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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Filed under: Casey Anthony • Crime • TV-In Session • TV-Nancy Grace
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Roxanne

    I can't believe you people who believe Casey didn't MURDER her daughter... Did serve on the OJ trail as well !!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mikegreen

    I'm glad they found her not guilty.... wait wait before you try to hack my email and come with you pitch forks and torches.Maybe this is what we need... maybe now detectives will do their jobs correctly.. and not give a prosecution team a garbage case and hope to win it on a leap of faith and emotional conviction and by law the jury got it right ... no murder weapon no way to place casey at the scene. no dna or forensic evidence she carried out a murder.. but best of all they didn't even have a cause of death for all we know she did drown... or got chloroformed ...or smothered by a pillow or drank some bleach... or maybe casey left her in the car and she died from heat exposure... she how many maybes there are... i feel bad that this young child died and do i think it was avoidable... YES... do I think casey caused it YES... do i think she murdered her child...I DON'T KNOW... and thats why she was found not guilty

    July 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Whatsinaname

    I think she did it, but the prosecution could not prove it in court. No DNA evidence.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luis

      This is ridiculous and upsetting the prosecution did not do its job the defense sounds horribly stupid.. I mean what in the hell her family background has to do with this case? Its about convicting a neglecting irresponsible parent her behind bars. Sad case poor prosecution and a walking free criminal is outcome of this case.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mikegreen

    jeff ashton retires!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Roxanne

    I fully agree with travelbug99. Shame on us!! I'm really impressed with a two year old who put three pieces of duct tape on her face, put herself in the bag and then had no fear of putting herself in her grave. Thats how the must of seen it. I hope all of them go straight to hell.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ron

    She got away with murder ,and will be free now to make a pile of money on talk shows ,ect. she will also be free to go back to her night clubs,bars,mens bedrooms ,and drink the night away . just like she did while her daughter laid rottening in a swamp,lying that she was with a baby sitter. when told at jail her baby was found dead,she said surpise ,surpise. what a caring response from a mother. sickning ,those jurers will have to live with letting a murderer free ,who killed her 2 yr old baby . Evil ,only gets stronger in this country,from our terrible leaders, on down to the bottom ,like this terrible injustice.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikegreen

      did you see her commit murder .... if so you should have been on the stand telling

      July 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ron

    Her and Oj can write a book now,how to commit murder and get away with it. Just hope she gets what she gave her baby daughter. She will forever be looked at as a murderer no matter where she goes.Only bleeding heart ,carpet munching liberals will love her.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ron

    Dear bleeding heart mikegreen ,the universe goes on forever .some things you dont have to see to know ,unless your blind or moron. you must be the moron,dont have to see you to konow that.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Snarky

    @banasy Lite:

    Lame.
    Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't post that.
    Nice try, troll.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Snarky

    And I am getting Snarky, because I can't use f – off as my username.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Byrnie

    Today I am ashamed of our justice system. I hope the people who aided in this defense,Casey,and Cindy are proud of rejoicing over the fact that a baby killer went free. What was the accident that snow balled out of control. That she drowned in the family pool or that Casey accidently overdosed her and then lied for 31 days. My grandson walked ahead of me and I couldn't see him for half a second and started screaming his name until I saw him. She did not behave like a grieving mother. We all know the story and her behavior is all the proof I need. Cindy Anthony has always lied for this girl and perjured herself on the stand for her. There is no excuse for lying,stealing,or killing. Cindy Anthony should be charged with perjury. And what know, is this family going to try and find out who killed this precious little girl. Is Casey going to spend the rest of her life trying to find out what happened to her daughter like any normal Mother would. Once again shamefully lying has paid off and honesty was made a mockery of. I'm absolutely disgusted. Hey Cindy, so much for lying to make everyone think you had the picture perfect family. May God have mercy on all you souls. And Lee, thank you for being one of the most honest family members. God bless you and may you have a wonderful life. I of course would think twice before introducing any of your children to your family if or when you have them.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Inger

      lets hope Cindy still gets perjury charges....
      And why aren't all of them charged with obstruction of justice? They only call that lying to lawofficers? Crazy.........

      July 6, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. scbrown

    so tell me this....if it were an accident..why duct tape her mouth..wrap in a blanket...put in her a black garbage bag and toss her in a swamp...rather than call 911????????????????

    July 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Snarky

    @scbrown:
    Exactly!
    Word.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Wayupnorth

    I can't believe it is ok to say your child is missing for a month and you did not call the police or your parents/family and tell anyone!
    Way to go justice...that in itself admits guilt. I lost my child in a mall once for 3 hours..she was 2 or 3 and they shut the place down, called the police. I was devastated and I called my family immediately. It was the worst moment of my life. I think this is the second worst moment of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. shelly

    U will pay for what u have done casey. Ur r a disgrace to all mothers . i hope caylee r.i.p. and god hold u in his arm forever

    July 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
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