthony, the grandmother, made emergency 911 calls to report her granddaughter missing. The last documented evidence that Caylee was alive is in a home video taken on Father’s Day, June 15, 2008, visiting her great-grandfather.

Today, May 24, 2011, after three years, Casey Anthony’s trial begins with opening statements.

As a mother, I want to understand how this young woman accused of killing her child, who claimed her daughter was kidnapped, could go on with her life, showing no grief, photographed at nightclubs, videotaped shopping, giving no indication to anyone of having lost her child, and never reporting her daughter missing.

As a fair and empathetic person, I like to think that I could listen to the evidence presented, and, in the way one would hope a juror would do, weigh the evidence, and come to a fair verdict, beyond a reasonable doubt.

This blog post will be updated daily, until the conclusion of this trial, with my thoughts and observations on the trial’s proceedings, the witnesses, the evidence, the attorneys, and the defendant.

Did Casey Anthony kill her daughter? I don’t know. But I’m willing to keep an open mind as I follow the trial of the State of Florida vs. Casey Marie Anthony.

What are your thoughts?




Detailed Daily Updates

| | Day 1 | | Day 2 | | Day 3 | | Day 4 | | Day 5 | | Day 6 | | Day 7 | |
| | Day 8 | | Day 9 | | Day 10 | | Day 11 | | Day 12 | | Day 13 | | Day 14 | |
| | Day 15 | | Day 16 | | Day 17 | | Day 18 | | Day 19 | | Day 20 | | Day 21 | |
| | Day 22 | | Day 23 | | Day 24 | | Day 25 | | Day 26 | | Day 27 | | Day 28 | |
| | Day 29 | | Day 30 | | Day 31 | | Day 32 | | Day 33 | |
| | Day 34: The Closing Arguments | | Day 35: The Rebuttal | |
| | Day 36: The Verdict | | Day 37: The Sentence | | Day 38: The Release | |

[NOTE: I will be adding the detailed daily updates for all of the days of the trials missing above. It is just taking longer to write the narratives, from my copious daily 8-10 hours of trial notes, than I had hoped. Apologies. -Martie]



Summary Daily Updates


DAYS:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1819 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37


Day 1: Opening Statements & First Witness: George Anthony
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Prosecution: Reviewed Casey Anthony’s whereabouts, from day 1 through day 31 of the period in which her daughter, Caylee was missing, asking repeatedly “And where was Caylee?” The prosecutor went on to review a summary of the evidence in the case. The prosecution called George Anthony to the stand as their first witness, after opening statements concluded for both sides.
Defense: Immediately answered why Casey did not report her daughter missing for 31 days, because she drowned on day one, stating that the grandfather and Casey found the body of the little girl in the family pool. The Defense accused the father and brother of sexually abusing Casey since the age of eight, and this is why she deals with things through lies and denial.

Day 2: Prosecution Witnesses: Roommates, Shot Girls & The Neighbor
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The shock and awe of yesterday’s opening statements and jaw-dropping allegations, gave way to the everyday tediousness of conducting a trial, as the Prosecution called eight witnesses today. The number of objections and sidebars seemed endless, but the Judge’s patience was not, as he appeared noticeably annoyed and upset with the attorneys a number of times.

The focus of today’s witnesses seemed to be on the people who saw Casey most during those 31 days Caylee was missing. They all seemed to be connected to Casey’s boyfriend-at-the-time, Tony Lazzaro, from his roommates to ‘shot girls‘ who worked at the Fusion Nightclub where Tony conducted event-parties every Friday night.

The prosecution established through these witnesses that Tony, met Casey sometime in mid-May 2008. They soon became inseparable as Casey spent more and more time at Tony’s apartment, eventually seeming to have moved in, without being asked. (Some time around mid-June.) This time period is significant because Caylee disappeared June 16th.

Day 3: Prosecution Witnesses: Father’s, Boyfriends & Friends
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The day began and ended with Tony Lazzarro, Casey’s boyfriend during the summer of 2008, when Caylee died. In the morning, the Defense had to finish their cross-examination, and, in the afternoon, after the jury left for the day, Tony was brought back to proffer information about a secret Casey had told him.

The day’s witnesses included her father, a few boyfriends, guy-friends, and one young woman she met the Fourth of July weekend of 2008. The most notable moment of the day, came when this woman, who had never met Casey before that weekend, described a moment in the car when Casey hung up her cell phone and proudly said, “Oh, my God! I am such a good liar!

Day 4: Prosecution Witnesses: Odors, Tow-yards, Text Messages, and Videos
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The Prosecution called six witnesses today, and once again we saw both George Anthony and Tony Lazzaro. Most of the day focused on Casey’s abandoned car, the towing of the car, and the odor detected in it. The prosecutors also introduced 12 different video surveillance footage from a number of stores and one bank showing Casey on shopping sprees, but not relentlessly looking for her kidnapped daughter, as she had once claimed. The day ended with Mr. Lazzarro on the stand, the Defense objecting, the jury being dismissed early, sidebars, discussions, and adjournment.

Day 5: Prosecution Witnesses: Lover & Mother
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Today was a heart-breaking day as the Prosecution brought Tony Lazzaro and Cindy Anthony to talk about the days leading to and following Caylee’s disappearance. The anger and the emotion came through as Tony Lazzaro reviewed the days of July 15th and July 16th through text messages and phone calls, as well as through the course of the days’ events. As Tony recounted the conversations and text messages he had with Casey, trying to find out where Caylee was, you could see that he genuinely cared for Casey and for Caylee, but he felt betrayed, angry, and frustrated.

Cindy Anthony’s testimony was compelling as she reviewed with the Prosecution exactly what happened from June 15th through the Fourth-of-July weekend in 2008. She described every detail of the last day she spent with her granddaughter; she methodically went through the daily excuses Casey gave her for not coming home and for not letting Cindy talk to her granddaughter on the phone. Each of the excuses on their own sounded perfectly reasonable, each day, day-by-day, until you stand back and look at them all piled on top of each other and realize that something is seriously wrong. By the time Cindy Anthony reached that point, of realizing that her daughter had been lying to her for weeks, it was too late, Caylee was gone.

Day 6: Prosecution Witnesses: Mother & Friend
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Cindy Anthony was back on the stand today. The Prosecution finished their direct examination, but not before trudging through a great deal of tearful territory for Mrs. Anthony, including the day she found out Caylee had been missing for 31 days, and called emergency 911 three times. Cindy Anthony was overcome with grief on the stand, burying her head in her hands on her lap, and asking Judge Perry for a break. Her face and eyes, red and swollen, as she testified through periods of crying. The Defense completed their cross-examination of Casey’s mother, which consisted mostly of a review of all of “Casey’s imaginary friends,” as defense attorney, Jose Baez, referred to them.

The day closed with the Prosecution calling Amy Huizenga to the stand. Things got testy, once again, between Judge Perry and defense attorney, Jose Baez, when he objected, and during discussions outside the presence of the jury, Mr. Baez asked for a delay until the next day. He claimed that he was told that Ms. Huizenga was in Barcelona. The Prosecution stood up and said they notified Mr. Baez that she would be back this past weekend. The Judge looked at Mr. Baez, and then he added that he didn’t have his files with him. Judge Perry reprimanded him, reminding him that he had given to the Defense team a secure place in which to store their files and they have not used it. Mr. Baez said he had been working over the weekend and his file was in his office. The Judge told him this would be the last time he would make any delays for him because of his missing files. The Judge decided to allow the Prosecution to complete their direct examination of Amy today, and allow the Defense to do their cross-examination tomorrow.

Day 7: Prosecution Witnesses: The Friend, The Brother & The Cops
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The seventh day of the Casey Anthony trial began with the cross-examination of Amy Huizenga by lead defense attorney Jose Baez, where he tried to make Ms. Huizenga sound like a fuzzy-brained, alcoholic, who was going after Casey’s ex-boyfriends, but Ms. Huizenga’s demeanor did a lot to take the sting out of the allegations. It was never mentioned to the jury that Casey Anthony had been convicted of stealing Amy’s checkbook and emptying out her bank account. Still Ms. Huizenga managed to be more even-handed and fair with her descriptions of Ms. Anthony, than you could expect of one of Casey’s theft victims.

The same can be said of Lee Anthony, Casey’s brother, whom she accused of trying to unsuccessfully touch her breast when she was a child. He appeared to be as fair in his assessments and descriptions, with both Prosecution and Defense, as could be expected. His demeanor appeared somewhat disconnected from the fact that his niece was dead and his sister was on trial for her murder. The crying and emotion that drenched Cindy Anthony’s testimony was replaced with a matter-of-fact, just-the-facts, cop-like demeanor from Casey’s brother.

Next, came the parade of police officers who came out to the Anthonys’ home on the evening of July 15th and through the day of July 16th 2008, who recounted the interviews with each of the family members, and who arrested Casey Anthony, the evening of July 16th, for providing false information, obstruction of an investigation and child neglect.

The nightmare had just begun.

Day 8: Prosecution Witnesses: The Imaginary Friend, The Imaginary Job, The Cop & The Videotapes
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The morning began with Jeffrey Hopkins, a middle-school classmate of Casey’s upon whom she based the non-existent friend, Jeffrey Michael Hopkins. The real Jeff Hopkins, did work at Universal Studios for one year, in 2002 but did not remember seeing Casey at Universal. Next, we met Leonard Turtua who was able to verify for Detective Melich that none of Casey’s cast of characters worked at Universal and, more importantly, Casey did not work at Universal Studios. He allowed the detectives and Casey to enter Universal so that she could show Detective Melich her non-existent office.

We then listen to the entire audio-taped interview of Casey Anthony by Detective Melich, Detective Allen and Detective Wells, conducted after Casey led them into a building at Universal Studios, and down a hallway, where Casey stopped, turned around, and admitted that she did not work there. Mr. Turtua allowed them to interview Ms. Anthony in one of their conference rooms and what a ride of lies it was.

And, finally, the rest of the court day, the Prosecution presented four jail-house visits between Casey Anthony and her family. It was fascinating to watch the dynamics among the family members, but particularly striking was how desperate her family seemed to get answers to find Caylee and how nonchalant and self-absorbed Casey seemed. There was nothing to show that she was afraid of her father and brother, who allegedly sexually abused her since the age of eight. Nothing to indicate that George Anthony knew his granddaughter was dead because he pulled her out of the pool as the Defense alleged, quite the opposite, he seemed painfully desperate to find his granddaughter.

Day 9: Prosecution Witnesses: Jail-House Visitors and Crime Scene Investigators
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The ninth day of trial began with the viewing of three videotapes of jail-house visits from Casey’s parents and it concluded with testimony about the collection, preservation, and analysis of the evidence.

Casey seemed more insistent to her parents that she wanted them to get her out of jail, and she wants to go home. She lost her temper a few times in the jail-house videotapes, and we heard her complain that her parents’ focus is finding Caylee, but her focus is worrying about her case. In the jail-house visit videotapes, we also see the contrast between desperate grandparents trying to find their granddaughter, and a desperate young woman who wants to be bonded out of jail.

After the videotapes, the trial moved from the emotional to the analytical, introducing the topic of evidence, and how it is collected and preserved for analysis. We heard a great deal of detail about the evidence collected, especially, about the trunk of the car where the Prosecution contends that Caylee’s body was kept through the early stages of decomposition.

Day 10: Prosecution Witnesses: The Hair and The Air
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Today, Saturday, the 10th day of the trial, the prosecutor introduced the famous hair strand, the one consistent with Caylee’s hair in appearance and mitochondrially belonging to her maternal DNA line. This hair garnered its own headlines back in 2008 because it was a strand of hair that showed ‘banding,’ which the prosecution and the FBI examiner claim is sometimes produced by a deceased body on certain hairs in a certain phase of growth. Living humans don’t produce it, but sometimes dead ones do. Equally famous is the air from the trunk of Casey’s car, which countless witnesses identified as the smell of death, the odor from a decomposing human body.

What was also unique about these two bits of evidence is that they also mark ‘firsts’ in their field. This was the first time that testimony on hair-banding would be given; and this was also the first time that air had been collected and preserved for analysis. Both were introduced into evidence, but not without the Defense putting up a fight.

Ultimately, it will be up to the jury to decide whether the hair and the air will be considered ‘junk’ science or ‘cutting edge’ forensics.

Day 11: Prosecution Witnesses: The Controversial Science and Scientist
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The Prosecution had one witness on Monday, Dr. Arpad Vass, a well-respected research scientist with an impressive list of credentials and degrees, Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorates, followed by words like Forensic Science, Forensic Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry. However, he wasn’t without a few kinks in his armor. The Defense made an effort to taint his credibility by asking him about his use of divining rods – made of bent metal hangers – to find graves. They also asked him about a patent he holds for a device that will gain legitimacy, and perhaps investors, through this case, insinuating that perhaps he has a vested interest in slanting his results a certain way.

This witness’s passion for his own research was clear, often needing to be reminded by Judge Perry to slow down. As the day wore on, his excitement gave way to his ennui, as the more tedious aspects of conducting a trial took over.

Dr. Vass analyzed much of the evidence that came from the car, including air samples, carpet samples, and trunk liner samples. He analyzed the evidence collected for chemical compounds that are found during the human decomposition process. If his research is correct, then the data he collected clearly shows that, like Mrs. Anthony said, “there was a dead body in the damn car.”

Day 12: Prosecution’s Witnesses: Talking Trash, Science and Cadaver Dogs
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The Prosecution re-called their lead Crime Scene Investigator, Gerardo Bloise, who talked about the trash bag found in Casey Anthony’s car, itemizing the contents of the bag. Of significance in the things he listed, is what was not listed: food items or any kind of organic material that could decompose and create the horrific smell that permeated the car.

Dr. Arpad Vass was called back to identify a can of evidence that needed to be admitted into evidence, however, the Defense got him to say in response to a question, “No, we are not a Forensics Lab, so we do not handle evidence all that frequently.”

The F.B.I. Forensic Chemist Examiner, Dr. Rickenbach, tested evidence from the trunk of the car and various samples that had residues of chloroform or had substances that were consistent with chloroform. In cross-examination, the Defense was able to get the F.B.I. examiner to acknowledge that the amount of chloroform found in the evidence sample was quite small and consistent with common household cleaning products.

The day ended with compelling testimony from Deputy Forgui and his work with cadaver dogs. He described the intensive training and testing, and the real-world successes he and his dogs have had in locating human decomposition and ignoring animal decomposition.

Of note, was when Deputy Forgui and his dog, Gariss, were called to the Anthony’s backyard because the detectives had noticed what appeared to be disturbed earth indicative of a shallow grave. Gariss was taken off leash in the yard and he did a thorough search several times through. He never once indicated anything near the pool, nor did he signal at the shallow grave, but he did signal a decomposing human on the grassy area in front of Caylee’s playhouse, next to her sandbox. A second cadaver dog was called in from another county, who also signaled near the same area where Gariss had earlier signaled a find.

The conclusion was that Caylee’s dead body had been placed on the grass in front of her playhouse and that, for whatever reason, the shallow grave was not used.

Day 13: Prosecution Witnesses: Canines and Computers
(Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The first witness on Day 13 of the Casey Anthony trial was the deputy officer, Kristin Brewer, who handled the second cadaver dog who signaled human decomposition on the grass in front of Caylee’s playhouse, within 6-8 feet of where the first cadaver dog signaled earlier the same day on July 17, 2008. After several FBI and CSI units dug up the grass area looking for Caylee’s remains and none were found, the two dogs returned the next day but did not signal human decomposition. The fact that both dogs signaled finding it, at different times, on July 17, and both dogs did not signal finding any on July 18 after the area had been dug up, led the deputy canine handlers to conclude that perhaps the remains had not been buried on that spot, but merely placed on top of the grass. The Defense did get the witness to say that a dog could alert or signal on something out of the body that is decomposing, like a drop of blood.

Next came the analysis of the digital data, which included digital cameras, laptops and desktops taken from or provided by the Anthony’s and one computer from Ricardo Morales. The first computer examiner talked about being tasked with finding references to Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, which she found on the Anthony’s desktop computer dated after the morning of July 16, 2008, but not before. There were no emails or contact information or any reference to a Zenaida before the police were notified of Caylee’s disappearance on any of the computers.

Between March 17 and March 21, 2008 there were searches found for chloroform, neck breaking, making weapons from household items, and other searches the investigators found pertinent on the Anthony’s computer, but the Defense pointed out that they appeared to only last seconds or minutes and there were also searches for zombie invasions, self-defense, Kung-Fu arts, spleen rupturing, and other seemingly irrelevant things. No chloroform searches or references were found on Ricardo Morales computer. [He is Casey’s ex-boyfriend who had posted on his MySpace page an ad, in poor taste, that showed a man and a woman at dinner, with wording to the effect that stated: “Win her over with Chloroform.”]

Day 14: Prosecution Witnesses: Searching for the Kidnapper and Finding the Remains
(Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The developer of the software used to analyze the computers returned to finish up his testimony about the Internet searches found for chloroform and other curious things. Lee Anthony returned to talk about his computer search for Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez the morning of July 16, 2008.

Lee Anthony also explained that the story Casey told him changed between the evening of July 15 and the morning of July 16, 2008, about how Caylee was kidnapped. Apparently, Casey, Caylee, Zenaida, and Zenaida’s sister, Samantha, all met at J. Blanchard Park on June 16, 2008. Zenaida held Casey’s wrists as her sister took Caylee. Zenaida explained that she did not feel that Casey was a fit mother and wanted to teach her a lesson and warned her not to go to the police. After getting Casey’s password, she communicated with Casey via Casey’s MySpace page, telling her where to go during the 31 days Caylee was missing. These places where Casey was directed to go included stores, nightclubs, and parks.

Next, the Prosecution presented the audio recording of the 911 call the utility meter reader placed on December 11, 2008, upon finding a skull in the woods about a block from the Anthony home. The next witness was the crime scene investigator called out to the scene to document it via photography. The medical examiner’s investigator and the medical examiner on duty also testified as to the remains that were recovered at the scene.

[Perhaps it is worth noting that Casey Anthony would not look at the monitors when the jury was present, holding a tissue in her hand to her face, wiping her nose, no visible tears, but did look at the monitors when the jury was not present. The only genuine emotion Ms. Anthony displayed was when some of Caylee’s bones were described as being chewed on by animals.]

Just before the lunch recess, Judge Perry informed the jury that some events had taken place that would require them to adjourn early. After they jury left, he told the courtroom and the media that Casey Anthony was ill and they would be recessing for the day.

Day 15: Prosecution Witnesses: MDs, PhDs and CSIs
(Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Dr. Utz returned to finish reviewing photos of items recovered with Caylee Anthony’s remains, including a pair of little shorts that were nearly intact; letters that had once spelled out “Big Trouble” on a shirt that had decomposed and had only left behind remnants of its collar and a tag with 3T (toddler size 3) imprinted on it; and a portion of a Winnie-the-Pooh blanket.

Dr. Schultz, a forensic anthropologist who examined the remains talked about how unusual it was to find the mandible still attached to the skull in a surface recovery. He credited the duct tape with keeping the mandible and the skull together. Dr. Schultz described the evidence of disarticulation of the body by animals while there was still flesh holding the bones together; as well as the evidence of chewing on numerous bones. Painstakingly, the prosecutor and the doctor reviewed where the bones were found in marked areas in the woods, near where the skull and bags were initially found.

The Defense tried to get the doctor to say that the duct tape was not covering the nose and mouth area, but it was hard to say that when nothing but the skeleton remained and clearly the duct tape would have shifted as the skin and tissue decomposed.

The most powerful witness was Dr. Jan Garavaglia, the chief Medical Examiner. She described the roots growing through and around the bags, the baby blanket, the mandible, and the skull. However, the power of her testimony came through when she explained why she determined the manner of death to be homicide. She explained that her conclusion came from three red flags that observations and studies show are indicative of a homicide:

    1: not reporting the missing person or incident immediately to authorities is a red flag – in this case, it was not reported for 31 days, and when it was reported it was by the grandmother;
    2: an attempt to hide the body or enclose it in a closed container – in this case, the remains were discarded in the woods, after being wrapped in blankets and stuffed into a canvas laundry bag and two black plastic garbage bags, another red flag;
    3: the use of duct tape on the face is also a red flag, since there is no reason to put duct tape on the face after someone dies – in this case, there was clearly duct tape in the nose and mouth region, another red flag indicative of homicide.

Dr. G, as she is known, explained that the cause of death is the injury or disease that results in a chain of events that ultimately causes the person to die, but in this case, based on the remains, the medical conclusion of the cause of death was by undetermined means.

[In the courtroom, there is as much an art in asking questions as there is in knowing when to not ask a question, unfortunately for this defense, they have not mastered either of these arts, as exemplified by their cross-examination of Dr. Garavaglia.]

The defense attorney, Mr. Mason, would have done well to have not asked Dr. G. anymore questions, but he did, and she came back with more passion and more conviction. Dr. Garavaglia forcefully explained that by her experience and what is known about how homicides occur there was no logical basis for Casey to not report Caylee’s alleged drowning; or to toss her in a bag, or to try to hide her body; or to attach duct tape anywhere on her face; all of these are signs of a homicide, according to Dr. G.

As Mr. Mason, pressed on, Dr. G. pushed back citing that “accidental deaths are reported to authorities 100% of the time, unless there is a good reason.” Behavioral science shows, as does systematic behavior observations, that “100% of the time drownings are reported, they always call 911 in the hopes that the child will be saved. The circumstantial evidence shows that there is no other possible answer but homicide.”

[In baseball terms, I believe we can safely say she hit it out of the park for the prosecution.]

Finally, the last witness was Dr. Michael Warren who was allowed to show a contested video created with photos and precise measurements of Caylee’s skull, Caylee’s face, and the duct tape found attached to her mandible. The video showed how just one of the three pieces of duct tape found with the remains would have been large enough to cover both the nose and mouth, indicating an attempt to suffocate her. Although during cross-examination the doctor said that this video was just one of other possibilities of how the tape may have been used, under the Prosecution’s re-direct, he expressed his opinion that “the tape was placed over the mouth area prior to decomposition. When the soft tissue decomposed, the tape stayed in place and provided support for the mandible,” along with the root growth.

The last couple of witnesses talked about the collection and preservation of entomological (bug) evidence, including flies, eggs, and pupae, that are found at different stages of decomposition and help give somewhat of a time-line of death.

Day 16: Prosecution Witnesses: Forensics: Crime Scene, Bugs and Evidence
(Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Dr. Haskell, a forensic entomologist, analyzed the flies that were found in the trunk and with the paper towels in the trash bag and determined them to be Megaselia scalaris, otherwise known as coffin flies, which are typically found during one of the earlier phases of human decomposition. At his suggestion, the CSI team analyzed the paper towels for decompositional fluid and indeed they found adipocere (grave wax) on the paper towels.

Although, the blow fly is typically the first one to arrive on a recently deceased body, the forensic entomologist pointed out that their absence at the crime scene indicated to him that the body was placed in the woods 3-5 days after death, and the reason that they were not found in the trunk of the car where evidence of the decompositional fluid was found, is probably due to the multiple garbage bags in which the body was placed.

Jennifer Welch, the CSI responsible for photographing the crime scene and any evidence found, described the dense vegetation at the crime scene, and the careful way in which they cleared it away, on their hands and knees as they searched for evidence, flagging, sifting, documenting, and mapping every bit of evidence as they found it. She described the duct tape with the unique imprinting on it; the pink plastic words that spelled out “Big Trouble,” which had once been on Caylee’s t-shirt; as well as the numerous bones found.

Next, the Prosecution presented CSI Forensic Supervisor, Ronald Murdock, who came with his laptop and the TotalStation software program that helped the Sheriff’s office map out exactly where every bone and piece of evidence was found in the wooded area. The program is also able to give distances between areas, including the nearly 19 feet distance between where the skull and bags were found to the edge of the street, Suburban Drive.

Mr. Murdock also talked about being responsible for documenting the collection of items retrieved from the Anthony home as a result of a search warrant. Of note, were the finding of the same type of bags as the ones found with the remains, including black plastic garbage bags with the yellow drawstrings and a matching canvas laundry bag. They did not find a roll of duct tape that matched the duct tape at the crime scene and on the skull, but they did find a piece of it on the red metal gas can in one of the sheds.

Another important item collected was a sheet of heart-shaped stickers. This was significant because, earlier, an FBI latent print examiner had observed and noted seeing a glue residue outline on the duct tape in the same size and shape as the heart stickers later found in the home. The description of duct tape placed over Caylee’s mouth and possibly nose with a heart-shaped sticker on it, did not seem to upset Casey Anthony.

The Defense highlighted, during their cross-examination, one important observation, there were no rolls of the Henkel brand duct tape, the type attached to Caylee’s mandible and skull, found anywhere in the home, garage, sheds, or cars. The only piece of Henkel duct tape found was on the metal gas can in one of the sheds, implying some nefarious reason for that. [In earlier hearings, however, outside the presence of the jury, it was mentioned that this duct tape was used to post ‘Find Caylee’ posters around town. Perhaps, a few months later, when the search warrant was served, they had simply run out and never purchased anymore of that brand of duct tape.]

Day 17: Prosecution Witnesses: The F.B.I. Forensic Examiners
(Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

There were only two witnesses today because the Prosecution is ahead of schedule and their next witnesses are not due to fly in until noon tomorrow. The good news is that the State of Florida expects to finish presenting their case in chief either tomorrow afternoon, or the day after, which means the Defense could begin presenting their side as early as Wednesday. The Judge advised the jury that they may begin their deliberations as early as next week.

The two witnesses the Prosecution presented today were F.B.I forensic examiners. The first, Stephen Shaw, talked about the hair analysis he conducted on the hair found in the hairbrush, as well as hair Q59 from the matted hair on the skull, and the famous Q12 hair from the trunk. All three hairs were microscopically similar and consistent with coming from the same source. The Q12 and Q59 hair strands showed signs of decomposition and root-banding, the Q59 hair showed a brush-like root banding indicative of more advanced decomposition.

Mr. Shaw discussed a study he conducted with 600 hairs, that came from 15 individuals, two of which were children, male and female, 3 to 53 years old. The study exposed the hairs to different environmental conditions indoor, outdoor, in vehicles, under water, buried, in sun, in shade, for exposed time periods between 1 week to 7 months. Mr. Shaw asked two F.B.I hair fiber examiners to look at the hairs and offer their final conclusions, which were that no hairs exhibited signs of decomposition in the house or vehicles; some hairs did show decomposition under water and under soil; but none of the hairs from living donors showed root banding. However, the study also included post-mortem hairs that did show signs of root banding.

The second witness was F.B.I latent print examiner, Elizabeth Fontaine, who was markedly precise and exact in her speaking. She described the many different steps and processes she took to analyze the three pieces of duct tape, in the end finding no latent fingerprints. However, she is the examiner who noted observing and finding a residue outline of a heart-shape, about the size of a dime, on one of the pieces of duct tape. Unfortunately, after conducting various tests on the duct tape pieces in search of fingerprints, some of which involved liquids and lasers, she was unable to go back and find the heart-shaped outline again to document.

Day 18: Prosecution Witnesses: Scientist, Artist, Mother and Investigators
(Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The first witness, Ms. Catherine Theisen, a forensic mitochondrial DNA examiner for the F.B.I., testified to having tested Casey Anthony’s cheek swab and portions of hairs Q12 (found in the trunk of Casey’s car) and Q59 (found with the skull in the matted hair nest) for mitochondrial DNA. Both Casey and Caylee were matches and could not be excluded from being the source of those items, as would anyone in Caylee’s maternal line.

Orange County Sheriff’s crime scene investigator, Alina Burroughs, was present during the execution of a search warrant on the Anthony home on December 11, 2008, the day Caylee’s remains were found. She briefly talked about finding and collecting heart-shaped stickers from Casey Anthony’s bedroom. The investigators did not find heart-shaped stickers in any other room.

After the witness was excused, the prosecutor tried to introduce a puffy heart-shaped sticker found at the site where the remains were recovered. Jose Baez, the lead defense attorney, objected to the prosecutor trying to introduce into evidence this heart-shaped puffy sticker after the witness, Crime Scene Investigator Burroughs, had left the courtroom. Judge Perry ordered the bailiff to go out and find the witness and bring her back. Mr. Baez was then able to ask her if that particular type of sticker, or anything puffy like it, was found anywhere in the Anthony home, and Ms. Burroughs replied that she had not found anything like it. [Good catch by Mr. Baez!]

Cindy Anthony was re-called to the witness stand, one more time. She was asked where she and her husband were on December 11, 2008, when her granddaughter’s remains were found and a search warrant was executed on her home, and she replied that they were at the Los Angeles airport. She was asked if there were any items that she noticed missing between July and before December 11, 2008. She mentioned that one of Caylee’s teddy bears was missing, as well as one of her Winnie-the-Pooh blankets.

Mrs. Anthony was asked, in a somewhat inartful way, about the length of her hair and whether or not she used any dyes. She was asked about Casey’s hair, Lee’s hair, her brothers’ hair, and her mother’s hair. [The prosecutor was probably trying to ascertain if anyone in Caylee’s maternal line had the characteristics that applied to Caylee’s hair – length of about 9 inches long, untreated, and light brown. None of them did.]

Next, the prosecutor asked her about the roll of duct tape that was never found at her home, the roll from which came the pieces that were found attached to Caylee’s mandible. In a deposition she gave in July 2009, Cindy Anthony recalled that the duct tape rolls were brought to the ‘Find Caylee’ command center, and the tape was used to put up ‘Find Caylee’ posters all around town. She assumed that the roll or rolls of duct tape were left at the command center or were used up. She also mentioned in the deposition that George was the primary person to use that tape, and she did not recall Casey taking the roll of tape the two times she was out from jail.

Cindy Anthony was shown a photo of Caylee wearing the ‘Big Trouble’ shirt and was asked if she remembers seeing that shirt, and she cried as she told the jury that she had never seen Caylee wearing that shirt before. [At the same time that her mother is crying on the stand and her daughter’s photo is on the monitor, Casey stares at it, looks toward her mother, back at the monitor, and there is no reaction or emotion. Nothing.]

CSI Jennifer Welch returned to identify a photo she took of Casey Anthony’s tattoo, ‘Bella Vita’ (beautiful life) and she was just as quickly dismissed. Next, the tattoo artist, Bobby Williams, who gave Casey that tattoo and has known her for seven years took the stand. Mr. Williams testified that a few days prior to coming in on July 2, 2008, Casey called to make an appointment to get a tattoo that spelled out ‘Bella Vita’ in a “feminine font.” Casey came in got her $65 tattoo and seemed her usual happy self. On July 15, 2008, Casey stopped by to make an appointment for July 19th, mentioning that it was for herself and another person. Mr. Williams recalled asking her about Caylee and Casey said she was with the nanny, but she would bring Caylee in on the 19th.

And that was that. The Prosecution will rest their case on Wednesday (tomorrow) and the Defense will begin their presentation on Thursday of this week. [The trial is almost over.]

Day 19: Prosecution Witnesses: The Prosecution Rests & The Defense Motions for Acquittal
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

In short, after a few housekeeping matters, the Prosecution rested their case. First, the jury was called back, and the Prosecution submitted into evidence the can with the piece of spare tire cover testified to earlier in the trial, but which the Prosecution had forgotten to enter into evidence at the time of the testimony. Second, Judge Perry read to the jury an agreed upon stipulation by both the Defense and the Prosecution as to the meaning of Casey’s tattoo – Bella Vita or Beautiful Life – and agreement that she had gotten a tattoo on July 2, 2008. Finally, the Judge asked the Prosecution to call their next witness and the Prosecution stated that the State of Florida rested their case.

After the Prosecution concluded their case, the Judge instructed the jury, who had been present a matter of minutes, that he was sending them back to their hotel for the remainder of the day. He reminded them of his daily admonitions, to not discuss the case, to not research the case, and to not engage in any social media. Judge Perry then proceeded to call the court in recess until tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m., when it is expected the Defense will probably call their own witnesses.

[It is important to note, however, that our justice system does not require the Defense to ever prove anything to the jury, the burden is always and solidly on the Prosecution representing the State to prove the charges brought against the defendant. The defendant can, if they wish, present their own set of witnesses and evidence that might help them prove their version of events or their claim of innocence.]

Once the jury had left the courtroom, the Defense presented their motion for acquittal, which is typically done by the Defense after the Prosecution’s case in chief. Mr. Cheney Mason made the arguments for the Defense before Judge Perry as to why the Prosecution had not met their burden of proof, citing other case law, as well as decisions by the Appellate and Supreme Courts, that favored their position that the Judge should acquit Ms. Anthony of all seven charges.

The Prosecution had their chance to rebut the Defenses arguments for acquittal, also citing case law and higher court decisions, with an obviously different interpretation than what the Defense offered. In the end, Judge Perry retired to read through all the cases that were cited and all the arguments that were made, and when he returned to the courtroom, he thoughtfully and methodically outlined and detailed how he came to his decision to deny the Defense motion for acquittal.

Day 20: Prosecution Witnesses: Crime Scene Investigators and F.B.I. Examiners
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The Defense brought in some familiar faces and introduced us to some new ones, but all of them worked for law enforcement – either the F.B.I. or the Sheriff’s department. Each of them added a little something to the Defense pile: lack of DNA, lack of direct evidence, lack of relevancy, a little contamination, a little bit of everything it seemed.

CSI Bloise returned to talk about his inspection of Tony Lazzaro’s car and the collection of Casey’s clothing for testing. He used an alternative light source, as well as presumptive tests for blood, and they came back negative.

Ms. Heather Seubert, an F.B.I. DNA examiner, stated that all of Casey’s clothing tested negative for blood and she was unable to generate a DNA profile from them. Likewise for the infamous shovel Casey borrowed from her neighbor, no blood and no DNA profile possible. As for the duct tape, no blood and no DNA profile was generated from either side, however, the non-sticky side of the tape, had partial DNA data in marker D3, which did not come from any of the Anthony family members, instead it appeared to come from an F.B.I. examiner, through contamination. Ms. Seubert also tested the items of clothing and the laundry bag recovered from the scene where the remains were found, and there was no blood and no DNA profile generated. A controversial moment in the trial, but Ms. Seubert was asked and she answered that a paternity test was done and Lee Anthony was not the father.

Robin Maynard and Ron Murdoch, both crime scene investigators with the Sheriff’s department, took the stand to talk about the heart-shaped puffy sticker. Ms. Maynard explained how and where it was collected. And Mr. Murdoch came in with his laptop and mapping software to answer one question: how many feet from the skull was the heart-shaped sticker, and the answer was “approximately 30 feet.”

Another familiar face, Jennifer Welch returned to look at a series of photos of trash collected in the woods where Caylee’s remains were found, simply to say that none of the items were sent for testing. The Defense also asked her if bones were found beyond the location where the heart-shaped sticker was found, but none were found.

A new face was introduced, Lorie Gottesman, the F.B.I. document examiner who likely contaminated the duct tape with her own DNA. Ms. Gottesman had examined the duct tape with special instruments to find the heart-shaped residue on the duct tape that another examiner had reportedly seen, but she was unable to find any semblance of it. Gottesman was also unable to match the plastic that came from the Anthony home to the plastic that was found with Caylee’s remains.

The final witness, Cary Oien, a hair and fiber examiner with the F.B.I., another new face, came to testify that he tested the shovel, found a fragment of a Caucasian hair on the sticker that was found on the shaft of the shovel and he sent it out for mitochondrial testing.

And that concluded the Defense’s first day.

[It is worth noting that today is the third anniversary of Caylee’s death, although, no one in the courtroom mentioned it. More in my ‘Final Thoughts’ below.]

Day 21: Prosecution Witness: The Forensic Entomologist
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The Defense spent the entire day with one witness, Dr. Tim Huntington, a Forensic Entomologist with impressive credentials and a history of working with law enforcement. Nonetheless, his testimony resulted in heated and somewhat sarcastic exchanges by Mr. Ashton, the prosecutor, as well as repeated sidebars, lengthy proffers, and discussions with the Judge outside the presence of the jury.

Dr. Huntington explained that the amount of entomological (bug) evidence found in the trunk of the car and the trash bag found in the trunk was insignificant and inconsistent with a decomposing body being in the trunk. The stains found on the spare tire carpet and trunk liner, according to the witness, were not the right color and lacked the darkened ring one finds with decomposing bodies, especially on carpets, and therefore he did not think those stains were caused by decompositional fluid. And based on an experiment he conducted with a freshly killed pig placed in the trunk of a tightly sealed car, the early colonizing flies will find their way into the trunk and produce hundreds to thousands of flies and maggots, which Casey Anthony’s trunk did not have.

Lastly, Dr. Huntington pointed out that he had a different interpretation of the infamous paper towels in the trash bag. Dr. Vass had insinuated that the paper towels contained adipocere – a decompositional waxy substance – and this was the result of someone trying to wipe up the decompositional fluid in the trunk, which provided the food source to attract flies into the trash bag, evidenced by the few cocoon casings found embedded in the paper towels. However, Dr. Huntington pointed out that Dr. Vass’s “report does not state that the paper towels have adipocere, only that it has a fatty-like substance ‘like’ adipocere – it doesn’t state that it does have it, just something like it.”

Dr. Huntington explained that the fly eggs are deposited on the food source, they grow into maggots who feed on the food source, and then the maggots crawl away from the food source, sometimes 30-60 feet away, to pupate – the dormant, cocoon phase – and they like to find a place with nooks and crannies, like a crumpled up paper towel, in which to hide as a form of self-preservation. The fact that the crumpled up paper towels in the trash bag had cocoon casings was consistent with the paper towels not containing the food source.

Day 22: Defense Witnesses: The Forensic Anthropologist and The Forensic Pathologist
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

There were two witnesses on Saturday and some fireworks. Dr. William Rodriguez, a Forensic Anthropologist and co-founder of the Body Farm, was the first witness, who was practically kicked off the stand because of what the Prosecution called the Defense’s violation of the discovery court order.

Although, before leaving the stand, Dr. Rodriguez offered some interesting opinions that did not make the Prosecution happy. He noted that there was no attempt, as noted in the police reports, to determine the exact location of where the body was placed initially, which could have been accomplished by looking for environmental changes that indicate a decompositional event occurred. This, he felt, was fundamentally important to locating trace evidence.

Dr. Rodriguez also noted that with respect to the duct tape, there was no way to determine the exact location of the duct tape on the face due to the movements of the tissue as decomposition occurs, and the disarticulation of the body by animals. The only way to know exactly where the duct tape was on the face is if the body had been buried or mummified. However, this opinion was solicited by the Judge outside the presence of the jury.

The second witness, Dr. Werner Spitz, came with more than 50 years of experience as a Forensic Pathologist. He accused the medical examiner of conducting a “shoddy autopsy” because she did not cut the skull, horizontally, to remove the cap and look inside for black flecks of brain tissue that could have been tested for drugs. The failure to cut the skull cap was something Dr. Spitz felt was a violation of protocol. The prosecutor was able to point out that there are no written protocols on this matter, and that this issue of removing the skull cap was simply Dr. Spitz’s opinion of how autopsies should be done.

And if accusations of a shoddy autopsy were not enough to get people’s attention, Dr. Spitz shocked everyone by stating that he believed the duct tape was placed on the body after decomposition, directly on the skeletonized skull and mandible, with the purpose to keep them together. The prosecutor’s verbal walk-through of how this could have happened, made it seem implausible, indicating that someone would have had to go back to where the body was dumped, pick up the skull, then pick up the mandible, and then place three pieces of duct tape over them, and then proceeded to put them back.

The prosecutor pointed out that the hair was attached to the duct tape, which would not have been possible if the skull had been skeletonized. Also, he pointed out that plant roots had grown through the mandible, skull and tape. [Implying, perhaps, that there would not have been enough time in those 31 days, for the body to have fully skeletonized, the duct tape to be placed, and the plant roots to have grown through them.]

Dr. Spitz, seemingly confused, forgetful, and without fully grasping all the details of the case, at times referred to Casey‘s skull and remains, who is the defendant – not the victim, and was unable to remember the circumstances surrounding Caylee’s death. He, nonetheless, claimed that the manner of death should never have been stated to be a homicide, but rather as undetermined, because the medical data was just not there.

The prosecutor asked him if he understood that the cause of death is certainly based on medical information, but that the manner of death is based on a medical and legal investigation, and it is to include the circumstances surrounding a death, outside of the medical information. The doctor replied that he knew that, however, he was still unable to articulate all of the circumstances that he considered in coming to the conclusion that the manner of death was inconclusive in this case.

Day 23: Prosecution Witnesses: Accusations & Admonitions
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The morning began at 9:00 a.m. with Jeff Ashton, the prosecutor, asking the Judge to hear a matter. Judge Perry, seemingly annoyed, told him that he has repeatedly asked the lawyers to notify his clerk by 8:20 a.m. if they have anything that they need to discuss with the court before witnesses begin at 9:00 a.m., however, he asked all the lawyers to approach and they had a sidebar.

The Defense was not allowed to call their first two witnesses due to discovery court order violations and the court was adjourned for the day, but not without a hefty round of accusations and admonitions between the Defense, The Prosecution, and the Judge!

Day 24: Defense Witnesses: Investigators and Scientists
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The day had some excitement, some interesting bits of information, and a great deal of belabored testimony that may have lost the jury, not for its complexity, but from sheer boredom.

The Defense once again faced accusations and admonitions for discovery violations for failing to turn in a discovery report by Mr. Eikelenboom, their DNA scientist. The court had already ordered, before the trial even began, that all experts are to turn in detailed reports that include every opinion and conclusion to which they plan to testify, and all of the data that formed that opinion. The lead defense attorney, Jose Baez, was admonished by the Judge as willfully violating the court’s order, and he was threatened with contempt charges after the trial.

After lunch, the Defense accused the prosecutor of violating the court’s discovery order, for having handed to the Defense, earlier that morning, a compact disk with redacted information from the Anthony’s home computer. The prosecutor, Ms. Burdick, argued that the Defense has had that hard drive for the last three years and were not denied access to the data. The Prosecution argued that their CD includes redacted content from that hard drive from June 16th, 2008, that would disprove the Defense’s version of activities that day and it is for presentation purposes. The Judge sided with the prosecution on this issue, and said to the Defense, “How can it be the fault of the State of Florida that you chose not to look at any particular days, when you had the hard drive?

The prosecutor offered one bit of interesting information that may or may not come in, apparently April Whalen, a prisoner at the jail for five days in June 2009, was in proximity to Casey Anthony and it was reported by a “citizen” that Ms. Whalen had a son who drowned in the family pool in December 2007. The drown victim’s grandfather pulled him out of the family pool, performed CPR and called 911. [It appears that the story may have travelled to Ms. Anthony, given it’s similarity to her own new version of events.]

A great deal of time was spent on Mr. Eikelenboom, a DNA scientist for the defense. First, because of all the time spent, outside the presence of the jury, discussing the discovery violations, and second, because he spent a great deal of time talking about touch DNA and low-copy DNA in order to say that perhaps there might have been some DNA left somewhere at the recovery site, if it was not completely degraded, that could have been tested.

The next witness, Detective Melich took the stand to say that he did not find anything related to chloroform in the searches conducted of the Anthony home. And the prosecutor pointed out that Casey was home between late August and mid-October, leaving it to the jury to connect the dots that perhaps Casey had the opportunity to get rid of evidence.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on Dr. Weiss, an analytical chemist and colleague of Dr. Vass at the Oakridge Lab. The Defense focused on pointing out every glitch noted in the research scientists’ bench notes as they conducted the tests on the evidence they were, which included air samples, and carpet samples. Dr. Weiss tried to indicated that these are the normal kinds of things that you correct and calibrate and try again. And the Defense once again, as with Dr. Vass, accused Dr. Weiss of slanting his testimony because he stood to make royalties from a related invention that deals with human decomposition, however, the prosecutor was able to point out that the invention’s consumers would be the police and military, and apparently the U.S. government can use their patents free of royalties.

Day 25: Defense Witnesses: A Whole Lot of Nothing
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

In a nut shell, the Defense brought six experts to testify that they had found nothing and the Prosecution countered that it didn’t mean anything.

The Defense brought in a geologist forensic examiner for the FBI who had been given different items that might possibly contain geologic materials for her to examine and match to the soil at the recovery site, but for various reasons there were no matches found. The prosecutor pointed out that the shoes may have been cleaned or not used to go to that site, and the examiner agreed.

An FBI forensic toxicologist conducted tests to find drug evidence in Caylee’s hair, but none was found. The prosecutor pointed out that you cannot test for chloroform in someone’s hair, and if you immediately die of some drug you are given, it will not show up in the hair, and the examiner agreed.

The University of Central Florida professor testified to testing the air samples in the trunk and finding the prominent profile to be for gasoline, although he did find very small quantities of three compounds listed in Dr. Vass’s list of compounds found in decomposing bodies. The prosecutor pointed out that when he tested the air from the trunk it was four days after the trunk liner had been removed, and the professor admitted not knowing that, and conceded that the methods he used were inferior and not as sensitve as the ones Dr. Vass used.

Dr. Rickenback, a forensic chemist examiner for the FBI, testified to not finding chloroform on the samples he took from the steering wheel cover in Casey Anthony’s car, or from Caylee’s car seat, or from Caylee’s doll. He also did not find chloroform in the liquid found in a Gatorade bottle which was located near Caylee’s skull, nor in the liquid in the syringe that was in the bottle.

Finally, the Defense called Karin Korsberg Lowe, Hair and Fiber examiner for the FBI, to testify that she did not find any decomposition in any of the hairs that she was given to analyze, outside of the one single hair found in Casey Anthony’s trunk that showed signs of decomposition and root-banding.

Ms. Lowe also testified that the duct tape found at the recovery site and the duct tape found at the Anthony home were not consistent with each other. [I would assume this could only help George Anthony, even though it came out under the direct examination, because if the duct tape he used to patch up his metal gas can was dissimilar to the one on Caylee, then it fails to substantiate the Defense’s claims that he helped cover up the accident.]

Day 26: Defense Witnesses: X
(COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Day 27: Defense Witnesses: X
(COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Day 28: Defense Witnesses: Abrupt Conclusion and No Witnesses
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Morning sparks flew with the pre-9:00 a.m. discussions the attorneys and the Judge occasionally have to iron out issues with witnesses, or motions they want to file, or complaints they may have. This morning began with more allegations by Prosecutor Jeff Ashton of Defense discovery violations and it ended on an unrelated matter (around 6:42 a.m. PT / 9:42 a.m. ET) that caused the judge to recess for the day.

Day 29: Defense Witnesses: To Be or Not To Be Competent
(COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The trial was scheduled to start at 8:30 this morning to make up for the lost day this past Saturday, but it did not. It began with Judge Perry handing out packets of documents to all the attorneys to read, as well as one for Casey Anthony. The cameras showed everyone reading intently with no clue as to what they were reading or what had happened.

Whatever it was, Casey Anthony was grinning ear-to-ear, laughing and nodding with her death-penalty-qualified attorney, Ann Finnell, whom we had not seen since the voir dire of potential death-qualified jurors. It was clear that something had happened, probably related to why court was abruptly cancelled on Saturday, and Casey Anthony was very happy about it.

Was there a plea deal? Did it have something to do with the Federal court’s ruling last week that “Florida’s process for imposing the death penalty was unconstitutional”? [See Article in the Orlando Sentinel] Was there a motion for a mistrial because of some misconduct by an attorney, the jury, a witness?

It was more than an hour later when we found out what those packets of reading material were all about. Judge Perry announced that this past Saturday, defense attorney Cheney Mason filed a motion for competency. [In effect, stating that the Defense team did not think Casey Anthony was competent to stand trial. This was surprising on two fronts: first, because this kind of motion is usually filed at the start of a trial; and secondly, because Casey has appeared so competent throughout the trial.]

Immediately on Saturday, Judge Perry appointed three independent forensic psychologists to evaluate Ms. Anthony: Dr. Harry McClaren from Chattahoochee; Dr. Ryan Hall from Lake Mary; and Dr. Daniel Tressler from Altamonte Springs. The three of them, independently, evaluated Ms. Anthony on Saturday and Sunday to determine if the trial could proceed. The packets of reading material the Judge had handed out, were those reports with the evaluations. The court asked the attorneys if they would stipulate that the court can use the reports to determine competency, and they all agreed. He asked them if both sides had reviewed the reports by the three experts, and they all said they had.

Judge Perry then said that the court “finds that the defendant is competent to proceed” and he ordered that the reports be sealed.

The decision by the court seemed like the right decision to trial watchers, based on all of her appearances in the courtroom. In fact, throughout the course of the trial, Casey can be seen listening intently, taking notes, whispering to her lawyers during testimony, seeming to be very involved in her own defense. Even Jose Baez, the lead defense attorney, has talked in interviews, prior to the trial, about how Casey is very intelligent and has been very involved in her own defense. Competency hearings usually are concerned with the ability of a defendant to understand what is going on in the trail and to participate in their own defense – both of those criteria seem satisfied.

With that said, the trial resumed at 9:42 a.m. ET with the Defense calling Detective Yuri Melich back to the stand to clear up his testimony from Friday regarding Roy Kronk’s cell phone records which were subpoenaed by the Detective. [Roy Kronk is the water meter reader who called the police in August and in December to report seeing something that looked like a skull in the woods where Caylee’s remains were eventually found. Mr. Kronk is accused by the Defense of moving Caylee’s remains to that collection to collect the reward money. It seems, however, that Mr. Kronk could have collected the reward money for finding her anywhere.] Melich stated that they had only subpoenaed his cell phone records between June 1st to July 1st, 2008. The Defense suggested to Melich that if he had subpoenaed Mr. Kronk’s records for August through December 2008, then they would have known his movements in August and December, insinuating that Mr. Kronk had done something wrong.

The Defense then called a few Orange County Sheriff employees for a minor point as to whether the cadaver dog only searched Casey’s car at the Forensic Garage or if he also searched a second car. The Deputy canine handler had the dog search two cars to make sure he did not indicate bias on Casey’s car.

Next, came Dr. Furton, a chemistry professor who was there to dispute Dr. Vass’s testing and conclusions about the chemical compounds indicative of a decomposing body. In the end, the prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, did a great job of getting the professor to admit that there was no other single event, other than a decomposing human, that could account for all of the findings and all of the chemical compounds found in the evidence, including the trunk.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with James Hoover and Dominic Casey, two private investigators who videotaped themselves going into the woods off of Suburban Drive, near where Caylee’s remains were found, on a tip from a psychic who told them to look for Caylee there. The videotapes were shown of them searching in the woods and around an abandoned house. Although they did not find Caylee’s remains, they did indicate that in November, when they searched, there was water in the woods that kept them from searching very deep. The total length of each of the three searches were 10 to 12 minutes.

Day 30: Defense Witnesses: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The Defense called George, Cindy and Lee Anthony, the entire family, along with a few important witnesses, like a man who searched for Caylee and did not find her, as well as a man who wasn’t looking but did.

The Defense called Joe Jordan a volunteer who sent an email to detectives, after Caylee’s remains were found, that he had searched that area and he believed that Caylee’s remains were moved there. Under cross-examination he acknowledged that he did not know exactly where Caylee’s remains were found, and he and his team had only searched five feet into the woods because of the flooded areas in there.

George Anthony was called back to the witness stand to address allegations that he had an affair with Crystal Holloway, a.k.a, River Cruz, who volunteered to help find Caylee. This woman also claimed that she had an affair with Mr. Anthony. The Defense brought up a statement she made that George Anthony had told her that the situation at hand was “an accident that snowballed out of control.” [Was that the wishful thinking of a father, or did he know something? The Defense implied he knew something.] The prosecutor countered back by asking George about another statement attributed to Ms. Holloway that one day he pushed Casey against the wall and demanded to know what she had done with Caylee. Mr. Anthony denied both statements, as well as the affair.

Cindy Anthony followed her husband, only to state that she did not tell Dominic Casey to search the woods off of Suburban Drive, but the Defense brought her son, Lee, and Detective Melich to impeach her and prove she had just perjured herself. [Why would the Defense want to prove to the jury that their witness, who had taken responsibility for the Google searches on chloroform a few days earlier, was willing and able to lie on the stand?]

The man who found Caylee, Roy Kronk, was basically accused of wanting nothing but the reward money and insinuations were made that he may have moved Caylee’s remains from another location, held them for about four months, and then dumped them into the woods, just so he could claim the reward. [Why would he not have claimed the reward from the original location where he found Caylee’s remains?]

The next few witnesses were heard outside the presence of the jury. Two Orange County corrections officers were proffered to show that Casey has been a model inmate, always smiling and happy, hoping that they would be allowed to present these witnesses to the jury to show how Casey, even in bad circumstances is always smiling and happy.

The last witness to speak outside the presence of the jury was Jesse Grund, Casey’s ex-fiancé who was there to say that Casey had told him, back in 2005, that she woke up one night to find Lee standing over her, just staring at her; and another night she woke up to find him groping her.

The Judge would not allow any of the last three witnesses, proffered outside the presence of the jury, to testify based on the lack of relevancy and materiality to the charges. And that was that. (Read the detailed update of Day 30)

Day 31: Defense Witnesses: X
(COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The Judge listened to Ann Finnel, death-qualified defense attorney, make her argument over the phone on a Defense motion requesting a mistrial on the grounds that Florida’s death penalty was unconstitutional. She did this as Casey Anthony sat by herself at the Defense table, all of her attorneys were late and not present to answer a question the Judge had to ask Ms. Anthony as to whether she agreed with this motion, but Casey Anthony stood up, turned on her microphone, and we heard her speak for the first time, “I can answer that now. I agree with Ms. Finnel.” with not the slightest quiver in her voice. After listening to the arguments, Judge Perry denied the motion.

The Defense team eventually arrived and called Cindy Anthony to the stand to ask her if she knew about or was told about Lee Anthony going into Casey’s room at night. She said ‘no’ to both. Mrs. Anthony was then asked about the jail house visit when she mentioned to Casey that someone in the media mentioned that Caylee drowned in the pool. At the same time that Mrs. Anthony is asked and testified it was not a new theory to the family at that point in time. [If true, how did she reconcile that with the story Casey was still telling at that point in time that Caylee was kidnapped?] The prosecutor brought up Casey’s response to her mentioning the drowning, which was, “Surprise, surprise.”

A great deal of time was spent with the next witness, George Anthony. Extremely emotional testimony brought Mr. Anthony to tears, bawling uncontrollably at times, as he was asked about when he was first told that the remains were Caylee’s, and how a month later he attempted suicide. Defense attorney, Jose Baez, brought up the suicide note George Anthony wrote and asked him about his state of mind and how he felt guilt. The prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, used that opening to question Mr. Anthony about the suicide attempt and the suicide note, in which Mr. Anthony expresses guilt over not being able to protect Caylee from whatever happened to her, expressing the need to be in heaven with her, expressing the need to know what happened to her, who did it, why they did it. Mr. Ashton was also able to introduce the fact that Mr. Anthony purchased a gun to use to question people Casey told him might be involved, which went to his state of mind and also disproved the Defense theory that George Anthony not only knew what happened to Caylee, but helped dispose of her body.

The next witness, Brandon Sparks, was there to impeach his father, Roy Kronk, the water meter reader who found Caylee’s remains. Mr. Sparks claimed that he spoke to his father on November 11, 2008, before the remains were found, and Mr. Kronk told him that he had found the remains, the he was going to be rich and famous, and to watch him on television. Mr. Kronk followed Mr. Sparks to the stand to say that the phone call to which his son referred happened on December 11, 2008, after he found the remains and the media found out about him. The Defense questioned him about moving the remains, picking up the bag and tilting the skull with his meter reader stick, and not mentioning it to the police. He explained that he gave many statements, he did mention it in some of his statements, but it was upsetting and he didn’t recall all the details.

The Defense called Deputy Turso to say that he never told Mr. Kronk to not tell anyone about the August 2008 phone calls Kronk made to the Crimeline. Lead Detective Melich was called back to say that Mr. Kronk did not mention the August 2008 phone calls on December 11, 2008 when he discovered the body, but rather on December 17th, nearly a week later. Detective Melich also re-interviewed him to clarify the issue of the skull rolling out, or falling out of the bag.

The last witness of the day, Dr. Sally Karioth, came to testify about the different forms of grief, and how different people grieve differently. Ms. Sims, one of the defense attorneys, gave her very specific hypotheticals that seemed less about Casey and more about all the people around her, but whatever hypothetical the doctor was given, she would agree that it could be consistent with grief. The doctor said that young adults are “reluctant grievers” and they often engage in the same risky behavior their friends may have died from, like drinking and driving, or drugs.

Jeff Ashton, the prosecutor did a masterful job of cutting to the chase by asking her, based on her testimony thus far, if everything from happiness to sadness, from promiscuity to frigidity is consistent with grief and she agreed. “So, no matter what hypothetical the counsel had given you,” Mr. Ashton asked, “it would be consistent with grief, because you said everything is consistent with grief.” and Dr. Karioth answered, “Yes.” The prosecutor also asked her if she had interviewed Casey Anthony and she had not. Ashton asked her what facts about the case did the Defense give her to review, and she said none. Mr. Ashton asked the doctor, to put the exclamation mark on the point he was trying to make, “What facts did you know about this case when you walked through those courtroom doors.” and she replied, “None. London did not carry it. I thought it was a general inquiry. I did not even know it was a trial. I thought I was going to be asked about grief and loss in general, and that it was related to a mother losing a daughter.”

The Defense had no re-direct for Dr. Karioth.

Day 32: Defense Rests & Rebuttals Begin: From Marital Affairs to Family Pet Burials
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The day began with the Defense arguing, outside the presence of the jury, that the Prosecution violated the Judge’s discovery order – [the same one the Defense has violated numerous times] – by requesting Mrs. Anthony’s phone logs and computer records from her work at Gentiva. The Judge told the Defense that they could depose the witnesses from Gentiva after today’s trial day, adding, “It is logical that if someone testifies to A, the other side will check if B is not true.” but, the Judge added, they will conduct a Richardson hearing to determine if the Prosecution committed a discovery violation and if any prejudice was suffered by the Defense.

The first defense witness called to the stand was Krystal Holloway, also known as River Cruz, George Anthony’s alleged mistress, and formerly a volunteer to help find Caylee. Ms. Holloway claimed that George told her, at her home, that the matter with Caylee was an accident that snowballed out of control. Under cross-examination, Mr. Ashton pointed out that in her deposition Ms. Holloway told police, “He said, ‘I really believe it was an accident that went wrong, and she just tried to cover it up.'”

Although at first she denied the affair to police, eventually Ms. Holloway admitted to it when they approached her with text messages the two of them had exchanged, resulting in her going to the National Enquirer and giving an interview for which her twin sister was paid $4,000. [She gave no explanation as to why they would pay her sister, nor was she asked.] She claimed they broke up after Caylee’s 4th Birthday Balloon Memorial.

The Defense then called Dominic Casey, the private investigator who searched the woods at the suggestion of a psychic. [The same woods where Caylee’s remains were eventually found.] He was called back to the stand so that the Defense could submit into evidence two Google maps sent to him via email on which he had marked the area where he had searched on November 15th, 2008. He emphasized to Mr. Baez that they indicated the general area where he searched, and were not specific pinpoints of where he had searched because the map was so small. The magnified version of the map the prosecutor showed Mr. Casey prompted the witness to say that the pinpoints shown were not indicative of where he had searched.

George Anthony was then called to the stand after the lead defense attorney, Jose Baez, showed a videotape, taken by a news media outlet, of one of the Caylee command centers. In the videotape, a roll of Henkel duct tape can be seen in a box on a table. [The Henkel brand duct tape is the duct tape that was found on Caylee’s remains.] Mr. Baez asked George Anthony if he had brought that tape to the command center, and Mr. Anthony didn’t know if he had or if someone else had. Mr. Baez then insinuated that because Mr. Anthony was originally from Ohio and the Henkel brand duct tape is made in Ohio that perhaps it was his duct tape.

Mr. Baez then asked George Anthony if he recalled a series of pets, beginning in Ohio, that had died, were wrapped in blankets, put into trash bags, wrapped with duct tape, and then buried in their yard. Although George Anthony recalled the pets, he could not recall how they were wrapped up. Mr. Baez then asked, “When you found out that your granddaughter was found wrapped in a blanket, in a plastic bag, wrapped up in duct tape, did you tell law enforcement that that is how you used to bury your pets?” The prosecutor objected, a sidebar was called, and Mr. Baez had no further questions.

The prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, had only one question for Mr. Anthony during his cross-examination, “Did you ever take a dead pet and toss it in the swamp?” and Mr. Anthony replied, “No, sir.”

Unable to leave well enough alone, the Defense called Cindy Anthony to the stand to ask her about the pets and how they were wrapped up before burial. Cindy informed Mr. Baez that with Mandy, her first baby, it was she who went to the vet in Ohio to put her dog down. The vet had asked Mrs. Anthony to bring a blanket on the day the dog had to be put down, and it was the vet who wrapped the dog up in the blanket, in black plastic, and secured it with clear packaging tape. Their dog Bo, a number of years later in Florida, also had to be put down by the vet, and it was then again that the vet wrapped up the dog in a blanket, plastic, and clear tape. The rest of the pets, Ginger, Cinnamon and Penny, were wrapped up by the family in a favorite towel or blanket, put them in black plastic bags, and secured the bag with tape, later burying them in a designated spot in their backyard, which was all part of their family pet burial ritual.

Prosecutor Burdick asked Mrs. Anthony if they had ever euthanized their own pets with chloroform, or if they had ever put duct tape over the faces of their pets, and Cindy Anthony replied that they had not. Ms. Burdick brought out that Casey Anthony was a senior in high school when Ginger and Cinnamon, mother and daughter cocker spaniels, passed away one year apart. Cindy, when asked, agreed that Casey assisted her parents in wrapping up the cocker spaniels for burial, as well as being present for most of the family pet burial rituals since she was a little girl.

The Defense called Lee Anthony to also speak to the family pet burials. He did mention that duct tape was used to wrap up one of the pets and that his parents were the ones who were primarily responsible for burying the pets.

[Unfortunately for the Defense, the testimony ends up being less about George Anthony burying the pets this way, and more about ‘Aha, this is where Casey got the idea of how to wrap up Caylee.’]

After the lunch recess, Judge Perry asked Mr. Baez if they had anymore witnesses and if his client would be testifying, and he said ‘no’ to both. The jury was returned, Mr. Baez asked that the business records of Henkel brand be entered into evidence, the Judge asked him to call his next witness, and Mr. Baez said, “Your honor, the Defense rests.”

The jury was excused again so that the court and the attorneys could discuss the rebuttal witnesses and evidence the Prosecution was planning to introduce. The Defense claimed it was a violation of the court’s discovery order, the Judge allowed it in because the Defense should have expected that the Prosecution would check the veracity of Mrs. Anthony’s testimony when it came to her claims that she was at home making the Google chloroform searches, even though her work time-card reflected she was at work. The Judge did not find that a discovery violation was committed and allowed the rebuttal witnesses and business records regarding Mrs. Anthony’s claims.

Mr. Ashton wanted, for his rebuttal, for the jury to be able to smell the human decomposition odor in the can that contained the spare tire cover, but the judge denied that request, claiming that such an act would make the jurors witnesses whom the defendant would not be able to cross-examine, as is her right under the constitution. However, the Judge did allow Mr. Ashton’s request to have the entire eight-page George Anthony suicide note to be introduced into evidence and the jury was given the opportunity to read the entire note.

The first and only rebuttal witness the Prosecution called to the stand today was Alina Burroughs, a crime scene technician, who was brought in to identify a photograph the prosecutor wanted to submit into evidence, a photograph of clothing, including Caylee’s bathing suits, taken from Caylee’s wooden chest of drawers in Caylee’s bedroom.

The day ended with a spectator, a 28-year-old male, getting pulled up before Judge Perry for raising his middle finger to Jeff Ashton, the prosecutor, while he was at the podium speaking and while the jury was present. He was fined $400, he will have to pay $223 in court costs, and he will have to spend 6 days in jail. [The message: don’t mess around in Judge Perry’s courtroom.]

Day 33: Rebuttals: Perjury & Premeditation
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The day began at 8:52 a.m. ET with a hearing outside the presence of the jury, where the Defense continued to argue the rebuttal witnesses and evidence the Prosecution was planning to present. The Defense wanted the evidence excluded, but the Judge gave them the balance of the morning to review and prepare for the Prosecution’s rebuttal.

Judge Perry was quite annoyed, mostly with the Defense, saying, “We will be in recess subject to call. You can take as much time as you want, but you have jurors back there, and they have been sequestered. I hope this is a real problem and not an imaginary problem. If I find out this is an imaginary problem, because these folks are ready to return to their homes. Tell the jury that we will be in recess indefinitely.”

And so we all waited from 9:15 a.m. ET (6:15 a.m. PT) until 1:37 p.m. when the jury was called back in and the Prosecution called their first rebuttal witness, John Camperlengo, the Chief Compliance Officer at Gentiva, Cindy Anthony’s former employer. Mr. Camperlengo came with records detailing Cindy Anthony’s log-ins, emails, and computer activities.

The bottom line was that Cindy Anthony perjured herself when she had testified to being home on March 17th and March 21st of 2008, at the times when the Google searches on chloroform were made. Mr. Camperlengo showed incontrovertible proof that Mrs. Anthony was at work, using her desktop terminal, in her office. There were emails she wrote, received and deleted on those days; there were changes and updates made to her patient records; and more importantly, all of it was done on a closed network system that cannot be accessed from home or anywhere else; a system where you need a unique user ID and a password that is changed every 90 days; on a system that logs you out if the terminal is inactive for more than 15 minutes. [This proved that Mrs. Anthony lied, under oath, that she had been able to work from home and indeed was home on those days to make those Google searches.]

The second rebuttal witness was Deborah Polisano, Cindy Anthony’s former supervisor, who testified that, unlike what Mrs. Anthony had said, it would be illegal for the records to show that she was at work when she was getting compensated time off. [Unlike what Mrs. Anthony testified to under oath, her supervisor did not regularly ‘fix’ her time-card to show she was at work when she was actually taking compensated time off.]

Mr. Ashton had Dr. Goldberger, a professor of toxicology, rebutt Dr. Spitz assertion that the black flecks inside Caylee’s cranium was decomposed organic material. A cranial wash was done and the testing of the materials showed there was nothing detected that contained organic or decomposition materials.

The fourth rebuttal witness was Dr. Warren, a professor of anthropology, that was there to rebutt Dr. Spitz and his assertion that forensic pathologists have to saw open a skull, in fact, he felt it was unnecessary and a bad idea because as a result you have altered the evidence for another analyst.

Then the Prosecution brought in their big finale, the two forensic computer examiners for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who, at the request of the prosecutor, Linda Burdick, searched the Anthony’s desktop computer, where the chloroform searches had been found, to look for the things which Mrs. Anthony claimed she had also searched on Google.

The first forensic computer examiner, Kevin Stenger, searched the Internet history and expanded the search to include data from March 4-21 of 2008 for specific keywords: chlorophyll, hand sanitizer, neck breaking, bamboo shoots, Gentiva, and dogs. He found no searches for chlorophyll, even though he had accounted for misspellings by truncating chlorophyll to “chlor.” There were no searches for sanitizer. He did find a Google search for “neck breaking,” and it was typed into the Google search window as “neck,” a space, and “breaking” and it was definitely not a pop-up video as Mrs. Anthony had claimed. There were also no searches for bamboo shoots and no attempts to access a Gentiva website. He used multiple forensic tools to verify this data, including CacheBack, Encase, a hex editor and nothing came up.

The second forensic computer examiner, Sandra Osborne, was asked to search the entire hard drive for certain keywords, including chlorophyll, hand sanitizer, bamboo shoots, and Gentiva. The only reference found in the entire computer to chlorophyll was in the Windows dictionary. Hand sanitizer was found nowhere on the hard drive, however bamboo figurines, bamboo furniture, bamboo flooring, and other bamboo items were found, but not bamboo as a poisonous substance. Finally, there were no indicators of access to a Gentiva website.

The last witness, appropriately so, was Yuri Melich, lead detective in this case. He was asked to check the cell phone records for Cindy Anthony, for George Anthony and for their home landline phone records. Since Mrs. Anthony, in her testimony, claimed that she saw the pool ladder attached to the pool on June 16th, 2008 and immediately called George, her husband, to see if he had left the ladder up on the pool, naturally, the Prosecutor asked the Detective to check if Cindy’s cell phone records or home phone records show a call going out to George Anthony’s cell phone on June 16th and none were found on either phone.

During cross-examination Mr. Baez brought up that George Anthony had multiple cell phones, and Detective Melich claimed he did not know that.

The Prosecution then declared that they had no further rebuttal witnesses and the Judge excused the jury to ask the Defense if they were going to put Ms. Anthony on for their rebuttal, but Mr. Mason said they would not.

At 4:55 p.m. eastern time (ET), the Judge called the jury back and said to the jury, “This concludes the presentation of all evidence we will convene on Sunday for closing arguments. Please remember all my admonitions. You may be excused.”

After the jury had been excused, the Defense renewed all of their motions for mistrial and they were denied, except their most recent motion for mistrial tied to the constitutionality of the death penalty, which the Judge will reserve his decision until just before the verdict comes in from the jury.

Mr. Mason for the Defense entered an acquittal motion, based on the reasonable inference that it was an accident. He said, “The prosecution fantasy of the duct tape or chloroform as the murder weapon, depending on which week of the trial it was, how she died, when, and where and who may have been present, those question have not been answered. No evidence of premeditation. No evidence of a felony murder. Elements as to counts one, two, and three have not been proven. What they have proven is that Ms. Anthony lied to many people, for many reasons, that the child was dead, and… what else? Oh, yes, they’ve proven that she was a good mother. Chloroform may or may not have been found or used. No evidence that this duct tape was put on the child’s face before death. The chloroform is all confusion. No evidence that the child was killed by it? NO! This should not be left to guessing by the jury.”

However, the Judge said, “Acquittal motion is denied.”

[The closing arguments will begin Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. ET.]

Day 34: Closing Arguments: Defense & Prosecution
(COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Closing arguments began today and should have ended today, but after more than nine hours, Judge Perry decided to call it a day and finish closing arguments tomorrow, the Fourth of July, at 8:30 a.m.

Both sides were given four hours to present their closing arguments, the Prosecution, via Mr. Jeff Ashton, used one hour and about 15 minutes of their four hours, presenting a big picture summary of the State’s case, and addressing the day-by-day pattern of Casey Anthony’s lying.

The Defense was able to conclude their closing arguments today, with Jose Baez giving a very detailed rebuttal of the evidence, or lack thereof, in the first three hours of the Defense’s time slot; and Mr. Mason giving the last hour of their closing arguments reviewing concepts like burden of proof and reasonable doubt.

Tomorrow, the Prosecution will finish their closing arguments and the jury will be given their instructions before they are sent off to deliberate… on a national holiday…on the Fourth of July.

Day 35: Closing Arguments: Prosecution Rebuttal
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The Prosecution was unable to present their rebuttal arguments to the jury yesterday, as they were scheduled to do, because the Defense finished their closing arguments at 6:35 p.m. (eastern time) and Judge Perry thought it best to adjourn for the day.

This decision by the Judge benefited the Defense by giving them the last word and giving the jury a great deal to think about overnight. In a way, it benefited the Prosecution, to a lesser extent, by giving them a little more time to tweak and perfect their rebuttal to the Defense’s closing arguments.

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton gave a brilliant rebuttal of some of the Defense’s arguments about the scientific evidence. He also reviewed the difference between premeditated murder and felony murder, offering possible scenarios that would also require a first degree murder verdict. These scenarios include using chloroform or the duct tape to keep Caylee quiet. Toward the end he read part of George Anthony’s suicide note.

Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick, who gave the brilliant opening statements, did another brilliant job incorporating videos of jail house visits, Casey’s call to her parents on July 16th 2008, the audio-taped interview with detectives at Universal Studios, and other photos. Ms. Burdick asked at the end of her rebuttal argument, “Whose life was better? That is the only question you need to answer in considering why Caylee Marie Anthony was left on the side of the road dead.” Ms. Burdick holds up a photo of Casey Anthony’s tattoo, next to a photo of Casey dancing on a stage at Club Fusian, and she says, “There is your answer.”

Judge Belvin Perry gave the jury detailed jury instructions regarding the charges, the elements the State had to prove, the laws that apply, the definition of reasonable doubt, the concept of the burden of proof, and the right of the defendant to not testify. After a lengthy instruction to the jury, Judge Belvin Perry informed them that they would be taken to a room, where the five alternates would be separated from the group and taken to a different room. [The jurors did not yet know who among them was an alternate.]

The Judge advised them that the rest of the jurors should begin by selecting a foreperson; that they should not discuss the case with anyone else but each other and only when all of them are present. The Judge informed them that if they become aware of any violations the court has given them, they should give a note to the bailiff who will bring it to the Judge. Judge Perry reminded that there are no other laws that apply to this case and even if they don’t like the laws they must apply them.

The verdict watch began at 9:10 a.m Pacific Time / 12:10 p.m. Eastern Time. At the moment the jury returns with a verdict, they will notify the court and all the parties will receive a 30-minute warning to gather one last time so that they can hear the jury’s verdict.

And now… we wait.

Day 36: The Verdict
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The Casey Anthony Trial Verdicts

  • Not Guilty: First Degree Murder (Death by Lethal Injection or Life in Prison)
  • Not Guilty: Aggravated Child Abuse (30 Years in Prison)
  • Not Guilty: Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child (30 Years in Prison)
  • Guilty: Providing False Information to Law Enforcement Count 4 – That Casey Anthony worked at Universal Orlando in 2008 (1 Year in Prison)
  • Guilty: Providing False Information to Law Enforcement Count 5 – That Casey Anthony left Caylee with a babysitter named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez (1 Year in Prison)
  • Guilty: Providing False Information to Law Enforcement Count 6 – That Casey Anthony told Jeffrey Hopkins and Juliette Lewis that Caylee was missing (1 Year in Prison)
  • Guilty: Providing False Information to Law Enforcement Count 7 – That Casey Anthony received a phone call from Caylee on July 15, 2008 (1 Year in Prison)

Day 37: The Sentence
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Judge Belvin Perry sat on the bench at 9:04 a.m. (eastern time) and began the day with the usual protocols with which he began most of the other days of the trial. “The defendant is before the court for sentencing on Counts 4, 5, 6, and 7. Would the State care to present any aggravating issues?” the Judge asked Ms. Burdick and she replied that they did not.

The Defense argued that there was a double-jeopardy issue and that the four counts should be considered one continuous act with a single intent. The Judge felt that each of the lies cited in the four counts – lying about working at Universal Studios, lying about a babysitter named Zenaida Gonzalez kidnapping Caylee, lying about telling two outcry witnesses about the kidnapping, and lying about receiving a phone call from Caylee Anthony on July 15, 2008 – all required separate actions by law enforcement to investigate and decided against conflating the counts.

The Judge asked the Defense team, “Does your client wish to say anything prior to sentencing?” and Mr. Mason replied, “No, your honor.”

“Just as the jury spoke loud and clear on counts 1, 2, and 3,” the Judge declared, “they also spoke loud and clear on counts on 4, 5, 6, and 7. I will sentence you to 1 year in the Orange County jail, imposing a $1000 fine on each count, all four counts to run consecutive to each other.”

    CASEY ANTHONY SENTENCE:

  • 1 Year and $1,000 Fine per Count: Casey Anthony will be released on July 13, 2011, next Wednesday, 6 days from today. The 4 years is reduced by 1,0043 days, which is credit for the time served and good behavior. The Judge worked out the exact date with the defense attorneys in private.
  • UPDATE: “Casey Anthony is no longer getting out of jail on July 13. Due to a detailed recalculation of the release date, Anthony will now be released on Sunday, July 17.” according to Channel 13 News in Orlando. (Link: http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/2011/july/275154/)



Final Thoughts

Day 1 Final Thoughts: Opening Statements & First Witness: George Anthony
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

The parents, George and Cindy Anthony, sat all through the first day of trial in the back row, Cindy feverishly taking notes, George reading his Bible. They had been granted the right to be present during the trial, even though they are both listed as witnesses for both prosecution and defense. Generally, witnesses are not allowed to be present during the trial, lest their testimony be tainted by what they hear, but the Anthony’s petitioned the court and won the right to be there as family of the victim, Caylee Marie Anthony – standing up for their granddaughter and showing support for their daughter.

Well, tomorrow is another trial day, but tonight my thoughts are with George and Cindy Anthony. I cannot imagine the pain and loss they must feel in losing their granddaughter, the conflicting feelings watching their daughter on trial for her murder, and listening to their daughter’s defense attorney accuse them of molestation and abuse.

What are your thoughts?

Day 2 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: Roommates, Shot Girls & The Neighbor
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

After the trial concluded, I could not help but think about the stark difference between Casey and her peers who testified today. There was one young woman in particular who seemed so polished, professional and mature, dressed in a lovely skirt-suit, having graduated from college and already embarked on a career. All of them seemed to have gotten degrees or jobs or babies, they were moving on with their lives, some of them having moved out of the state, while Casey seemed frozen in time. She sat at the defense table, looking serious, matronly and mousy, so unlike her age, so unlike the photos of her introduced today into evidence. I wondered how it must have felt for her to see her ex-boyfriend again, and for him to see her like that. Did they wonder what might have been, if only?

As for her actions after her daughter was killed or drowned… I am not a psychologist and, thankfully, I have never had to walk in Casey’s shoes, but I am a mother, and I cannot fathom the idea of losing one’s child and then going out to nightclubs and parties, showing no change in demeanor or affect. Her documented ability to manipulate and lie with such agility and such frequency makes it difficult to assess whether or not the story of sexual abuse is true. Still, you can’t help wondering to yourself, “What if it is true?” I suspect the jury might be struggling with the same thing.

The witnesses today left me with a somewhat colored-in picture of what Casey’s life might have been like, and what she might have been like during those 31 days Caylee was missing. The situation seems less black-and-white, Casey herself has become a little more three-dimensional. But you look at her and wish you knew what she was feeling… what she was thinking… and, what really happened.

What are your thoughts?

Day 3 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: Father’s, Boyfriends & Friends
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

Casey seems like a complicated young woman, who has mastered the art of being a chameleon. Most of her friends and acquaintances say how happy, outgoing, caring and kind she is. Her father knows a Casey that can steal from her family and say, “Here, take your fucking gas cans.” And, Melissa England, a stranger she met once, remembers someone who took pride in her ability to lie, “Oh, my God! I am such a good liar!”

Who did Caylee know?

What are your thoughts?

Day 4 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: Odors, Tow-yards, Text Messages, and Videos
(LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

It was a tough day hearing about human decomposition odors, knowing it was a little two-year-old they were really talking about, but perhaps it bothered me more that Casey, the two-year-old’s mother, sat there at the defense table with no reaction to the discussions about her daughter.

There were a few loose wires that started sparking for me…

  • Casey told Amy that her parents were going to leave their house to Casey soon, for her and Caylee to live in, and she invited Amy to move in with them as her roommate. Amy understood that they would be moving in soon.
  • Then there is that bit of a text message Casey sent Tony, who was insisting on coming over to have sex, “just a few more days and then you can come over whenever you want.” What was going to change in a few more days, besides Caylee dying on June 16th?
  • The Judge sarcastically suggested to the prosecution that for that text message to mean anything she would have had to have killed her parents, because, even if she had killed Caylee, the parents were still there at the house.
  • And then there are those Google searches on Casey’s laptop that we have all read about, but which have yet to enter into evidence, searches on how to break a neck, and how to make weapons from household items, and chemicals, like chloroform, etc.
  • Was Casey planning to kill her parents as well?

    She seemed so specific in time-frame with Tony and Amy… In a few days, Tony would be able to come over whenever he wanted, and Amy would be able to move in to the house soon.

    It was a chilling day today in the trial of Casey Anthony.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 5 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: Lover & Mother
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    My final thoughts are with Cindy Anthony, by all accounts a loving, caring, doting grandmother and mother. I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like for her to lose her granddaughter, to bury her granddaughter, and to sit in a court room testifying in her daughter’s murder trial. It must be unimaginable for her to accept that her daughter might have harmed Caylee intentionally. And the lies, all the lies, how do you make sense of all the lies? She must be wondering if she ever really knew her daughter, someone whom she loved and trusted, raised and nurtured, her own little girl at one time. Was her daughter capable of killing her own daughter?

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 6 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: Mother & Friend
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    My lasting impression today was one of contrasts.

    As we saw photos of Caylee’s things that were left in the car, her favorite doll, her car-seat, her backpack, the three things Caylee would always have with her… and then as we listened to the 911 calls, especially the last one Cindy made upon finding out her granddaughter was missing… we see Cindy crying so hard she is doubled-over on the witness stand, her face and eyes, red and swollen; while at the same time we see Casey sit at the defense table, listening, sometimes looking angry at her mother, sometimes looking like she was listening to events that had happened in someone else’s life.

    The last 911 call itself memorialized this contrast between Cindy and Casey best. We hear a distraught, scared, anxious Cindy Anthony, screaming urgently to the 911 operator that her granddaughter is missing, and then the operator asks to talk to Casey, and we hear someone who is without emotion, calm, talking about how her daughter has been missing for 31 days after being kidnapped by her babysitter. There is no crying, no emotion from Casey, and yet Cindy is inconsolable.

    Cindy’s face told a story today of a broken and exhausted woman, her body collapsing into her husband’s arms at the end of her testimony, her daughter staring at her sobbing mother without emotion.

    The contrast between these two women was chilling.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 7 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: The Friend, The Brother & The Cops
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    The nightmare, of what must have seemed like an endless night, produced no Caylee for Mr. and Mrs. Anthony, only their daughter’s arrest.

    What a horrible nightmare… one from which there is no waking up.

    They had no answers, just a pile of lies to dig through, and an avalanche of questions that began with, “Where is Caylee?” and ended with, “Why?”

    The police were digging through that pile of lies, which only generated more questions and more lies, but got them no closer to finding out where they could find Caylee, what happened to her, and why.

    Is there anything that the Prosecution and Defense will be able to offer during this trial that will answer the ‘why’? If Casey herself got up on the stand to answer these questions, would we, could we, believe her after the endless months and years of lies?

    In the end, the only people who are owed some answers are Casey’s parents. I hope she gives them at least that… some explanation, some way to understand, some peace of mind.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 8 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: The Imaginary Friend, The Imaginary Job, The Cop & The Videotapes
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Once again, I am left dumbfounded by the ease with which Casey Anthony lies… it is truly disturbing. If there is an art to lying, then Ms. Anthony has mastered it.

    How many Casey Anthony’s are out there? They look normal. They look like your friend, your neighbor, your sibling, your children. They smile, they laugh, they cry, they seem concerned, they seem to care, and they can look you straight in the eye and lie, and steal… and kill?

    However it is that Caylee Marie Anthony died, by accident or with intent, I cannot comprehend how her mother was able to go on with her life as if nothing happened. How do you not break down once with the knowledge that your child just died? How to you go out with your boyfriend the same day your child died to rent videotapes; or spend the next day in bed with him, ordering take-out; or spend the next month going out with your friends to nightclubs and parties and bars; or respond to your family who have been asking for 31 days where your daughter is, without breaking down into a puddle of tears.

    How?

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 9 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: Jail-House Visitors and Crime Scene Investigators
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Exhausting… in one word, it was emotionally exhausting listening and watching the Anthonys interact in their jail-house visits; and it was exhausting listening to every minutia dealing with the collection and preservation of evidence.

    And then I thought how truly exhausting it has to be for George and Cindy Anthony, carrying the burden of losing their precious granddaughter, only to have their daughter facing a possible death penalty. They cannot shut off their laptop and set their burden aside. They carry it every second of every day.

    And the attorneys, all of them, look exhausted. Doing the job our legal system requires them to do, to fight as hard as they can to present their case to the jury.

    And the judge, who has to referee the two sides; play Solomon with every motion he grants or denies, or every objection he sustains or overrules; and attempt to ease the burden on a sequestered jury.

    And the jury, how exhausted and emotionally drained they must be, to have to sit there and listen without being able to discuss any of it with anyone else, without being able to write about it in a journal, or find some other way to process it all; sequestered in a hotel for the duration of the trial, a one to two hour drive away from their homes, their families, and their lives.

    So many lives touched or affected by this little girl’s death… so many lives.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 10 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: The Hair and The Air
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Sometimes more, is just more; it is not necessarily better. The prosecution is offering very scientific evidence, some of which might be confusing to the jury, not necessarily more convincing. I think when people get confused, especially when they are not allowed to stop and ask questions, they tune out and they discount it.

    The odor from the car that so many people, with extensive experience in smelling human decomposition, recognized coming from Casey Anthony’s car trunk, was very convincing. You had Casey’s own father, a former detective; her mother, a nurse; the tow-yard manager who had also worked in waste management and had experienced distinguishing the smell of both; the police officers; the scientists; the crime scene unit investigators; among others, all identified the odor of human decomposition coming strongly, shockingly, overwhelmingly from Casey’s car. Why throw that into doubt with first-time air collection techniques and overly complicated chemical compound analyses?

    And the darkened band around the hair, near the root… If you are the Defense, do you want your client’s death penalty case to be the first time anyone testifies to this kind of science? And if you are the prosecutor, do you really want the verdict overturned on appeal?

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 11 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: The Controversial Science and Scientist
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Although the science geek in me was fascinated with Dr. Vass’s testimony, it was at times macabre, painfully detailed, and not for the faint of heart. There were moments I got lost in the lectures and was back in college, fascinated with learning something new, and then suddenly remembering that this was about a little girl. Those chemical compounds he detected, those odors he smelled, those liquids soaked into the trunk liner and carpet, they belonged to a little girl.

    Did Casey Anthony make that connection as Dr. Vass described in great detail the auto-digestion of the human body, the gory phases of human decomposition, the unpleasant words associated with it… the bloating, the rupturing, the seeping, the stench… did she realize they were talking about her daughter?

    Ms. Anthony sat at the Defense table unaffected by such descriptions of what happened to her little girl. Perhaps it’s stoicism, perhaps she weeps for her daughter every night… perhaps.

    Nonetheless, I wondered what the jury was thinking as they watched her dispassionately listen to today’s testimony.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 12 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: Talking Trash, Science and Cadaver Dogs
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    My final thought is about the cadaver dogs. I was thoroughly impressed with their training and the success records of the specific dogs used in this case, Gariss and Bones. The extensive testimony that Deputy Forgui gave about real-world cases, left me with no doubt that those dogs clearly smelled a decomposing human body in the trunk and back passenger seat of Casey Anthony’s car and in the Anthony’s backyard on the grassy area in front of Caylee’s playhouse.

    The dogs did not alert around the pool, which one would have expected given their training even in drownings, if the Defense’s theory about an accidental drowning were true.

    What seems to fit like pieces of a puzzle, is Casey coming home, when her parents were at work, with Caylee’s dead body in the trunk. The next door neighbor observing Casey back her car into the garage – trunk hidden from street view. Perhaps, Casey brings her daughter to the backyard and puts her on the grass, in front of the Playhouse, where the dogs alerted. After Casey realizes that the shed with the shovels is locked, she borrows a shovel from her neighbor “to dig up bamboo shoots.”

    The detectives observed a month later disturbed earth indicative of a shallow grave; so, perhaps Casey tries to dig a grave and realizes it would be noticed, or it would be difficult to dig it deep enough, or her family’s dogs themselves might end up digging it up. For whatever reason, she changes her mind about digging a grave in the backyard. She returns Caylee to the trunk; returns the shovel to her neighbor; and leaves.

    After all, why would you go to your parent’s home, when you are no longer living there, to dig up bamboo shoots and leave?

    “Curioser and curioser!” to quote Alice in Wonderland.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 13 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: X
    (Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 14 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: X
    (Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 15 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: X
    (Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 16 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: X
    (Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 17 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: X
    (Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 18 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: X
    (Coming Soon – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 19 Final Thoughts: Prosecution Witnesses: The Prosecution Rests & The Defense Motions for Acquittal
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    It is hard to explain how it felt to hear the Prosecution say those three words, “The State rests.”

    Disappointed? I’m not sure.

    It was a bit like going on a long hike, which you fully expect to be steep and difficult, but completely worth the view at the end of the trail. You trek along waiting for the really tough sections to come along and, before you know it, there you are at the end of the trail. It was neither difficult nor steep, and you are staring at fog enveloping what you know must be the Pacific Ocean, but the view is just not what you expected.

    Perhaps, I was expecting a more powerful presentation, or more direct evidence, or a perfectly clear view of guilt, but it was none of those things.

    There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that in your gut, in what comprises your common sense, you know points to only one person. Sadly, the person responsible for what happened to Caylee Marie Anthony appears to be her mother.

    But this is a capital punishment case, the death penalty, did the Prosecution do enough to convince 12 jurors to convict someone to death?

    What can the Defense possibly offer to make the jurors forget 31 days of lies, and nightclubs, and living the Bella Vita?

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 20 Final Thoughts: Defense Witnesses: Crime Scene Investigators and F.B.I. Examiners
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Today was the first day of the Defense’s case. They made some good points on the science and the lack of direct evidence. Mr. Baez, the lead defense attorney, had done his homework, as he stumbled along through courtroom procedures and protocol, helped by a charming and disarming smile that no doubt increased his likability factor with the jurors and the witnesses.

    Casey seemed confident, smiling and laughing with people around her before the court day began. Her demeanor, as usual, got more serious and somber when the jury was present, but reverting back to her friendly, somewhat flirtatious, self when the Judge would excuse the jury and call a recess.

    Her demeanor made me wonder if she remembered what today was?

    Today is the third anniversary of Caylee’s death and my thoughts and prayers are with that little girl, her grandparents, and all who mourn her.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 21 Final Thoughts: Defense Witnesses: The Forensic Entomologist
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    If some particular member of the jury was looking for something on which to pin reasonable doubt, perhaps Dr. Huntington, a highly-qualified expert, gave it to them.

    Dr. Huntington’s conclusions and opinions that the stain did not look like a human decompositional stain; that he saw nothing that made him think there was a decomposing body in the trunk; and that he did not think the paper towels in the trash bag contained adipocere, might be enough to give some jurors pause.

    I somehow doubt that the jurors will ignore the forest for the trees, but they might begin to question whether they can give someone the death penalty, when the expert witnesses can testify to completely opposite opinions.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 22 Final Thoughts: Defense Witnesses: The Forensic Anthropologist and The Forensic Pathologist
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    My final thoughts are with the jury. How are they sorting through all of this scientific analysis and the battle of the experts. People with equally impressive education and experience arguing opposite points of view must be somewhat confusing.

    The admonition to not discuss the case with each other, is that really helpful? I have often wondered why juries are not allowed to discuss the case, as the case goes along. The concern that certain jurors might try to influence others before all of the evidence is in, might be outweighed by the benefits of keeping them engaged. Discussions in the classroom are always useful in understanding the subject matter better. The jurors might benefit by processing the information together, not just intellectually, but emotionally. It would no doubt help the deliberative process move along after the trial, and it might make the time sequestered feel like less of a punishment and more of an immersive college course.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 23 Final Thoughts: Defense Witnesses: Accusations & Admonitions
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Judge Perry’s concerns for the sequestered jury were probably at the heart of his frustration. They had been kept waiting two hours, only to have court adjourned until the next day – a completely wasted day for the jury.

    The Judge’s concerns are valid, of course, the longer the jury is sequestered away from their lives and loved ones, the more likely dissension, frustration, and attempts to get kicked off the jury might occur.

    Both sides, the Defense and the Prosecution have played games thus far, but this time it seems the Defense is purposely advising their expert witnesses to provide minimalist reports with no opinions, so that they can force the Prosecution to blindly depose the Defense’s expert witnesses. Not knowing what opinions the expert witnesses will render, would make the Prosecution look unprepared or foolish in cross-examining the Defense witnesses. Game playing.

    The Prosecution plays games too. They did not advise the court of the problem today at 8:30 a.m., instead they asked for a sidebar at 9:00 a.m., perhaps for maximum impact on the viewing public that watches the trial on television, on the Internet, or in the courtroom at 9:00 a.m. – public opinion is powerful stuff. The prosecutor knows that by not deposing the witnesses, they can highlight the Defense’s violations of the discovery court order and throw a kink in the Defense’s flow, and get the Judge all the more annoyed with the Defense. Game playing.

    The games need to stop out of respect for the victim, a three-year-old little girl, and because this is a trial that will ask the jurors to determine if one mother intentionally killed her daughter and if this mother should be put to death.

    It hardly seems the stuff of games.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 24 Final Thoughts: Defense Witnesses: Investigators and Scientists
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    The Defense is doing their best to attack what they can of the experts’ reports, to attack the way the evidence was tested, to attack the methods used to collect DNA evidence, to show that there is a lack of evidence. They are floating many shiny objects in front of the jury, but what are they going to do to show them that the Defense’s version of the events is true?

    Although the jury might temporarily focus on the shiny objects, in the end, won’t they return to and need to reconcile the big picture and the lies?

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 25 Final Thoughts: Defense Witnesses: A Whole Lot of Nothing
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    After watching a week’s worth of the Defense’s witnesses and presentation, my final thoughts are in wondering: Where is the connection to their opening statement allegations?

    By this point, I expected to have seen the Defense present witnesses and evidence that supported their version of events: that Caylee drowned; that Casey was abused since the age of eight; that the grandfather pulled her out of the pool and helped hide or dispose of the body; that the man who found her body had put it in the woods after finding it elsewhere in August of 2008; and so on. Where is that evidence to bolster the Defense’s allegations?

    Instead, we find them arguing over everything, disputing all evidence, even when there seems to be no need to do so, even when the evidence as presented by the Prosecution could fit in with their version of events. Why argue the duct tape evidence, if you allege that George put it there? Why argue that the body was dumped in the woods, when that may be where George dumped it?

    Why not begin with something that will get the jury on your side, something that shows them your version is the true version?

    For the defense of Casey Anthony, it seems unfortunate that they chose to complicate the story beyond saying it was an accident. Involving the grandfather in the story, only made it less credible. Why would a former detective, who adored his granddaughter, by all accounts, not perform CPR, not call 911? Why would he be begging his daughter after her arrest to talk to the police or to the FBI so that they can help them find Caylee before her third birthday?

    The Defense may have lost an opportunity to argue that an accident occurred, by presenting a theory that they cannot support. Will the jury believe it was an accident when there have been so many lies?

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 26 Final Thoughts: X
    (COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 27 Final Thoughts: X
    (COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 28 Final Thoughts: Abrupt Conclusions and No Witnesses
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    What happened today? One minute the lawyers are arguing about more discovery violations and then a series of private meetings behind closed doors ended with Judge Perry adjourning for the day, before the jury had a chance to come in or any testimony was taken.

    Although, I understand why the Judge may not be able to tell the public what was going on behind the scenes, it only makes one wonder… did something happen to one of the jurors… did a juror speak to someone or conduct research on their own related to this trial… did someone get sick or die… did information come out about a witness… did the Defense and the Prosecution work out a deal?

    In the void of information, your mind can only wonder why the Judge, who is so adamant about not wasting the jury’s time, abruptly adjourn for the day.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 29 Final Thoughts: To Be or Not To Be Competent
    (COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    The Defense team is trying everything they can to save their client’s life and to perhaps get her acquitted of all charges… and that is their job. At some point, though, I wonder if the jurors will begin to wonder if they are throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick.

    The Defense wants the jury to believe that the grandfather pulled Caylee out of the pool, did not perform CPR, did not call 911, threw his granddaughter away, and is willing to let his daughter die on the electric chair for an accidental drowning. Why?

    The Defense wants the jury to believe that the deputies and detectives had it out for Casey Anthony from day one, they questioned her without Miranda warnings, they let her come to Universal Studios to show them her office even though they knew she was lying, they did not investigate Roy Kronk or George Anthony or anyone else, because they wanted to pin it on Casey. Why?

    The Defense wants the jury to believe that Roy Kronk found Caylee’s remains at another location, hid the remains for a few months, and then moved her remains to the woods where she was eventually found, all in an effort to collect the reward? Why couldn’t he have collected the reward from the original place he found the body?

    The Defense wants the jury to believe that there was no decomposing body stench in the trunk of Casey’s car, only the smell of garbage, and that for some reason Casey’s mother who is a nurse, her father who was a police officer, the tow-yard manager, several crime scene investigators, several detectives, several deputies, a cadaver dog, and several scientists – all experienced in smelling human decomposition – are all lying about smelling what nearly all of them have described as the unforgettable and unique odor of a decomposing human body in Casey’s car. Why?

    Why would so many people be out to get Casey? It makes no sense, and at some point the Defense may lose credibility with the jury, if they have not already.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 30 Final Thoughts: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    No good deed goes unpunished was the thought that I was left with today. It seemed that Casey was surrounded by people trying to help her find her daughter, from her family, to law enforcement, to perfect strangers. It seemed the only one who was not trying to help find Caylee was Casey.

    It seemed that instead of gratitude for their efforts, the good Samaritans racked up legal bills, lost their jobs, were accused of crimes, and had their reputations tarnished or destroyed.

    Casey’s parents and brother are all unemployed, while racking up legal bills. The Defense has accused the mother of perjuring herself and the father and brother have been accused of sexually molesting Casey since the age of eight.

    Roy Kronk found the remains of Caylee Anthony, he is unemployed, he has racked up legal bills, and he has been accused by the Defense of moving the remains and seeking the reward money.

    Detective Melich has been accused by the Defense of not doing his job well, of failing to read Casey her Miranda warnings, of entrapping her at Universal Studios, of failing to investigate other individuals, of deciding early on that he was going to focus on Casey and no one else.

    Amy Huizenga, Casey’s former friend whose bank account Casey emptied out, was accused of going after Casey’s ex-boyfriends, of being an alcoholic, and of driving drunk.

    Jesse Grund, Casey’s ex-fiancé whom she informed that he was Caylee’s father when she was pregnant, who was willing to still marry her when DNA testing proved he was not the father after Caylee was born, he was someone that Casey indicated to her family in those jail house visits that he could not be trusted and she did not know if he had something to do with Caylee’s disappearance.

    Dr. Vass and Dr. Weiss were accused by the Defense of tailoring their testimony to validate some contraption they had invented and make royalties from its sale, even though it turned out that their potential customer, the U.S. government, does not have to pay them royalties.

    And… the list seems endless.

    The Defense has been so focused on blaming everyone else, that they have not spent much time presenting evidence that will prove their version of the events: that Caylee drowned; that the grandfather pulled her out of a pool; that he disposed of her body; that Casey’s father molested her since the age of eight; that her brother also molested her; and that Casey’s behavior is consistent with someone who deals with trauma through lies and denial.

    At the very least, you would expect the Defense to call a psychiatrist to testify about his evaluation of Casey and her behavior during those 31 days… but they don’t have anyone who has evaluated her on their witness list

    At this point, their only choice might be to put Casey on the stand. After all, she lied masterfully in her police interviews, to her parents, to her friends, and to her boyfriend. She knows she is a good liar; she even takes pride in it, as we know from her statement to an acquaintance, “Oh my God, I am such a good liar!

    Perhaps Ms. Anthony will insist to her Defense team to let her take the stand and perhaps they will have no choice or influence in the matter.

    Perhaps she can convince one juror that her words are true and that her tears are real and perhaps she can hang a jury and get a mistrial… Perhaps.

    We know she did it for 31 days and we know she’s done it for most of her adult life… And, who knows, perhaps she can do it again.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 31 Final Thoughts: X
    (COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 32 Final Thoughts: From Marital Affairs to Family Pet Burials
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    It is amazing how quickly and how long it took to get the end of the case in chief for the Prosecution and the Defense.

    Tomorrow the rebuttal by the Prosecution will be presented, and what a bombshell that will be, as they prove that Cindy Anthony perjured herself under oath. If the evidence the Prosecution previewed today about Mrs. Anthony’s work records is true, then she was definitely at work, which means the only one left at home on March 17th and March 21st of 2008, during the early afternoon, to make the Google searches about chloroform and similar troublesome searches, is Casey Anthony. And with that, the Prosecution returns the premeditation to the table.

    It is almost over for all of us who have been following the trial, but it will never be over, no matter what the jury decides, for the Anthonys.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 33 Final Thoughts: Perjury and Premeditation
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Astonished at Cindy’s ability to lie, is my final thought after today. She lies with the same ease and confidence her daughter has and with the same need to add excessive or embellished details to the lies. It is that need to add details and embellishments to their lies that appears to be the downfall of both mother and daughter.

    What they failed to realize is that when they lied to the police, unlike lying to their friends or family or co-workers, the police can subpoena records and investigate the details of their story, and as the investigators peeled away the details of those stories, one by one, they exposed the lies.

    Casey’s details with the kidnap story included the babysitter’s apartment number where she claimed to have been dropping Caylee off and had last dropped Caylee off on June 16th, an apartment that had been vacant for six months, proving she could not have been bringing Caylee there. The outcry witnesses, her co-workers at Universal, Jeff Hopkins and Juliette Lewis, whom she claimed to have told about Caylee being kidnapped, they turned out to be fictional people who did not work at Universal. The detectives checked on those details and proved her to be a liar.

    Cindy’s details helped prove that she was lying on the stand about being home on March 17 and March 21 of 2008 to conduct the Google searches related to chloroform, in great detail describing searching for chlorophyll, bamboo shoots, claiming that a pop-up video for neck-breaking skateboarding feats explained the neck-breaking references, logging on to her work website to work from home, and claiming her supervisor routinely ‘fixed’ her time-cards to show her working even though she was taking compensated time off. All of these statements were proven to be lies.

    As it turns out and contrary to Cindy Anthony’s testimony, there were no searches for chlorophyll on the Internet and no mention of chlorophyll anywhere on the hard drive, except for the word appearing in a Windows (computer) dictionary, however, chloroform was web-searched directly. The “neck breaking” was a typed in Google search, not a result of a pop-up video. Her work network has no ability to be accessed remotely, hence, she could not have worked from home, and it showed her second-by-second activity on her terminal in her cubicle at work during those hours that someone was at home making those chloroform searches. And her supervisor testified that she has never ‘fixed’ someone’s time-card to show they are at work, when they are taking time off. So many details peeled away, one by one to expose the lies.

    And the all important pool ladder, which Cindy claimed she saw left attached to the pool on June 16th, immediately calling George Anthony to see if he had left the ladder attached to the pool, well, that was proven a lie with the extra detail she provided about calling George Anthony. Yuri Melich was asked to look at the phone records and Cindy Anthony made no calls to her husband on June 16th, not from her cell phone and not from her home phone, and no call appeared on George Anthony’s phone.

    Although I understand Cindy’s need as a mother to want to protect her daughter from the death penalty, I am astonished at her masterful ability to lie, just like her daughter, with such ease, agility and confidence. Perhaps Jose Baez is not too off the mark with his theory of dysfunction in the family, but it still does not excuse or explain what happened to Caylee Marie Anthony.

    I wonder what the jury thinks of all this… I guess we will all find out soon enough.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 34 Final Thoughts: Closing Arguments: Prosecution & Defense
    (COMING SOON – LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Day 35 Final Thoughts: The Prosecution’s Rebuttal
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    The prosecutors did a brilliant job of showing the forest for the trees. I only wish they had spent some time reviewing what is circumstantial evidence versus direct evidence, and explaining to the jury that, often, circumstantial evidence can be stronger than direct evidence. Hopefully, the jury will not confuse a largely circumstantial evidence case, for an insufficient evidence case, or for reasonable doubt.

    Still, given all the circumstantial evidence and the well-made arguments, it is hard to imagine the jury coming back with an acquittal, but it is also hard to see a premeditated murder conviction, given the death penalty that looms over it.

    In all likelihood, the jury will come back with a felony murder conviction, or, at the very least, with an aggravated manslaughter of a child conviction. Either way, Casey Anthony will probably go to prison for a very long time.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 36 Final Thoughts: The Verdict
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    Well, the verdict was a surprise.

    It seemed that there was enough circumstantial evidence for at least a guilty verdict on aggravated manslaughter of a child. The Prosecution had done a great job overall in presenting their case, from their opening statement through their closing argument and rebuttal.

    The mistrial motions by the defense team seemed like a bit of a long shot, but a hung jury – at least one juror who could not agree with the rest – seemed like the best outcome the Defense could hope to get. A not guilty verdict on first degree murder and aggravated manslaughter seemed like an impossibility, and yet it was the impossible dream that came true.

    In the end, it is hard to question the decision of the people who suspended their lives to spend six weeks sequestered to listen to the evidence in the Casey Anthony trial and render their verdicts. They heard the evidence and the testimony that was deemed relevant and probative by the court, they came together to discuss it, and they agreed on the verdicts. Unfortunately for those who were expecting different verdicts or who felt that justice for Caylee was not achieved, the jury was not ready to discuss how they came to their decisions, and we may never know or understand why they reached the decision they did.

    What we can know, as we look around the world, is that we have one of the better judicial systems around, open to the public, open to criticism, open to improvement.

    Was there justice for Caylee?

    I don’t know, but her mother was brought to justice… and perhaps that is all our justice system can promise us.

    What are your thoughts?

    Day 37 Final Thoughts: The Sentence
    (LINK: Click for Detailed Update)

    It looks like Casey Anthony will be out next Wednesday, July 13, 2011, six days from today.

    This quiet time will give her the opportunity to review the hundreds to thousands of offers she will no doubt receive for interviews, book deals, movie deals, and other projects. This 25-year old, attractive, single woman, who has become a celebrity of sorts, stands to make millions of dollars.

    It sounds like it will be, just as she hoped, a ‘bella vita.’

    What more is there to say?

    What are your thoughts?




    RESOURCES:

    Watch Trial Live:

    Casey Anthony – Case Files, Documents, & Evidence

    Casey Anthony Trial Facts

    • Charges Filed Against Casey Anthony:
        (1) First-degree murder = Either death by lethal injection, or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
        (2) Aggravated child abuse = 30 years for aggravated child abuse
        (3) Aggravated manslaughter of a child = 30 years for aggravated manslaughter of a child
        (4) Four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer = 1 year per count below:

          (a) That she worked at Universal Orlando in 2008,
          (b) That she left Caylee with a babysitter named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez,
          (c) That she told Jeffrey Hopkins and Juliette Lewis that Caylee was missing,
          (d) That she received a phone call from Caylee on July 15, 2008.

    Resources for Survivors of Abuse:




    Martie Hevia (c) 2011 – All Rights Reserved

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    14 Comments
    1. 2011-June-15 5:56 AM

      I came across this site a few days ago and have been searching to get back ever since. By far the most objective coverage I have come across. If only you were a journalist!

      • 2011-June-15 7:42 AM

        Thanks so much for the kind words, Sam. I really appreciate your feedback. -Martie

    2. 2011-June-7 3:02 PM

      I found your blog entries to be both conscientious and informative, which is actually difficult to find among all the fragmented information about the trial out there on the internets, with all the pundits pontificating. I am an attorney who is just getting into reviewing the deliberations.

      I worked with the capital punishment clinic over a decade ago when I was in law school, doing appeals. I am always amazed with murder cases like this that last for months, when the trials that I reviewed hardly lasted for two or three weeks. That could spawn a whole different discussion, but my question to you – someone who is watching this daily – how much is too much in terms of prosecution evidence? Some of the non-scientific evidence seems to refute a story that neither side adheres to at this point. And to the extent it is offered to simply show that Casey Anthony is a liar or a callous mother, it seems really really reptitive. Besides that, I doubt Casey Anthony is going to present any witnesses (other than herself) to back up her second version of the truth.

      I also wonder what you think about this quote from another blogger named Simon Barrett:

      “”[The Casey Anthony trial] is about sociology more than the death of a child. In that regard, it reminds me of the Loeb-Leopold trial in the mid-twenties when Clarence Darrow defended them for murdering their little cousin as an experiment. It was an indictment of the wealthy and the way they raised their children. This case is an indictment of the Anthony family and how Americans are raising this ‘entitled’ generation.”

      • 2011-June-7 3:57 PM

        First, thank you for your kind comments about my blog posts, I appreciate them.

        You ask an interesting question, about which I touched on with respect to scientific evidence – and that is, that sometimes, more is just more, it’s not better. (In my Day 10 ‘Final Thoughts’ section.)

        But your question is not about overly complicated and unnecessary scientific evidence, your question is about the pounding drum of witness testimony that goes to Casey Anthony’s propensity to lie to her family, her friends, her boyfriend, and, if you believe the Defense, to herself.

        Perhaps the Prosecution did not anticipate that the Defense would admit right in their opening statement that she lied (because of her alleged sexual abuse) and since they had their witnesses lined up and did not want to re-arrange their case, they went ahead with all of them.

        Or, perhaps the Prosecution believes that the more they pound the drum, the more loudly it will echo during deliberations, and if the jury believes she is a liar, then perhaps you will discount what the Defense has to say.

        As much as most of the early witnesses testified to the same thing, many of them offered little nuggets, like the young woman who had never met Ms. Anthony before, but remembered her saying, after hanging up the phone, “Oh, my God! I am such a good liar.” That nugget stays with you, in part because she takes such pleasure in it, and in part because it discounts the Defense’s explanation for her lies, that this is how she copes with traumatic things – through lies and denial.

        I think jurors will probably be more interested in getting that kind of testimony, that provides color and dimension and insight into who Casey is, than they will be in the more scientific and tedious facets of the expert testimonies. (Although, some of us find that very interesting.)

        As for my thoughts on the quote from the blogger you reference, there is very much a sociological study here, we are studying how someone who looks so much like the girl-next-door, like anyone’s daughter or sister or neighbor or friend, can go about her life for 31 days without showing any emotion at the loss of her child. If we knew the ‘why’ of Caylee’s death, then we would know if this has anything to do with an ‘entitled generation’ of young people, who want what they want when they want it, without working for it, without expectation of any consequences for their actions.

        But that’s why I’m watching the trial, hoping to figure out the ‘why.’

        Thanks, TheSkepticalMale, for your comments and questions… and thanks for reading. -Martie

      • 2011-June-7 5:59 PM

        I wonder what you thought about the pretrial motion the Casey Anthony filed, suggesting that imposition of the death penalty is sexist and she should be exempt. As someone who has studied the death penalty over the years, I found the argument to be utterly absurd in light of the fact that since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, 1,254 people have been executed, and only 12 of those have been women.

        As an attorney, it told me a lot about her defense counsel – i.e., desparate and wiling to throw anything against the wall to see if it will stick, which can actually be a disservice to the client. Now that the trial has started, it’s starting to fit together – e.g., contempt claims made against the attorney for failing to meet deadlines in February, being unprepared for trial witnesses a few days ago. The cynic in me wonders if they are laying the groundwork for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim on appeal. It is an easy claim to bring, but a hard one to prevail upon. (e.g., Here in Texas, your defense counsel can fall asleep during the trial, and you still have no grounds for a new trial.)

      • 2011-June-8 2:08 PM

        As far as the pre-trial motion re: sexism in death penalty cases, I would have to look at a study that explores the percentage of women for whom a death penalty is sought vs. the total number that go to murder trials and compare that to the stats for men, and then look at the cases themselves – perhaps they don’t warrant a death penalty. It is difficult to compare straight numbers when statistically women commit fewer murders. I don’t know on what the defense based their pre-trial motion. Somewhere, a long time ago, I came across the information that historically men who kill their wives get lighter sentences than women who kill their husbands. But I am not up on recent data.

        As for your other question, I doubt Mr. Baez is intentionally throwing himself under the bus so that Casey can get an appeal granted based on ineffective counsel, but just because he isn’t trying to get there, doesn’t mean he won’t.

        Thanks for your questions and comments, SkepticalMale.
        Interesting stuff.
        -Martie

    3. 2011-June-3 5:04 PM

      Your updates are really great. Thanks for keeping up with all this. I’m checking every day for the portions of the testimony I miss. Thank you!

    4. Ted permalink
      2011-May-31 11:50 PM

      First of all, great job on this blog and thank you for giving us the daily updates on the trial. However, how come you do not mention more of the defense’s side of the case? I feel as if we get more information on the prosecution than we do of the defense and their questions towards witness’s. If we get a lot of information from the prosecution, our assumptions are going to lean towards her being guilty.

      I just wish it was more evenly split.
      That way we can decide for ourselves if she is guilty or not guilty. Thank you.

      Ted

      • 2011-June-1 12:31 AM

        Thanks, Ted, for your feedback. First, the reason there is so much of the prosecution, is because it is their case in chief right now, they are going through their witnesses, and doing their direct. During this phase of the trial, the prosecution always sounds stronger. Secondly, the Defense has not done much in terms of a cross-examination. The first few days their questions of the witnesses were very few, namely, they asked the witnesses: “Were you there when Caylee drowned on June 16th? So you have nothing to add as to how Caylee died?” “Thank you.” A couple of days later, the defense decided to ask witnesses that question and a second one, basically, the defense asked witnesses if they thought Casey was a good mother, if she ever tortured her, abused her, did she feed her, and clothe her. Third, I am not a journalist – I don’t even play one on TV – I try to bring my best narrative of what I saw and heard, supported by my extremely thorough notes, with a little of my analysis and thoughts sprinkled on for flavor. But I don’t get paid to do this. However, if you think there are some really great questions or points the Defense has made, which I missed, please let me know; or if you are interested in reading the Defense’s cross-examination, I suggest you request the transcripts from the court. The State of Florida has sunshine laws that make most of those transcripts available to the public by request. In general, I try to always be fair, open-minded, and present the best balance I can, as I see it. Perhaps that’s the best I can do. Thanks for your comments, Ted. -Martie

      • Ted permalink
        2011-June-2 12:15 AM

        Martie,
        I really do appreciate everything you have done so far in this trial. I did not mean what I said as an insult, so please do not take offense. I guess I was confused with these witnesses being those occur prosecutor, therefore they are mostly presenting their case now. The defense obviously will have their chance as well.
        You have by far the best analysis of this trial day by day, and I, as well as many other appreciate all that you have done to keep us updated! Keep up the great work!

        Ted

      • 2011-June-2 6:36 AM

        Thanks, Ted. No worries. I didn’t take it as an insult and I appreciate your feedback. I do want to be as fair as I can be, so, please let me know if there are some good points that I missed. I mean that. Thanks, again. -Martie

    5. 2011-May-24 4:20 PM

      Oh my goodness – what mother wouldn’t notice that her child was missing? I haven’t heard about this case before but will look forward to reading your posts on the trial.

      Judith

      • 2011-May-24 8:07 PM

        Thanks, Judith. This case has garnered enormous media attention out here in the States. Look forward to hearing what you think as the case goes along. -Martie

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