Closing arguments to begin in Casey Anthony trial - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Closing arguments to begin in Casey Anthony trial

By KYLE HIGHTOWER
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The case that played out on national TV beginning with a toddler's disappearance in 2008 and continuing up to her mother's murder trial today reaches a milestone Sunday with the expected start of closing arguments in a Florida courtroom.

After more than 33 days of testimony and 400 pieces of evidence, prosecutors and defense attorneys in the first-degree murder trial of 25-year-old Casey Anthony are to deliver final arguments to jurors in the death of Anthony's 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Judge Belvin Perry, who gave attorneys Saturday off to prepare for final arguments, has said deliberations by the jury of seven women and five men could begin as early as Sunday evening.

During opening statements in May, prosecutors contended that Caylee was suffocated with duct tape by a mother who loved to party and shop and who crafted elaborate lies to mislead everyone from investigators to her own parents. Defense attorneys countered that the toddler accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool, and that her seemingly carefree mother in fact was hiding emotional distress caused by sexual abuse from her father.

However, jurors heard that a medical examiner never determined precisely how Caylee died, and Casey Anthony's DNA was not found with her daughter's skeletal remains when they were discovered in December 2008 in a wooded area near the Anthony family home. The defense team never offered firm proof of how the girl died, either, and never offered any evidence that Casey Anthony was molested by her father, George, who has firmly denied the claim.

The trial has been broadcast across the country. Captivated observers have traveled from distant states and camped outside the Orlando courthouse, jockeying for coveted seats in the gallery to witness the unfolding of the court drama.

Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. She could face a possible death sentence or life in prison if convicted of that charge.

Anthony also is charged with aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to law enforcement. The child abuse and manslaughter charges each carry a 30-year prison term if convicted.

Prosecutors finished their rebuttal case Friday, after which defense attorney Cheney Mason argued that the judge should grant a request to acquit Anthony. He said in part about the state's case: "If you separate facts from fiction and inferences stacked on top of inferences ... there is no proof."

Indeed, the burden of proof falls to prosecutors. They relied on a highly circumstantial case, focusing on what they called the lies told by Casey Anthony in the 31 days after Caylee was last seen alive. They also heavily focused on an odor in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car, which the prosecution's forensics experts said was consistent with the smell of human decomposition.

No physical evidence ever linked Casey Anthony to traces of chloroform found in the trunk, though, and Perry ruled that the jury would not get to smell air samples taken from that trunk.

Nonetheless, the defense offered no evidence supporting their theory that Caylee drowned. Nor did they offer proof of the molestation allegations, which the attorneys said explained why Casey continued to party and hang out with friends after her daughter disappeared in the summer of 2008.

Absent definitive evidence, Florida A&M professor Karin Moore said jurors might lean on the most glaring thing presented to them.

That could mean judging Casey Anthony's actions during the month Caylee was missing, Moore said.

"If she knew her child had died or was missing, she was not acting like a grieving mother," Moore said. "It may be enough for a jury."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Bucks' Sterling Brown sues Milwaukee over stun-gun arrest

    Bucks' Sterling Brown sues Milwaukee over stun-gun arrest

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 11:32 AM EDT2018-06-19 15:32:35 GMT
    Tuesday, June 19 2018 11:37 PM EDT2018-06-20 03:37:10 GMT
    This Jan. 26, 2018 police body-camera footage released by Milwaukee Police Department shows NBA Bucks guard Sterling Brown as he talks to arresting police officers after being shot by a stun gun in a Walgreens parking lot. (Milwaukee Police Dept/AP)This Jan. 26, 2018 police body-camera footage released by Milwaukee Police Department shows NBA Bucks guard Sterling Brown as he talks to arresting police officers after being shot by a stun gun in a Walgreens parking lot. (Milwaukee Police Dept/AP)

    Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown is suing the city and its police department because officers used a stun gun on him during his arrest for a parking violation in January.

    More >>

    Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown is suing the city and its police department because officers used a stun gun on him during his arrest for a parking violation in January.

    More >>
  • 'Papa! Papa!' Audio of children stokes rage over separation

    'Papa! Papa!' Audio of children stokes rage over separation

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 1:20 AM EDT2018-06-19 05:20:32 GMT
    Tuesday, June 19 2018 11:35 PM EDT2018-06-20 03:35:35 GMT
    (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP). In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a U.S. Border Patrol agent watches as people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the...(U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP). In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a U.S. Border Patrol agent watches as people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the...
    An audio recording that appears to capture the heartbreaking cries of small Spanish-speaking children being processed by U.S. officials stoked the uproar over the policy of separating immigrant children from their...More >>
    An audio recording that appears to capture the heartbreaking cries of small Spanish-speaking children being processed by U.S. officials stoked the uproar over the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.More >>
  • 'Say bye to him': Detainee recounts agents taking her son

    'Say bye to him': Detainee recounts agents taking her son

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 1:31 PM EDT2018-06-19 17:31:01 GMT
    Tuesday, June 19 2018 11:34 PM EDT2018-06-20 03:34:17 GMT
    (Blanca Orantes-Lopez via AP). In this self portrait taken in Mexico in May 2018, Blanca Orantes-Lopez poses for a photo with her 8-year-old son, Abel Alexander, during the monthlong journey from their hometown of Puerto La Libertad, El Salvador, to th...(Blanca Orantes-Lopez via AP). In this self portrait taken in Mexico in May 2018, Blanca Orantes-Lopez poses for a photo with her 8-year-old son, Abel Alexander, during the monthlong journey from their hometown of Puerto La Libertad, El Salvador, to th...
    'Don't leave me, Mom': Woman from El Salvador describes separation from 8-year-old son after crossing border.More >>
    'Don't leave me, Mom': Woman from El Salvador describes separation from 8-year-old son after crossing border.More >>
Powered by Frankly