Florida v. Casey Anthony: A look back at evidence and testimony
July 5th, 2011
05:22 PM ET

Florida v. Casey Anthony: A look back at evidence and testimony

A Florida jury on Tuesday found Casey Anthony not guilty in the 2008 death of her daughter, Caylee. Here's a look back at highlights from 33 days and more than 100 witnesses in the trial of the year:

Week 1: As Casey Anthony murder trial begins, mysteries remain

The case of Florida v. Casey Marie Anthony began with both sides summing up their versions of what they believed the evidence would show. From the prosecution, jurors heard a timeline of the defendant's activities before her mother reported Caylee missing: parties, drinking and sleepovers with men.

Those days included getting a tattoo, participating in a "hot body" contest at an Orlando club, many Caylee-free nights at her then-boyfriend Anthony Lazzaro's apartment and many, many lies, the prosecution said.

"No one else benefited from the death of Caylee Marie Anthony," said assistant state attorney Linda Drane-Burdick in her opening statement. "Caylee's death allowed Casey to live a good life, at least for those 31 days."

From the defense, jurors were presented with an image of loving mother, whose dysfunctional family forced her to live in a state of denial. They argued the family held dark secrets, including that Casey was sexually abused by her father and brother.

The defense also revealed their theory of the case: Caylee drowned in the family pool as the result of what Baez called "an accident that snowballed out of control." He said it was an accident to which Casey's father, George Anthony, was privy. Baez said George Anthony tried to cover up the drowning at Casey's expense.

Week 2: Jury learns of Casey Anthony's web of falsehoods

The jury heard detailed stories from her mother, her brother and finally, Anthony herself, of her business trips to Tampa and visits to an old flame that later proved to be false. Through recordings of Anthony's police interviews, jailhouse visits and a 911 call, the silent woman at the defense table finally spoke.

Throughout the conversations, one sentiment is conveyed to Anthony again and again: Stop lying, or face the worst of consequences.

Testimony earlier in the trial, which began last week in Orlando, Florida, revealed that Anthony lied to her parents and avoided them for 31 days in the summer of 2008 while Caylee was supposedly missing. This week, jurors learned more about what Anthony told her parents during that time and what she was actually doing.

Week 3: Caylee's death is presented in vivid, graphic detail

Week 3 of the trial began with forensic testimony about how someone searched for "chloroform" and "neck-breaking" on the computer in the home Anthony shared with her parents in Orange County. By Thursday, panelists were fully immersed in the physical reality of the 2-year-old's death: bones, decomposition, odor and all.

The prosecution called key forensic witnesses, who described in graphic detail, the state of Caylee's remains when she was found in a wooded area on December 11, 2008, six months after she went missing.

Despite objections from the defense, jurors saw a video in which images of Caylee's skull and the duct tape found across the front of it at the scene were superimposed over a photo of a Caylee alive, smiling, with her mother.

The prosecution argued the video showed how the duct tape could have covered both Caylee's nose and mouth, while the defense argued it was only designed to appeal to juror emotions.

Week 4: Emotions high as defense takes wheel in Anthony trial

Three years to the day that, according to testimony, Caylee Anthony was last seen alive, a group of trial followers released balloons in Caylee's honor. One of the participants, David Wood, cried as he lamented over how as he put it anyone could hurt a child.

Inside the courthouse, the focus shifted to the defense case. Anthony's lawyers called forensic anthropologist Werner Spitz, who testified that he believed the tape found on Caylee Anthony's skull was placed there long after the body had decomposed. He also said the tape could have been an effort to keep the jaw bone attached so the body could be moved.

Spitz also criticized the Orange County medical examiner, Dr. Jan Garavaglia, for not opening Caylee's skull when he examined the remains. Failing to do so, he said, resulted in a "shoddy autopsy."

Week 5: Anthony's defense works to weaken alleged ties to crime

The defense continued its efforts to cast doubt on evidence presented by the prosecution. Cindy Anthony testified that she, not Casey, searched for "chloroform" on the Anthony family computer in March of 2008.

Earlier in the trial, computer experts testifying for the prosecution said someone in the Anthony home made searches for "chloroform," "how to make chloroform," "neck breaking" and "shovel," among other terms. Prosecutors alleged the searches proved premeditation and that records showed Casey Anthony was the only one who could have made the searches.

Cindy Anthony said she began by searching "chlorophyll," because she feared her dogs were getting sick from eating plants in the yard.

"Both the dogs would eat the bamboo leaves in the back so I started looking up sources from the back yard that could potentially cause her to be more sleepy," Cindy Anthony said. "I started looking up chloroform - I mean chlorophyll and then that prompted me to look up chloroform."

Jurors also heard testimony intended to rebut the state's key forensic evidence. Botanist Jane Bock testified that leaf debris found in and on the defendant's Pontiac Sunfire was not consistent with the leaves at the place where the body was found. She also testified to the defense's theory that the body had been moved, saying it could have been at the spot where it was found for as little as two weeks. Under cross examination, she said that it could have been there much longer.

Week 6: Drama marks final week of testimony

The defense wrapped up its case last Thursday after calling to the stand every member of the Anthony family this week except for Casey. She only made a cameo when she personally addressed the judge to answer one of the trial's biggest questions - whether she would testify. She declined the opportunity to testify in her defense.

The week came to a close Friday with the state's rebuttal case. Witnesses included Cindy Anthony's former supervisor, who testified company records show Cindy Anthony was at work during the times the defendant's mother claims she was searching for "chlorophyll" on the family computer. Earlier, a computer forensics expert had testified that he found searches for "chloroform" among the computer's deleted files, but no searches for "chlorophyll."

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soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Courtney

    A piece of advice to some of you. If you can not put together a sentence concisely, so that english speaking americans can read it, you should not be on a message board calling others dumb, stupid or anything. Most people think their opinions are the only opinions that matter. You think she did it so she did it. What makes you think you know everything, and these jurors who sat in that court room day in and day out, listened to every piece of evidence (or lack thereof), and suffered through the talk of a murdered child got it wrong? These jurors did not get it wrong. The prosecution screwed up. The prosecution case was flawed, there was no real evidence and speculation amounts to an opinion and everyone has one of those. There is no way, a jury could ask this young girl to give up her life based on what the prosecution thought happened when they had no smoking gun. These people aren't dumb, they just did not have the evidence to convict. You're mad? Vote better.

    July 6, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sara

      I agree. The jury was well within the instructions given to them by the judge. The prosecution did not provide enough evidence. They could not provide the jury a cause of death. Was it Casey's actions that prevented the evidence from existing? Maybe. It's unfortunate but you cannot blame the jury for doing their job.

      July 6, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Anna

    If the jury had listened to the Judge when he explained reasonable doubt and had considered the actions of Casey alone and not if her parents told any lies and the actions of her parents then justice might could have been found. It is a shame that a parent can go to jail for disciplining their child but will go free if they murder them. I do not see how people can say the evidence to convict was not there. I watched the whole trial and all I saw was evidence to convict. The JURY JUST WANTED TO GO HOME AND DID NOT CARE ABOUT LITTLE CAYLEE!

    July 6, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Orland

    I feel that the father staged it up also being that he was a cop know what to do so he hooked up with this girl to say that it went snowball out of controll i feel that the teamed up together to make the juror confused in this him and his wife both did this to safe his daughther life how come she can still sit by him in court they are a slick family that is my thoughts how else can they thing of it something had to be done fast and he knew that this would work confuse them in court that it was an accident saying it but not really saying it so the word could get out there and the wife does not care that he slept with her for this reason as long as it was for to get there daugher off and it was like a job for him to do that is what they looked at it to be. And as for the girlfriend she does not know that she was sit up in this that is why he dump her so fast.

    July 7, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Marc F

    Did anyone beside attorney Baez testify that Caycee drowned? From the reports, it appears that Baez was able to present the alternative cause of death (drowning) without any actual testimony from any witnesses, including Caylee. I am correct in this?

    July 7, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Margroks

    It makes no sense for them to have covered up the body if she drowned. Why would they want to do that? If it was an accident, why not just admit it? What would they gain by covering it up? And saying, well, they were dysfunctional doesn't explain that, not to mention that the defense had no evidence that George ever abused her or anyone else. That was totally made up by Casey based upon another inmate's like sounding story. THe so-called anthropoligist didn't say why he thought the duct tape had been added later-by what criteria did he decide this? Physical criteria, that is.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. marie

    Mob mentality is scary! This case is the very definition for "reasonable doubt". Her child was never missing and yet people keep going on about how someone would not report a missing child, it's insanity. It's quite possible the child did drown or the father did something and made his daughter think she drowned to cover up something else. If he blamed her then took control of covering it up everything makes sense. She is living at home and would defer to her father in such a moment. It was Biaz that put the timeline out for everyone to see, it was the state who gave false testimony about the 80 some searches when it was only 1 or 2, etc, etc. There is an 85% conviction rate now likely to go to 90% no one will will want to serve jury duty. The judge was another prosecutor it amazes me that there was a fair verdict at all.

    July 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Linh Quach

      She was never missing bc she was MURDERED....

      July 13, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. anonemouse

    This is so wrong. She got away with murder. She looked up how to kill the child, then did it. cadaver dogs dont lie! She is evil. She could haave giuventhe kid to her Grandmother who seems to be the only one who cared for that poor baby. There was no justice for that baby; I at least hope there is peace. I also hope Karma gets her bimbo mother back for what she did.

    August 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Ellen

    Come on Casey! Who other than you would have put the red sticker on Caleys mouth. THAT was your downfall !...and everyone knows it !I hope you rot in HELL!

    June 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. dazzle ©

    When is the media going to STOP revisiting this case. As a former resident of Florida and a mother who raised a daughter there sometimes on her own, this case sickens me. Enough said!

    June 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. JESS

    It's obvious everyone involved lied and no real story was brought forward or found. The only obvious thing was that she killed her daughter.

    July 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Anne

    It is really sad what the world has come to. She killed her damn kid. And somehow gets away scotch free? There shouldn't be any mercy for the dead beat parents of the world, karma will come back around though. People like that, that live without an ounce of remorse or guilt-get theirs. I'm glad she has to live in hiding and watch her step, she should. She should feel and walk the world feeling absolutely unsafe and frightened.

    July 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    July 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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