Jury issues not guilty verdict in Casey Anthony case in 11 hours

Posted By on July 5, 2011

Just as most Americans were shocked by the verdict in the OJ Simpson case in 1995, most are once shaking their heads in the “much publicized” trial of Casey Anthony. Accused of the killing of her 2 year old daughter Caylee, the jury returned a not guilty verdict for all but charges of lying to law enforcement.

I’m probably not the only one questioning our justice system – flawed to say the least (non-scientific poll below).

caseyanthonypoll

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  • Adding an Associated Press article for archival context:

    ORLANDO, Fla.—Casey Anthony was found not guilty Tuesday of killing
    her 2-year-old daughter three years ago in a case that captivated the
    nation as it played out on national television from the moment the
    toddler was reported missing.

    Ms. Anthony wept after the clerk read the verdict, which jurors
    reached after less than 11 hours of deliberation over two days. The
    25-year-old was charged with first-degree murder, which could have
    brought the death penalty if she had been convicted.

    Instead, she was convicted of only four counts of lying to investigators
    looking into the June 2008 disappearance of her daughter Caylee. Her
    body was found in the woods six months later and a medical examiner was
    never able to determine how she died.

    Ms. Anthony will be sentenced by the judge on Thursday and could
    receive up to a year in jail for each lying count. She has already spent
    almost three years in jail awaiting trial.

    After the verdict was read, Ms. Anthony hugged her attorney Jose Baez and later mouthed the words “thank you” to him.

    Prosecutors sat solemnly in their seats, looking stunned. Prosecutor
    Jeff Ashton shook his head slightly from side to side in apparent
    disbelief. Across the room, Ms. Anthony’s father wiped tears from his
    eyes. Without speaking to Casey, he and his wife left the courtroom
    escorted by police as the judge thanked the jury.

    “While we’re happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case,” Mr.
    Baez said at a news conference afterward. “Caylee has passed on far,
    far too soon. And what my driving force has been for the last three
    years has been always to make sure that there has been justice for
    Caylee and Casey, because Casey did not murder Caylee. It’s that
    simple.”

    He added: “This case has brought on new challenges of all of us.
    Challenges in the criminal justice system, challenges in the media, and I
    think we should all take this as an opportunity to learn and to realize
    that you cannot convict someone until they’ve had their day in court.”

    Ms. Anthony’s attorneys claimed that the toddler drowned accidentally
    in the family swimming pool, and that her seemingly carefree mother in
    fact was hiding emotional distress caused by sexual abuse from her
    father.

    Prosecutors contended that Caylee was suffocated with duct tape by a
    mother who loved to party, tattooed herself with the Italian words for
    “beautiful life” in the month her daughter was missing and crafted
    elaborate lies to mislead everyone from investigators to her own
    parents.

    Captivated observers camped outside the courthouse to jockey for
    coveted seats in the courtroom gallery, which occasionally led to fights
    among those desperate to watch the drama unfold. Ms. Anthony didn’t
    take the stand during the trial, which started in mid-May. Because the
    case got so much media attention in Orlando, jurors were brought in from
    the Tampa Bay area and sequestered for the entire trial.

    Prior to the verdict on Tuesday, the judge said: “To those in the
    gallery please do not express any signs of approval or disapproval upon
    the reading of the verdict.”

    Mr. Baez conceded that his client had told elaborate lies and
    invented imaginary friends and even a fake father for Caylee, but he
    said that doesn’t mean she killed her daughter.

    “They throw enough against the wall and see what sticks,” Mr. Baez
    said of prosecutors during closing arugments. “That is what they’re
    doing … right down to the cause of death.”

    He tried to convince jurors that the toddler accidentally drowned in
    the family swimming pool and that when Ms. Anthony panicked, her father,
    a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a murder
    by putting duct tape on the girl’s mouth and dumping the body in woods
    about a quarter-mile away.

    Her father firmly denied both the cover-up and abuse claims. The
    prosecution called those claims “absurd,” saying that no one makes an
    accident look like a murder.

    Lead prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick concluded the state’s case by
    showing the jury two side-by-side images. One showed Casey Anthony
    smiling and partying in a nightclub during the month Caylee was missing.
    The other was the tattoo she got a day before her family and law
    enforcement first learned of the child’s disappearance.

    “At the end of this case, all you have to ask yourself is whose life
    was better without Caylee?” Ms. Burdick asked. “This is your answer.”

    Prosecutors hammered on the lies Ms. Anthony, then 22, told from June
    16, 2008, when her daughter was last seen, and a month later when
    sheriff’s investigators were notified. Those include the single mother
    telling her parents she couldn’t produce Caylee because the girl was
    with a nanny named Zanny—a woman who doesn’t exist; that she and her
    daughter were spending time in Jacksonville, Fla., with a rich boyfriend
    who doesn’t exist; and that Zanny had been hospitalized after an
    out-of-town traffic crash and that they were spending time with her.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.