Here’s to trying to break down the most intricate web of lies to ever come out of a real life event!
Casey’s inquisitive mother wants to see Caylee some time near 6/16/08. Casey says Caylee is unavailable and tells parents and friends that Caylee has been absent from family gatherings because she is with her nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez. When police ask her to take them to this person’s home, she takes them to a long-vacated apartment. Zenaida Gonzalez was never a resident at this apartment. Later, it was determined that the name Zenaida Gonzalez was on the guest list in the apartment complex office.
She tells her mother she is unable to bring Caylee by to see her because she was taking her with her to visit a rich suitor in Jacksonville. This person turns out to be non-existant.
She tells her mother that she was spending time out of town. Later, it was discovered she was still in town.
Cindy Anthony’s frantic 911 call alerts dispatchers that her daughter has been acting suspicious, she hasn’t seen her granddaughter in a month, and there was a horrible odor resembling that of a decomposing body coming from Casey’s car. She later testifies that she lied about the odor to get law enforcement to the house faster.
Upon being brought in for questioning, she tells detectives of her employment at Universal Studios. She takes them to the lot where she said she was employed, walks them through the facility and into a building where she claims she works. Soon after entrance to the building she tells the detectives that she in fact does not work there, prompting detectives to take her into a room and begin the interrogation immediately. Further investigating leads to the fact that Casey last worked at Universal in 2006 in a temporary role.
Caylee’s body is found by meter reader Roy Kronk 6 months after being reported missing in a previously searched wooded area that was flooded upon first look. The body was found with numerous amounts of debris around what remained of the body – iron on lettering from what turned out to be Caylee’s shirt, cardboard with heart-shaped residue, black trash bags, a laundry bag.
Two cadaver dogs alert to the scent of decomposition in Casey’s car as well as in and around a playhouse in the Anthony’s back yard. Forensic testing also indicates high levels of chloroform in the trunk.
Casey is formally indicted upon mounting evidence. She hires defense attorney Jose Baez.
3 years later the defense opens with a bombshell of an opening statement that suggested Caylee drowned accidentally in the family pool and George Anthony, Casey’s father was the first one to find her. Upon screaming at her “Look what you’ve done! Your mother is going to kill you!”, the defense says that George and Casey covered up the death. They also revealed to the jury that Casey was the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of her brother and father, contributing to her heinous actions.
Jailhouse visits recorded showed a teary eyed father who says he misses his daughter’s hugs and missed his granddaughter. Casey goes on to discuss what great grandparents George and Cindy were to Caylee and how lucky she was to have them in her life. She also sarcastically debunks a rumor mentioned by George that suggested Caylee drowned in the family pool.
Countless friends testify to how care-free Casey was in the time period in which Caylee was missing. Parties, hot body contests, dining out, laughing and carrying on relationships all seem to take precedence over her missing child. But they also testify that she was a very loving mother. Video shows no signs of a disgruntled mother and even shows Caylee opening the sliding glass door that leads to the pool all by herself. As well, video of her climbing the pool ladder by herself was shown.
An entomologist for the prosecution testifies that bugs that were found inside the car trunk were thought to be 3-5 days old when first found, indicating the body could have been in the trunk for a period of 3-5 days before being dumped where the body was later found. The defense gets the entomologist to testify that the bugs found could have come from decomposing garbage found in a bag in Casey’s car.
The skull had a piece of duct tape covering the mouth. The prosecution litigates that the duct tape was the murder weapon, placed over Caylee’s mouth and nose, suffocating her after being exposed to chloroform. The defense also brought a high-profile celebrity witness to state that the duct tape was placed on the skull some time after death, perhaps to keep the jawbone from falling off.
Glue residue remains on a piece of cardboard near the body and on a piece of duct tape across Caylee’s mouth in the shape of a heart. Heart-shaped stickers were found in Casey’s home. The brand of duct tape matched the brand found on a single roll in the home. The body reveals very little forensic evidence due to washing out caused by the shallow, murky, flooded grave.
Personal items belonging to Caylee were also found with the body, including a blanket and iron on lettering belonging to Caylee’s shirt. No DNA evidence was found on Casey’s clothing. Cindy Anthony testifies to having washed her daughter’s clothing.
Computer searches conducted on a computer in the Anthony home revealed searches for ‘chloroform’, ‘zenaida gonzalez’ and ‘neck breaking’. Further forensic analysis and testimony reveals that the search for ‘zenaida gonzales’ was done by Lee Anthony, Casey’s brother, the day after Caylee was reported missing in his desperate attempt to find her and/or the nanny. Despite Casey’s initial interrogation stating that she had been searching desperately for her daughter and any trace of Zenaida Gonzalez, it was found that there were no searches for the nanny on this computer before the searches conducted by Lee Anthony. Other searches were done on the same computer that included self defense terms seemingly not pertinent to the investigation.
Two users are identified on the family computer. One belonging to ‘GUEST’ and the other belonging to “CASEY”. The search was done using the “GUEST” account which did not require a password.
A tattoo artist was brought to the stand to testify about a tattoo he put on Casey after the girl was reported missing. He says that she said Caylee was with a nanny. The tattoo says “BELLA VITA”, Italian for ‘Beautiful Life’. Casey offers to pay for pizza for the two of them and shows very little worrying about her missing child.
A felon serving time in prison for kidnapping is subpoenaed to explain why George Anthony’s cell phone records show he called George 4 times near the time Caylee was last seen alive. So far they have both said they do not know each other.
Forensic analyst William Rodriguez kicked off the stand by Judge Belvin Perry for discussing matters not disclosed to the prosecution and was left off the initial deposition prompting a contempt of court slapped on defense attorney Jose Baez. Judge Belvin Perry cancels the Monday session that was to begin the 5th week due to problems the defense was having getting a witness on the stand and further delays of Williams’ testimony.
The trial is set to resume at 8:30am Tuesday of week 5, a half hour earlier than the normal 9am start. Judge Perry has warned both sides that lunches will be shorter, days will be longer, and to expect to get worked hard on Saturday, normally only a half day. Courts are not usually in session on Saturday but Judge Perry did not want jurors away from their families for any longer than they have to be.
A tip alerts the prosecution that Casey spent 5 days in the same jail cell dorm of a woman named Whalen whose son died in the family pool and was found by the grandfather. Her current incarceration with Casey was related to another case, however the stories were so similar the prosecution requested to question Whalen, who says she had never spoken to Casey in those 5 days but she cannot attest to if she heard Whalen’s story from another inmate. No records of contact between the two were on file in the prison’s records.
Cindy Anthony testifies that she did a search that yielded results for ‘chlorophyll’ and she was taken to other “similar suggestion” links for ‘chloroform’.
Roy Kronk, the meter reader, testifies to finding what appeared to be a skull. He uses a 5″ long meter reader through the right eye socket to positively identify it as a skull. He places it down, calls for help, and was treated rudely by an agent who said the area had already been searched and that he was wasting their time. He goes back some time later to report it again, touching the bag. His son later testifies that his Dad called him up about the remains and told him he was going to be rich and famous for his discovery and to not tell his mother in aspirations of hiding his reward money.
One of Casey’s boyfriends testifies that Casey told him on a few occasions that her brother tried to grope her.
George is called to the stand to defend his character. First the defense slams George for text messages sent to a volunteer that indicated he could be having an affair. George denied the claims, admitted his wife knew about his visits with this woman, and that they were only for support after finding out about having cancer. George said he felt obligated to stand by the side of this person for all of the help she gave to them. Baez informs the jury that the friend/volunteer said that George broke down crying in front of her and when she asked what was wrong and what happened to Caylee that he told her it was an accident that spiraled out of control. George Anthony disputed this claim as well.
George is recalled to the stand and denies sexually abusing his daughter.
Lee is called to the stand and also denies sexual abuse.
Jose Baez’ request to declare the death penalty non-constitutional based on a June 20 ruling by District Judge Jose Martinez is reconsidered by Judge Belvin Perry, who calls Ann Finnell to clarify the issue. Without counsel present after the lunch session Casey speaks on her behalf for the first time, claiming she agrees with Ms. Finnell’s advice and so would her lawyers.
28 year old Matthew Bartlett is arrested for contempt of court for flipping Jeff Ashton the middle finger. He is sentenced to 6 days in jail, $400 in fines and $223 in court costs. He has 6 months to pay but informed the judge that despite his low income he could pay immediately.
River Cruz, aka Krystal Holloway, was put on the stand to talk about her relationship with George Anthony and an encounter she claims to have happened at her condominium. She admitted to Jeff Ashton that she met George at a search party tent. Text messages were followed soon by regular visits which led to a sexual relationship on more than one occasion. When she asked him what happened he began to cry and said “It was an accident that just spiraled out of control”. Cruz said that she doesn’t believe George was involved in the death but believes Casey was involved more so than is being told. Cindy Anthony sat in court listening to this news for the first time while George appeared particularly shifty. Casey maintained her stoic look.
The prosecution brings to light a suicide attempt by George Anthony at a South Florida hotel. George’s cocktail of pills and alcohol were not enough to bring him ‘to be with Caylee. It was time to be with Caylee’. He breaks down several times on the stand during testimony while Casey once again looks stoic.
The prosecution questions Cindy Anthony again. In the first week of testimony, she originally said that her dogs were sick and she tried to find the cause. She typed in “bamboo” and was given results for “chlorophyll” and “chloroform”. However, the prosecution obtained records from Cindy’s employer and it was discovered that Cindy was at work at the times of the searches and clicks for “chloroform” and “neck breaking”. When asked how that could be, Cindy said she may have gone home early that day or worked from home.
The next witness called to the stand worked at the same employer as Cindy Anthony. She testified that Cindy would not have been able to log in remotely from her location, making it hard to dispute the electronic time stamps on Cindy’s hour card at the time of the searches for “chloroform” at the Anthony’s family computer.
Before closing arguments begin, both attorneys are told they are not to talk about sexual abuse during their closing arguments, as there was insufficient evidence that it even took place. Attorney’s on both sides get testy with another after Jose Baez pokes fun of lead prosecutor Jeff Ashton for making faces during Baez’ closing arguments. The judge reprimands them both and the case continues with Baez refuting the prosecution’s ‘strong points’, saying they are all speculative and circumstantial evidence.
Judge Belvin goes over the charges and facts of the case, pointing out that they are not to consider sexual abuse of any kind. He spends 6 hours with the jury before handing the case over to them for deliberations.
After 11 hours, the jury reads the verdict – NOT GUILTY on all major charges; GUILTY on 4 misdemeanor charges of lying to authorities, each possible for 1 year in prison. With 3 years already served Casey was officially free.
Casey’s parents, especially George, maintain a non-emotional, stoic stare before and after the verdict was read.
Casey hugs her lawyers and begins sobbing.
A few members of the jury originally say they will speak to the media but they later decide to not do an interview. Later, a few do come out of hiding and ask why the prosecution couldn’t present more evidence. Many are ‘sick to their stomachs’ but felt they were obligated to exonerate Casey due to lack of clear evidence.
One jury member says he’ll only speak for $50,000. No offers have been reported yet.
The State of Florida claims they want Casey Anthony to pay for her prosecution fees.
Texas EquiSearch and others involved with searching for Caylee when Casey knew she was dead plan on suing Casey for operating costs. TE claims their bill for the search was approx $110,000.
Casey gets sentenced to 1 year and $1000 for each count of lying to police officers. With 3 years already served she’ll spend approx 1 year in jail or less if she maintains ‘good behavior’.
Several media outlets have already hinted to the likelihood of Casey signing a book deal worth millions to hear her side of the story.
Jose Baez drops his previous motion for a mistrial during Casey’s sentencing hearing, saying “It is no longer necessary”. He smiles.