Casey Anthony Trial | Day 1 – Daily Updates (Thoughts & Observations)
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Day 1 – May 24, 2011 – Tuesday
Today was the first day of the State of Florida vs. Casey Anthony trial in the murder of Caylee Marie Anthony. Both the Prosecution and the Defense offer their opening statements to the jury where they basically lay out their case and review the evidence, or offer their theory of what happened. The prosecutor did an exceptional job of laying out a time-line and reviewing the evidence; and the defense attorney shocked the courtroom with their version of what happened to Caylee Anthony.
Prosecutor: Opening Statements
The prosecutor, Linda Drane Burdick, did a masterful job of going through the documented whereabouts of Casey Anthony through each of the 31 days her daughter, Caylee Anthony, was missing. Casey’s activities were pieced together through cell phone tower pings, text messages, phone calls, Facebook entries, videos at stores, photos, and witness statements, all without any evidence of Caylee’s whereabouts. Artfully creating a timeline of Casey’s activities, the prosecutor announced each day the little girl was missing with a methodical and pounding “Day One…” Day Two…” and so on, ending each of the 31 days’ descriptions with the question, “And, where was Caylee?”
The prosecutor painted a picture of a mother who seemed to have killed her daughter in order to live a life of nightclubs, parties, boyfriends, and freedom from motherhood. The prosecution stated that Casey repeatedly lied about Caylee’s whereabouts, to friends and family who asked, claiming that she was with the ‘nanny,’ or with friends, or with co-workers, or with her parents, sometimes in different cities, and usually participating in different fun activities, but there were often different and conflicting explanations to different people on the same day. The prosecutor was clear that no one saw the little girl after June 16th, but plenty of people saw Casey at parties and nightclubs, shopping, and getting tattoos, with not a care in the world.
The prosecutor held up the handwritten statement Casey gave the police, the statement which was supposed to offer all the details that the police would need to help her find her daughter, the statement in which she claimed that her daughter had been kidnapped by ‘Zanni the Nanny.’ This lie, the prosecutor claimed, along with countless other lies in that statement, is proof in itself that Casey was trying to mislead the police and was not trying to find her daughter. In the statement, Casey gave the address of the apartment where she claimed she had dropped off her daughter with Zanni, and, when asked, she agreed to take the police there. When the police found no one living at Zanni’s apartment, they spoke to the apartment manager who informed them that no one had lived there in over six months.
It turned out that Casey’s job at Universal Studios was also a lie – a lie she kept for nearly two years. It wasn’t until she agreed to go with the police to Universal Studios to find contact information for Zanni, walking down a hallway to a non-existent office, that she finally admitted to the police that she did not work at Universal Studios. The wild goose chase to Zanni’s non-existent apartment and to her non-existent office occurred after her mother, Cindy, reported Caylee missing, the very night that should have been spent helping the police to find her daughter, Caylee.
The prosecutor ended their opening statement with a summary review of the evidence: the smell of decomposition in Casey’s car – the car she had abandoned with Caylee’s car-seat still in it – a smell witnessed by her father, a former homicide detective, and her mother, a nurse, when they picked up the car at the tow yard, a smell that was documented by forensic testing; the hair strand with bands that are indicative of falling from a deceased person; the DNA that shows that hair was Caylee’s; the chloroform detected in huge quantity in the trunk of Casey’s car; the computer evidence of Google searches done on the family computer, that include searches on chloroform and other chemicals, on how to create weapons from household items, on neck-breaking, and other incriminating searches – these searches occurred when both of Casey’s parents were at work; the unique duct tape found around Caylee’s mouth and nose, which was also found in the home; the trash bags, the laundry bag, and the Winnie the Pooh blanket in which Caylee was found all came from the home; the cadaver dogs’ alerts of a decomposing body in the backyard and in the car; cell phone tower pings indicating Casey’s movements; along with other circumstantial evidence.
What the prosecutor did not mention was how Caylee stole her friend’s check book during those 31 days Caylee was missing, emptying out her friend’s bank account and going on shopping sprees. They did not mention how earlier that year she stole her mother’s credit card, charging tens of thousands of dollars to it, forcing her mother to take money out of her retirement account to pay the debt. The prosecutor also did not mention how Casey had stolen money from her grandparents’ bank accounts, money set aside to pay for her grandfather’s nursing home. Then, again, the defense would probably object to this evidence on the grounds of relevancy to the charges against Casey.
The prosecutor has quite a job ahead of them, but they did a good job of laying out their case against Casey Anthony.
Defense: Opening Statements
The defense’s lead attorney, Jose Baez, wasted no time explaining that the reason Casey did not report her daughter missing during those 31 days is because her daughter was not missing, she accidentally drowned on June 16th, 2008. The defense claimed that on June 16th Caylee and Casey were at home with George Anthony, grandfather and father, respectively. While George and Casey were talking, George noticed Caylee was not around. They set about looking for Caylee outside and George found her lifeless body in the pool, pulling her out. The defense implied that George helped Casey cover up the accidental death, and then later tried to distance himself from the incident, setting out to let Casey take the fall.
I wondered, if true, why would George not have attempted to save his granddaughter’s life or call for an ambulance, after all he was a former homicide detective and trained in CPR? By all accounts, he adored his granddaughter. It seemed a bit far-fetched, but it was clear that this must have been the explanation Casey gave her defense attorney. Was she lying again… even to her defense team?
The defense shocked everyone with allegations that George Anthony molested his daughter since the age of eight, and later on her older brother, Lee, molested her as well. Mr. Baez insinuated that one of them might be Caylee’s father. The defense explained that Casey learned to lie and use denial to cope with the molestation by her father and brother, and that these same skills of lying and denial are what she used to deal with Caylee’s accidental death. This is why, the defense claims, that Casey did not report her daughter’s death and why she was able to go on with her life, partying at nightclubs with friends, during those 31 days.
The defense claims that the man who found Caylee, Roy Kronk, had ulterior motives – he wanted to be the one to find Caylee’s remains for fame and money. Jose Baez, the defense attorney, claimed that Mr. Kronk placed Caylee’s remains in the woods, just 20 feet from the street, a block or two away from where Casey lived.
However, the defense did not explain how or where Roy Kronk originally found Caylee’s remains and why he would move them to the woods near Casey’s house. I suppose if he had wanted to claim the reward for finding Caylee, he could have called the police from the original spot where he found Caylee, where supposedly George and Casey Anthony disposed of Caylee, and still claim the reward.
The defense seemed to be searching for anything that could give the jurors ‘reasonable doubt‘ upon which to find Casey not guilty.
The Prosecution’s List of Witnesses for May 24, 2011
- First & Only Prosecution Witness: George Anthony – Casey’s father, Caylee’s grandfather.
The Prosecution’s Witness: The Father
The prosecution’s first witness is George Anthony, all eyes on him as he approached the witness stand. He had just been accused in the Defense’s opening statements of sexually molesting his daughter since the age of eight and accused of finding Caylee’s body in the pool and helping to cover it up. Casey’s father walked up to the stand with a photo of Caylee which he placed in front of him and looked at that every once in a while, seemingly for strength. The jury must have been thinking,
“Why would this grandfather not have bothered to perform CPR, or to call 911, and simply to throw Caylee’s body away?” They would have to wait to get those answers.
Prosecution Direct Examination: George Anthony
Following the defense’s opening statements – where they accused George Anthony of molesting his daughter, pulling his granddaughter’s body out of the pool, and helping to hide the accident and the body – the prosecution called Mr. Anthony as their first witness. One of the most important questions they asked him was if he had ever molested Casey, which he categorically denied ever molesting her. He also denied pulling his granddaughter’s body out of the pool and helping to cover up the accident. He claimed the last time he saw his granddaughter was on June 16th, at 12:50 p.m. when Casey left with Caylee to go to work.
Defense Cross-Examination: George Anthony
The defense spent some time cross-examining the father, George Anthony, about Casey’s pregnancy, when he found out and why he had not asked Casey who the father was. The defense attorney, Jose Baez, was trying to imply something, but it seemed lost on most everyone. Perhaps it will become clear later on.
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?
Martie Hevia (c) 2011 – All Rights Reserved