The jury in the Casey Anthony trial, probably the most watched since O.J. Simpson’s murder trial in 1995, returned verdicts of not guilty on a count of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. She was, however, found guilty of three counts of giving false information to law enforcement.
As Anthony, 25, who’d been accused of killing her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, prepared to hear her fate, she struggled to remain composed. She kept her eyes lowered, but her anxiety was visible in her facial expression and deep breathing. It wasn’t until after the verdicts were read and members of the jury were polled to ascertain whether they were all in agreement that Anthony finally burst into tears.
The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days, following 33 days of testimony. If convicted, the 25-year-old could have faced the death penalty. Instead, she will likely receive a sentence of time served.
Anthony's attorneys had maintained that Caylee had drowned accidentally in the family swimming pool.
Prosecutors said that the two-year-old was suffocated with duct tape by a mother who loved to party and weaved elaborate lies about the fate of her daughter.
Prosecutors hammered on the lies Anthony, then 22, told from June 16, 2008, when her daughter was last seen, and a month later when sheriff's investigators were notified, writes the Associated Press. The lies included: Anthony 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, Florida, 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.
Defense attorney Jose Baez said that his client’s acquittal is a prime example of why the death penalty should not exist. Cheney Mason, another member of the defense team, condemned the media for “assassinating” his client in their coverage of the case and attorney “talking heads,” who provided on-air analysis of a case he said “they don’t know a damn thing about and don’t have the experience to back up their words or the law.”
(Photo: Associated PressAP)