ORLANDO, Fla. -- No witnesses saw what happened to 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, and only her killer knows exactly how she died. No one has confessed. So when her mother, Casey Anthony, goes to trial today on murder charges, the jury's decision is likely to come down to forensic evidence.
Prosecutors plan to have jurors smell the odor in her car, present evidence of chloroform in the 1998 Pontiac Sunfire and present photos that they say show her partying with friends after her daughter disappeared. They also are likely to seek testimony from a botanist, a hair and fiber examiner from an FBI lab, and a cadaver dog handler.
Anthony's defense attorneys plan to present testimony from an expert in the new field of touch DNA, an entomologist and Dr. Henry Lee, a famous forensics expert who worked on the O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and JonBenet Ramsey cases.
"It is going to be a battle of experts," said Karin Moore, a law professor at Florida A&M University in Orlando. "They don't have a confession. They don't have an eyewitness. They don't have direct evidence. They are relying on forensic science that is circumstantial, at best."
Opening statements were set for today following a marathon 11 days of jury selection in Clearwater, Fla. Jurors were picked outside Orlando because of publicity surrounding the case, and they will be sequestered.
Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with first-degree murder. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death. She also is charged with aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and providing false information to law enforcement. She has pleaded not guilty and has said a baby-sitter kidnapped Caylee.
Caylee was reported missing in July 2008. The girl's decomposed remains were found five months later in woods not far from where she lived with her mother and grandparents. The medical examiner could not determine how Caylee died.
Anthony waited a month before telling her mother that Caylee had disappeared, and only after Anthony's parents, George and Cindy, recovered from the towing lot a car with a foul odor that Casey Anthony had been driving the past month.
When Cindy Anthony called 911 to report her granddaughter missing, she told the dispatcher, "There's something wrong. I found my daughter's car today and it smells like there has been a dead body in the damn car." That odor will be a key element during trial.