The Orlando, Fla., jury in the murder trial of Casey Anthony began deliberations Monday as the case entered its seventh week with no break for the Fourth of July holiday.
Casey Anthony, 25, would face the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree murder in the June 16, 2008, death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Casey chose not to testify on her own behalf.
The prosecution presented a case built on circumstantial evidence that paints the picture of a young woman who viewed motherhood as such a burden on her partying lifestyle that she killed her daughter.
The defense has argued, however, that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool and has called for jurors to acquit Casey based on a lack of concrete evidence linking her to the toddler’s death.
CASEY ANTHONY, THE DEFENDANT
Casey, 25, is accused of smothering Caylee with duct tape, hiding the toddler’s body in her car trunk for days and then dumping the remains in a wooded area. Her lawyers have argued that Caylee drowned accidentally in a backyard swimming pool. Casey’s behavior in the weeks after Caylee went missing has been a key focus for the prosecution. She was seen partying at clubs, shopping for clothes and getting a tattoo. Police also said Casey lied to them several times during their investigation.
CAYLEE ANTHONY, THE VICTIM
Caylee went missing June 16, 2008, but was not reported missing until 31 days later. Her remains were not discovered until December 2008. Casey had told family members and investigators that Caylee was taken by a nanny and that she had spent a month searching for her daughter.
GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY’S DAD
The defense has accused George, 59, of knowing that Caylee had drowned and helping Casey to dispose of the body. Casey was taught to lie for her father after years of him sexually abusing her, Casey’s lawyers argued. George Anthony has denied knowing how Caylee died and that he molested Casey. Judge Belvin Perry would not allow the molestation charges to be discussed during the defense’s closing arguments yesterday.
CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY’S MOM
Cindy, 52, reported Caylee missing during a 911 call on July 16, 2008. Cindy later called 911 again after finding Casey’s car, saying, “It smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.” But Cindy also testified that she searched for the term “chloroform” on the family computer, in an effort to determine if her sick dog might have been chewing on a plant that produces a natural form of the anesthetic. Prosecutors had suggested that Casey searched for the term in order to use the drug in Caylee’s murder.
Roy Kronk: The former meter reader testified that he reported to 911 that he spotted a skull in the woods in August 2008, but investigators did not find Caylee’s remains until Kronk called again in December. The defense has suggested that Kronk might have moved the body.
Krystal Holloway: Holloway claims she and George had an affair and that he told her Caylee died in an “accident that snowballed out of control.” George has denied having a romantic relationship with Holloway or telling her about Caylee’s death.
Tony Lazzaro: Casey’s former fiance testified that the accused child killer moved in with him during the month after Caylee went missing. She never mentioned to him that her daughter had disappeared, he said.
Dr. Werner Spitz: The forensic expert performed a second autopsy on Caylee and said the initial examination was “shoddy,” most notably that Caylee’s skull was not opened. The first autopsy did not determine a cause of death.
Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez: Fernandez Gonzalez was the name of the nanny whom Casey accused of kidnapping Caylee. Police later determined no one with that name had ever lived at the apartment complex where Casey claimed to have dropped off her daughter.
Lee Anthony: Casey’s older brother testified that his sister was evasive at first when he pressed her about Casey’s whereabouts. Casey claimed Caylee was kidnapped by the babysitter only after Lee told her that their mother had called the police. The defense even suggested Lee might have been Caylee’s father, but Perry ruled that the issue was irrelevant. The identity of Caylee’s father remains a mystery.