Casey Anthony Trial | Day 35 – The Rebuttal (Thoughts & Observations)
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Day 35 – July 4, 2011 – Monday
The Prosecution’s Closing Arguments: Rebuttal
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.
Jeff Ashton’s Rebuttal
At 8:33 a.m. (eastern time) Jeff Ashton, second lead prosecutor, took the podium again and presented his rebuttal arguments, addressing primarily the scientific elements of the Defense’s closing arguments.
The prosecutor pointed out to the jury all the things that the scientists and experts, from both sides, agreed on and explained the areas in which they disagreed, saying, “Science cannot be understood by simplistic phrases…It is up to you to decide who to believe or what part to believe.”
Mr. Ashton specifically addressed the skeleton, the skull and mandible, the autopsy, the manner of death, the recovery site, the entomological evidence, the chloroform, the odor of decomposition, the hair, the DNA, the duct tape, the allegations made about Roy Kronk, and the accusations leveled at George Anthony. The prosecutor ended his presentation with a reading of George Anthony’s suicide note.
Skull & Bones
With respect to the skull and the skeleton, Mr. Ashton claimed that all the scientists agreed, first, that the bones told us nothing; second, that the head and the mandible should not be together after all the tissue decomposes; and, third, that when Caylee’s remains were found, the skull and mandible were together in anatomical position. All of the scientists except the Defense’s expert, Dr. Spitz, agreed that the duct tape is what held the two together.
The appropriateness of sawing Caylee’s skull open was an area in which Dr. Spitz and Dr. Warren disagreed. Mr. Ashton pointed out that although Dr. Spitz stated that sawing the skull is a standard protocol in an autopsy, he could not cite any sources where it said so. Dr. Warren, on the other hand, said it was not normal to open the skull, especially in a child where it is so easy to break the thin skull, damaging important evidence.
The other area where the two sides’ experts disagreed was on whether the material inside the skull cavity was brain residue or environmental sediment. The Defense’s Dr. Spitz claimed he knew by looking at it that it was brain residue. The Prosecution’s Dr. Goldberger tested the skull residue and determined it was not organic material.
The Manner of Death
The Defense’s expert, Dr. Spitz, a forensic pathologist, agreed that the circumstances that lead to a death are important in determining the manner of death. However, the doctor, when asked on the stand, remembered very little about the circumstances surrounding Caylee’s death. He remembered there was a pool, a nanny, he spoke to some people in the home, but was not sure who they were.
The Prosecution’s Dr. Garavaglia, the Orange County forensic pathologist who determined the manner of death to be homicide, cited finding a few things in her medical-legal investigation that led to this determination of homicide. Specifically, she pointed to what she called “three red flags which observations and studies show are indicative of a homicide,” and they include: (1) not reporting the missing person or incident immediately to authorities – 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; (3) the use of duct tape on the face, since there is no reason to put duct tape on the face after someone dies – in this case, there was duct tape in the nose and mouth region.
Entomological Evidence & Decomposition
The second area in which all the scientists agreed, Mr. Ashton explained, was with respect to where Caylee’s remains first decomposed, “They agree that the scene where Caylee was found shows that Caylee’s body decomposed somewhere else, and the first few days she was decomposing, the early colonizers could not get to there.” He added, “They diverge on whether the trunk would have excluded the flies… But the body decomposed somewhere else, and from June or July it sat there decomposing until December, on that they agree.”
Chloroform & The Odor of Decomposition
Next, Mr. Ashton talked about the chloroform, which is a byproduct of decomposition, and stated, “They all told you the same thing, that detectable chloroform was coming from the carpet, and that the amount they found was much less than would have been there when it was brought to the tow-yard.” The prosecutor explained that the Defense’s expert offered the explanation that chloroform is also formed by bleach interacting with organic materials, however, “Although chloroform can happen between bleach and organic materials, it produces other compounds that were not found, and there were no bleach stains on the carpet. Only components of decomposition and chloroform were found. And they all agree on that.”
In the end, none of the scientific experts could point to any other single event that could produce all of the compounds found in the trunk, other than human decomposition, and they all agreed that what they smelled coming out of the trunk smelled like human decomposition. [Not to mention the detectives, the tow-yard operator, the cadaver dogs, the crime scene investigators, and Casey’s parents who had career experience smelling that odor.]
Although, the Defense made a claim that officers or crime scene investigators removed something from the garbage bag found in the trunk, and that it was the garbage bag that was responsible for the smell in the trunk, they never presented any evidence to support that claim. “That smell was not from the garbage,” Mr. Ashton declared, “it was from Caylee.”
The Hair & The DNA
Jeff Ashton briefly talked about the hair evidence that the experts analyzed. The prosecutor acknowledged that the scientists are not able to say that the hair banding is caused by a dead human being, because no one knows what causes the hair banding. What they can say is that the hair banding is only found on the hairs that have come from dead human beings, and that no hair banding has ever been recreated or found with the hair that came from a living human.
As for the DNA, Mr. Ashton noted that the Defense “presented DNA non-evidence.” The FBI experts told the jury that they had no expectation of finding any DNA on the tape or the body because DNA degrades over time and more so when exposed to heat and moisture, the exact conditions of the swampy area where Caylee’s remains were found. Even the Defense’s own expert, Mr. Eikelenboom, was not sure if he could have found any DNA. He agreed that “the two things that destroy DNA are moisture and heat, and it was unlikely you would find any DNA” on the evidence from the recovery site.
The Duct Tape
The prosecutor then talked about the duct tape. Pointing to a photo, he explained that the duct tape was wrapped around the skull and the mandible, “it did not get there by water, it is there because Casey Anthony put it there. The mandible is there because the tape is there.” Mr. Ashton shows the jury another photo and points out how the strings from the duct tape go under the mandible and that is “because the tape was placed over her mouth and nose before she decomposed.” He explains further that the crime scene was not staged, it appeared as it did “because of the forces of nature, of water, of animals,” claiming the duct tape had been on Caylee’s face since the day she died.
As for Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found the remains, the prosecutor said that Roy “likes to spin a good yarn,” but he is not someone who would “take a little girl’s skull home and play with it.”
The Defense accused Mr. Kronk of finding Caylee’s remains in August of 2008, taking the remains home, possibly putting the duct tape on the skull and mandible, and then returning the remains to the woods a few months later, in December.
The prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, sarcastically addressed the accusations by asking, “so they both have this rare duct tape” even though Mr. Kronk has never been to the Anthony home and does not know George Anthony; he finds the remains, takes them home – instead of claiming his reward right away – hangs on to the remains for four months, puts the rare duct tape on the skull and mandible, and returns them to the woods. [The Defense never answered ‘why’ Roy Kronk would do this. However, that is just one of the Defense’s theories as to how the remains and the duct tape got there, the other is that George Anthony put the duct tape on and disposed of his granddaughter’s remains.]
The prosecutor further argued that the groupings of the various bones throughout the scene showed how the body was disarticulated, the vertebrae was found feet away from where the skull and mandible were found, the ribs and hips were found away from the skull and the vertebrae. The locations where the bones were found, along with the chew marks found on many of the bones, were indicative of the remains being torn apart and scattered by animals that chewed on them. [And this would only have happened while the remains still had flesh for the animals to be interested. It seems impossible for Roy Kronk to have found the remains, taken them home, and returned the bones in those conditions and locations.]
Jeff Ashton pointed to a photo of the skull at the scene, “a scene staged by Mother Nature herself,” that shows the skull surrounded by the hair all around the skull, vines growing over everything, roots growing through everything, clearly not possible if the remains had been taken away.
The prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, talked to the jury about ‘reasonable doubt’ and said that it was up to them to decide whether a doubt proposed by counsel is “reasonable or fanciful” and he reviewed with them the Defense’s theory that implicated George Anthony.
The prosecutor began by stating that they could all agree that the duct tape came from the Anthony home, but the rest of the Defense’s argument was absurd, and Mr. Ashton walked them through it.
According to the prosecutor, the Defense argued that George Anthony, upon discovering Caylee’s accidental drowning, decided to dispose of the evidence of this “innocent accident,” and, for some reason, put duct tape on Caylee’s face. “There is no reason why you would put duct tape on the face of a dead child.” Mr. Ashton stated, adding, “People don’t make accidents look like murder, that’s absurd.”
However, Mr. Ashton said, “Let’s remove the absurdity and let’s say that George Anthony did put Caylee in the woods on June 16th, with duct tape over the face,” and then on June 24th he reported the gas cans missing and “for some reason, that is part of his insidious plan to implicate his daughter.” Mr. Ashton asked, if that were true, why didn’t he tell the police the first day they came to look for his missing granddaughter about the gas can. [One might also ask why a father who tried to help his daughter dispose of the body, after an accidental drowning, then try to implicate the daughter, set her up to take the blame, with the police.]
[The key point the Defense tried to make with respect to the gas can, was that a small piece of the same type of duct tape used on Caylee was placed over the gas can’s vent hole by George Anthony. He then reported the gas cans stolen on June 24th, knowing that Casey would eventually return them, the police would eventually confiscate them, photograph them, and they would eventually notice the small piece of duct tape on one of the cans, after eventually finding the remains that also had that same rare duct tape attached to the skull and mandible, and, as a result, the police would know that Casey was responsible or connected to the disposal of Caylee’s remains, based on that piece of tape. Okay, now back to the prosecution’s rebuttal…]
Mr. Ashton asked, “Why he [George Anthony] would give the police a piece of evidence that implicates him, who knows. And the police take it, photograph it, and they give it back. He puts it back in the shed, and he does nothing with it.” Months later, after the remains are discovered, the police take it from the Anthony’s shed. “And then this nefarious criminal takes the same duct tape to display posters of his missing granddaughter.” Mr. Ashton adds that it just does not make sense, “George Anthony did not know that duct tape had anything to do with his granddaughter.” Mr. Anthony was asked, on the stand, about the drowning and he said it did not happen. Casey Anthony had a couple of opportunities to adopt that scenario, the accidental drowning, when questioned by police and detectives but she never did.
Premeditated vs Felony Murder
Toward the end of his presentation, Jeff Ashton shifted away from the science and explained to the jury the differences between premeditated murder and felony murder. Namely, in premeditated murder the State has to prove three elements: that Caylee is dead; that Casey did it; and that Casey did it after consciously deciding to do so. The State believes that Casey gave Caylee chloroform and put the duct tape over her mouth and nose, which makes Caylee’s death a premeditated murder, and Casey should be found guilty of first degree murder.
However, the jury can also get to a first degree murder conviction through felony murder, in which the State has to prove three elements: that Caylee is dead; that Casey did it; and that the death occurred as a consequence of, or while Casey was in the commission of, committing child abuse. Mr. Ashton pointed out that the jury does not need to be unanimous in agreeing as to whether it was premeditated murder or felony murder, the jurors can be split between the two and it would still lead to a guilty verdict of first degree murder.
A finding of aggravated child abuse, an intentional act of child abuse that leads to the injury or death of a child, can be used in finding that a felony murder occurred. Mr. Ashton explained that if someone believes that Casey administered the chloroform to Caylee to make her sleep or put the duct tape on Caylee’s face to keep her quiet and, as a result of those actions, Caylee died accidentally, then either one of those actions alone or together is enough to find Casey Anthony guilty of felony murder.
The Suicide Note
Prosecutor Jeff Ashton talked about the relationship between Casey and her parents, especially George Anthony, as seen in the jail-house visit videotapes. The Defense tried to portray him as a Machiavellian monster, but instead, the prosecutor argued, we saw a man who is desperate to find out what happened to his granddaughter, “out of his mind, perplexed, supportive, loving.” Casey Anthony even says to her father a few times that he is a great dad and grandfather. Mr. Ashton stated that there is nothing in those videotapes that indicates Mr. Anthony is “setting her up. The more frictional relationship is with her mother, not her father.”
Mr. Ashton ended his rebuttal presentation to the jury with a discussion about George Anthony’s suicide attempt by consuming alcohol, blood pressure medication, and anti-depression medication, the effects of which became evident in the worsening handwriting of his suicide note. Reading Mr. Anthony’s suicide note, the prosecutor brought to life all of a father’s anguish and desire to understand the why of it all, to make it all go away for his daughter, and to go be with his granddaughter.
[A transcript of George Anthony’s 8-page suicide note to his wife, Cindy Anthony, follows, as compiled from various news sources. Grammar, misspellings, etc., purposely remain uncorrected. Pages 2 and 3 are not transcribed because they are illegible.]
~ Page 1 ~
As you get this letter, this should be no surprise that I have decided to leave the earth, because I need to be with Caylee Marie.
I cannot keep going because it should be me that is gone from this earth, not her.
I have lived many years, I am satisfied with my decision because I have never been the man you, Lee, Casey & especially Caylee Marie deserved.
I have never been the man any of you could count on. I have always let each of you down in more ways than I could remember. I do not feel sorry for myself, I am just sorry I burden all of you the way I have.
My loss of life is meaningless.
Cynthia Marie, you have always worked the hardest, given the most to me, and I have never “thanked you.” 28+ years ago, you corrected me, a man who has now found his identity in life. What I mean is, you always challenged me the right way and I always could never live up to your expectations. You have always been smarter, more knowledgeable & thought things thru & I love you for that.
~ Page 2 ~
(Not yet transcribed)
~ Page 3 ~
(Not yet transcribed)
~ Page 4 ~
I cannot be strong anymore. Caylee Marie, our grand-daughter, I miss her. I miss her so much. I know you do too.
You were always the one that provided for her. What did I provide?
I blame myself for her being gone! You know for months, as a matter of fact for a year or so I brought stuff up, only to be told not to be negative.
Caylee Marie, I miss her. I miss her. I want my family back.
I sit here, falling apart, because I should have done more.
She was so close to home, why was she there? Who placed her there? Why is she gone? Why?
For months, you & I, especially you always questioned, why?
I want this to go away for Casey. What happened? Why could she not come to us? Especially you, why not Lee?
Who is involved with this stuff Caylee?
I am going krazy because I want to
~ Page 5 ~
go after these people Casey hung with prior to Caylee being gone.
That is why I got that gun. I wanted to scare these people. You know, they know more than they have stated, you cannot sugarcoat, kidglove these people. They need hard knocks to get info from.
Sure that will not bring Caylee Marie back, but was Casey threatened? You know, Casey does not deserve to be where she is.
I miss her, I miss her so much. I am worried for her. Her personal safety is always on my mind.
I try to deal with so so much, as I do you also.
I have never wanted to my family for sorrow in any way. I realize families have ups & downs but we have suffered our share & then some.
Cynthia Marie, you have always deserved more, and with me being gone, you will. I have always brought you down. You know that. You are better off. Lee will be there for you. Mallory is such a great woman. I see how you are with her. She is a keeper. Future
~ Page 6 ~
daughter-in-law. I smile when I say her name.
Mallory, please take care of yourself, Lee & Cindy. Someday you will be a great wife to Lee, and a fantastic mom. Cindy is a great “Grammy” and will love you forever.
Getting back to why I cannot live anymore: I cannot function knowing our granddaughter is gone. Caylee Marie never had a chance to grow. I wanted to walk her to school (the 1st day). I wanted to help her in so many ways. Shoot her 1st basket. I could go on & on.
I sit here empty inside for her. For you, for us. Jose keeps calling.
Yes, you deserve more & you will have freedom to enjoy what you deserve.
I have taken what meds was given to me with alcohol & I am ready to give up.
As I can tell by my writing and thinking, I am getting very stupid. Wow, what a word STUPID. Yes, I am. Again, I do not feel sorry for myself, but yes I am STUPID. Cannot deal with stuff anymore.
~ Page 7 ~
The loss of Caylee Marie. The loss of Casey. The loss of us, Cynthia Marie, the meds, I am ready.
Saying good bye, please understand it is for the best. I do not deserve life anymore. Anymore us.
You are the best, you always have been. I am sorry for all that I have done to us.
You know I never got to say goodbye. I am at this place and all is getting foggy & my writing is all over the place.
I love you, I love you, I hope you get to see Casey soon.
All the people we met, wow, the writing is getting weird, I love you, I am sorry – I will take care of Caylee – once I get to God “hopefully”
~ Page 8 ~
I want to hold her hand again, I miss her, I will always love us, I am sorry Cynthia Marie.
I called my mom today, Sonnie, Kathy, Ruthie (I lost her #).
I am so tired, at least I shaved today. Wow – I’m tripping out, I am sorry.
I love you – Cynthia Marie
Caylee here I come
Lee, I am sorry
Linda Drane Burdick’s Rebuttal
After Mr. Ashton’s rebuttal, the Judge gave the jury a break and they returned at 10:05 a.m. to listen to the attorney who would be the first and last voice the jury would ever hear in the presentation of evidence and argument, the attorney who began it all on May 24th, 2011, the first day of this trial.
Linda Drane Burdick, the lead prosecutor, the one who gave the brilliant opening statements, was the closer. She referenced her opening statement saying, “When I came up here in May and spoke to you for over two hours, I meant what I said. I didn’t make promises to you that the State did not keep, I meant what I said. The State of Florida has proven every element of this indictment against Casey Marie Anthony.” [In a not-so-subtle way, trying to remind the jury that the Defense presented a theory they never proved.]
Ms. Burdick stated that, unlike Mr. Baez’ biggest fear that the jury would let their emotions get in the way, her biggest fear was that common sense would be lost in all of the rhetoric of the case.
The prosecutor claimed that, through defense counsel, Casey Anthony accused the detectives, the deputies, the crime scene investigators, and the scientists of lying, she added, “a trial is supposed to be a search for the truth, both for the accused and the victim. It is lying that perverts that process. So, during a process when the best documented liar accuses everyone else of lying, that is rich indeed.”
“As we have come to find out,” Ms. Burdick explained, “accusing others of lying is classic Casey Anthony. When Casey Anthony wants to divert attention away from herself she accuses others.” But, she added, “A lie told convincingly, is still a lie.”
“In his argument, counsel put up pictures of all the sheriff’s department personnel at the scene who took no action on the smell of the car,” however, Ms. Burdick explained, “That first night they did not think Caylee was dead. There was no reason to connect the smell in the car to Caylee. The defendant told them she was alive,” the prosecutor added that Casey was asking for law enforcement’s help to find her kidnapped daughter.
“The false allegations of a kidnapping diverts attention away from the perpetrator and buys the perpetrator more time.” Burdick stated that Casey Anthony’s lies to the detectives on July 15th and 16th were all about buying her time. At Universal Studios, on July 16th, Ms. Anthony had three detectives that were there to help her find her daughter, they even asked her why she was lying to them. It doesn’t make sense unless you consider that “this is consciousness of guilt on Ms. Anthony’s part,” the prosecutor explained, “she was buying time, like she did with her mother, her brother, her friends.”
The Defense stated that the 31 days that Casey Anthony did not report her daughter missing were meaningless, and the prosecutor addressed that argument, exclaiming, “The 31 days is meaningless?! The counsel’s statement that the state was trying to prove she was a slut during those 31 days!? The investigators were trying to backtrack, to use her cell phone records to find Zenaida, to help the defendant, but as they backtracked it became evident the defendant was lying about everything. Look at her four-page statement, the only true statement is that Caylee was born on August 9, 2005. Every other statement is a lie.”
Ms. Burdick continued, “You’ve been told that everybody grieves differently. That may be true. Responses to grief are as varied as the day is long. But responses to guilt are predictable. People who are guilty lie, they run, they avoid, they mislead, not just their family but the police. They divert attention from themselves. They act like nothing is wrong. That is why you heard about those 31 days.”
Burdick stated that what Ms. Anthony did during those 31 days was not indicative of someone who was grieving over a child who died by accident. Casey Anthony “ran from her family because those are the people who would ask the questions… who would want answers” as to where Caylee was, not her friends who “are easy to placate if she tells them her daughter is with the nanny, my mom is crazy, my parents are getting divorced, my dad had a heart attack” and so on.
“The question is no longer where is Caylee, as I asked in my opening,” Ms. Burdick announced, “it is who killed her.” As the facts and the circumstances change over time, the defendant’s lies changed as well, they got bigger, they got better, they involved more people, the prosecutor argued. “The Defense said there must be something wrong with Casey because she has imaginary friends. She does not have imaginary friends, those people are lies, with a purpose to get Casey out of a jam.”
Ms. Burdick argue that for the longest time Casey claimed that Caylee was alive, until the remains were found, and then the lie could not be that Caylee was alive and with the nanny. The lies changed, then the theory changed, now the theory is that it must have been some kind of accident. However, on July 16, 2008 when the Sheriff’s detectives proposed alternate scenarios, including the possibility that Caylee had drowned or died by accident, Casey insisted that Caylee was alive, kidnapped by the nanny.
[The prosecutor at this time played for the jury the segment of audiotape where the detectives suggest to Casey that perhaps Caylee accidentally drowned. A clip from the Casey Anthony interview that took place at Universal Studios on July 16, 2008.]
The defendant’s own mother suggested the pool accident theory to Casey, at a jail-house visit, and Casey Anthony’s response was “Surprise, surprise.” [The prosecutor played for the jury that segment of the videotaped visit.] “So, when Caylee is found dead on December 11,” the prosecutor stated, “‘surprise, surprise,’ now it’s an accident.”
“No one would make the accidental death of a child look like a murder.” Ms. Burdick said, adding that the actions of Casey Anthony are inconsistent with what people do, 100% of the time, when a child drowns, “they want them to live; they call 911; they anguish over the death of a child.”
The prosecutor challenged the jury to consider, if they believe that Casey was a great mother, that the people who said that were friends who don’t have children, who only saw Caylee and Casey together for short periods of time. The fact that Caylee was well-fed, had nice clothes and a beautiful room and play yard was the result of her grandparents’ efforts and money.
“What parent acts with complete indifference to the accidental death of her child?” Ms. Burdick asked, adding that if Caylee “drowned in the pool, she would have been found floating in the pool, not floating in the swamp down the street. George Anthony would have called 911; he would have performed CPR; he would not have thrown her into a swamp.”
“The way the remains were disposed of shows complete indifference for the child. It shows how the person who disposed of her really felt about her.” [The prosecutor shows the jury a photo of Caylee’s backyard playhouse.] “This is how George and Cindy felt about their granddaughter… a little mailbox with her name on it. They put a stone base under that playhouse so that Caylee would not have to sit on the ground if it was wet, so an insect would not get on her if she sat on the ground.”
Linda Drane Burdick asked the jury to consider why we heard Mr. Anthony, in the jail-house videos, over and over again, trying to get his daughter to talk to law enforcement, to the FBI, to the Sheriff’s deputies. “If he was diabolical,” she asked, “why would he want his co-conspirator to talk to the cops? It does not make sense.”
Not only do the disposal of those remains speak volumes of how Casey felt about Caylee, but the phone call Casey made home to her family the night she was arrested speaks volumes, as well, Ms. Burdick said before playing for the jury the audio-taped phone call.
[Here are a few highlights from that phone call in which Casey Anthony talks to her mother and brother trying to get Tony Lazzaro’s phone number, as they pass Casey off to a visiting friend, Kristina, who babysat Caylee, free of charge, her first six months of life:
Kristina: I’ll die if anything happened to Caylee, I would die.
Casey: Oh, my god, calling you guys, a total waste.
Kristina: How come people are saying you are not upset, you are not crying?
Casey: I have to keep a pose to talk to the detectives, to make other calls, to get things done. No one in my own family is on my side, All they care about is getting Caylee back, that’s all they want. ]
“When you use your common sense you can listen and hear, and see there is nothing wrong with Casey that you cannot explain with two words: pathological liar.” stated the prosecutor.
Ms. Burdick pointed out to the jury that through the course of the trial they have learned that Casey Anthony is the only person who had access to every piece of evidence discussed by Mr. Ashton, including the duct tape, the laundry bag, the blanket, the shorts, and the car.
“There is no evidence that anybody else was driving her car. She texted Amy that she thought her dad ran over a dead animal because of the smell, 15 minutes before Tony picked her up at AMSCOTT. The trash bag was there as a decoy, and it was parked next to the dumpster to make people think that was the source of the odor.” Ms. Burdick explained, adding that “Casey was staying with her boyfriend during those 31 days. Her parents did not know where she was; they did not know where her car was.”
The remnants of the shirt, found with the remains, that once displayed the words: ‘Big Trouble Comes in Small Packages” was not kept at the Anthony home, Ms. Burdick argued, adding that Cindy Anthony had said under oath that she had never seen that shirt before, and she is the one who did the laundry. “That shirt was kept in Casey’s car or in Caylee’s diaper bag.”
The prosecutor argued that no one else had tried to cover things up and “lied and lied and lied.” George and Cindy were home, wanting to see Caylee. Casey was staying at Tony’s while she lied to her parents about being in Tampa, Jacksonville and elsewhere, “and where was Caylee? She was dead in the woods.”
“At the end of this case, you have to ask yourselves one simple question, ‘Whose life was better without Caylee?’ Was Cindy Anthony’s life better?” Ms. Burdick asked and played the 911 audiotape where Cindy Anthony cries on the phone and says, “My granddaughter is missing. My daughter admitted that the babysitter took my granddaughter. There is something wrong… it smells like there has been a dead body in the damn car.”
“Is George Anthony better without his beloved granddaughter?” Ms. Burdick asked, “Whose life was better?”
Ms. Burdick reminded the jury once again of her opening statement refrain, “Where is Caylee?” and stated that we now know where Caylee was, in a swamp. The only question left to answer, she said in her last words to the jury, was “Whose life was better without Caylee?” implying that should answer the ultimate question of who killed Caylee Marie Anthony.
The lead prosecutor showed the jury a photo of Casey dancing at a club, next to a photo of Casey’s tattoo, ‘Bella Vita,’ and then Linda Drane Burdick simply said, “There is your answer.”
Motion for Mistrial
After the Prosecutions rebuttal arguments, the jury was given a break and the Defense motioned for a mistrial. Just as quickly, Judge Perry denied their motion and smiled.
After the 10 minute recess, the jury returned at 11:25 a.m. (eastern time) and the Judge began to give the jury their instructions, reviewing the charges against Casey Anthony, reviewing definitions of certain terms, and reviewing the laws by which they have to abide. He reviewed with them the verdict forms they will need to fill out and other procedural matters.
After reviewing the nearly 26 pages of jury instruction, the Judge explained some final points to the jury:
“In a little while you will be taken to a room, and the first thing you should do is pick a foreperson. The verdict must be unanimous. The jurors must communicate about the case only with each other, and only when all of them are present. If you become aware of any violations I have given you, give a note to the bailiff who will bring it to me. There are no other laws that apply to this case. Even if you don’t like the laws that must be applied, you must apply them. No juror has the right to violate rules that we all share. As you proceed to retire and begin your deliberations. Five of you will separate from the group and will go to a separate room where I will give them additional instructions.”
[The ‘five’ the Judge said would be separated from the group are the alternate jurors.]
And then court was adjourned. The jurors, the Judge, and some of the lawyers left to speak privately in another room.
The verdict watch had begun.
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?
Martie Hevia (c) 2011 – All Rights Reserved