Defense attorney Jose Baez and his client, Casey Anthony, react after the jury acquitted her of murdering her daughter, …Casey Anthony was acquitted of murder today in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, who disappeared three years ago.
Anthony, 26, was facing charges of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravating child abuse, and four counts of providing false information to law enforcement. The seven-woman, five-man Florida jury deliberated for almost 11 hours before finding Anthony not guilty of murder, manslaughter, or child abuse. She was found guilty of the four misdemeanor charges of lying to police.
"There are no winners in this case," her defense attorney, Jose Baez, told the media afterward. "Caylee has passed on far, far too soon."
"Casey did not murder Caylee," he added. "It's that simple. And today, our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction."
Anthony began crying when the jury's verdict was read on Tuesday; according to the Associated Press, she hugged her attorney afterward, and a prosecutor shook his head in disbelief. She could have received a death sentence if she had been convicted of first-degree murder, and the child abuse and aggravated manslaughter counts each carried a 30-year jail sentence.
"We're disappointed with the verdict today and surprised because we know the facts and we put in every single piece evidence that existed," Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton said. The six-month delay in recovering the toddler's body was a "considerable disadvantage" to the prosecution's case, he said.Caylee Marie Anthony. (AP Photo/Orange County Sheriff's Office, File)Two-year-old Caylee was last seen on June 16, 2008, but was not reported missing until July 15, 2008. Her mother was charged with first-degree murder in October 2008. Caylee's skeletal remains were found in December 2008, in the woods near her grandparents' house, where Caylee and her mother had been living.
The prosecutors said that the toddler was chloroformed, suffocated with duct tape over her nose and mouth, and left in the trunk of her mother's car for a few days before being dumped in the woods. They painted a picture of her mother as a carefree party girl, pointing out that she got a tattoo saying "beautiful life" in Italian while her daughter was still missing, moved in with a boyfriend, reportedly did not seem anxious or sad about her child, lied to her parents about her daughter's whereabouts and didn't tell people that her toddler was missing. The defense said that the 2-year-old drowned accidentally in the family swimming pool, and that Casey Anthony's odd behavior stemmed from emotional distress caused by sexual abuse by her father, the Associated Press reported.
After 33 days of testimony and more than 400 pieces of evidence, jurors decided that there wasn't enough information to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Casey Anthony killed her child. No physical evidence linked Anthony to traces of chloroform found in the trunk-material recovered from the car could not conclusively be linked to her, either-and a medical examiner wasn't able to determine exactly how the child had died. The defense team also had no proof that Caylee drowned or that Casey Anthony had been molested by her father (he denied the claim).
Anthony will be sentenced later this week; she faces one year in prison for each count of providing false information to law enforcement.
Have you been following the trial? What did you think of the verdict?
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