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ORLANDO-After an almost month and a half long trial, and after only deliberating for 11 hours, the jury in the Casey Anthony trial came back with a verdict of not guilty. She wept after the verdict was read. Her family left the courtroom without speaking to her as the judge thanked the jury for their part in the trial. Meanwhile Jeff Ashton the prosecutor in the case just shook his head in disbelief.
Charged with first degree murder, if found guilty, Casey Anthony could have faced the death penalty. As it stands now, Anthony will be sentenced on Thursday for four counts of lying to the investigators in the case.
Her daughter disappeared in June of 2008. She was found close to her grand-parents home in a wooded area about 6 months later.
Prosecutors argued that Caylee’s mother, Casey had covered her mouth with duct tape, smothering her before disposing of her body in the woods in a garbage bag that was duct taped closed. They pointed out repeatedly that Casey did not act as if her child was missing in the month after her disappearance and painted her as a party girl.
Prosecutors pointed at the different lies that were told to cover up the child’s whereabouts as family and authorities searched for her. Those included that Caylee was with her babysitter Zanny, a woman who did not exist, and the fabrication that Zanny had been involved in an accident and so her and her daughter were spending time with her, and how Casey made up a story of a rich boyfriend that she and her daughter visiting out of town.
Lawyers for the defense countered that even if Casey had constructed elaborate lies as to the location of her daughter and populated those lies with make believe people, it did not mean that she had killed her daughter. They asserted that Anthony’s daughter had accidently drowned in the family swimming pool and had been buried to cover up only that fact. Her father, it was stated, was complicit in the cover up and had duct taped the child in order to make it look like an abduction. They claimed Casey’s attitude in the time after her daughter’s disappearance as an elaborate cover-up stemming from extreme emotional distress brought on by sexual abuse at the hands of her father. Her father denied these claims, both the abuse and cover-up.
The case had caught the attention of America right from the very beginning when Caylee was reported as missing. The nation followed the story everyday as it aired on television. By the time the trial date finally arrived, spectators camped outside the courthouse in the hopes of gaining a seat at the infamous proceedings. From time to time scuffles would break out on the courtroom steps as people jockeyed to attend the drama as it unfolded.