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. David M. Ginsberg

    I am sick of the second guessing going on as I type. Do you think the lack of real evidence could have contributed to the verdict? That is rhetorical. I called this on my blog on June 12.

    David GInsberg. My Blog: http://usa-china-international.blogspot.com/

    July 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Roxana

    This is just sad, I hope our justice system is now well aware of the fact that they just gave a great big "ok" for people who are just as sick and twisted as this family to be able to commit such heinous crimes.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MollycoddledForever

    The most striking irony in the Casey case is that Casey received leniency at home all her life, which turned her into a sociopath, and even after committing murder, she is still the recipient of leniency.
    That the jury didn't aim for at least a deadlock, suggests they may have been in a hurry to get out or wanted a striking verdict that they could milk for books etc. We shall see,

    July 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Inger

      I couldn't agree with you more! The Jury sold out..they wanted to go home more then anything. They weren't interested in justice, the only justice they could think of at that point was for them to be able to go home!

      July 6, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. sharon

    7/5/11 6:35 p.m.
    I"m glad for Casey, which i knew from the beginning that she had a problem. it was not the trial it was abuse and no one was paying attention to her. a little girl with a big problem and no one in which she could trust. things going on in the family and a child which she loves very much is missing and put on trial before a body was found (civil rights). she should not have to do anymore time. "TIME SERVED" sorry!!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie Weir


      July 5, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Inger

      You're not as sorry as the child killed for no reason... yes, she had a problem alright..abused or not..she had a problem lying that even killing was an good alternative in hopes that she could keep those lies a secret. You need to wake up to reality and not give people that kill a free pass. You are irresponsible and dumb as well... (well, I don't know you, maybe you can't help being that dumb)

      July 6, 2011 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
    • kim

      i was abused as a child also, however i have not killed my two children, if anything i am overprotective of them!

      July 6, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • liz

      RE: kim and Inger
      what does guilty beyond a reasonable doubt mean to you???
      As an abused child myself...didn’t make me kill my two kids...bla bla.... And Casey DID NOT MURDER HER! she is NOT A KILLER. EVERYONE that’s says she is, is stating an opinion. The FACT is that she is NOT GUILTY. take it in ladies... NOT GUILTY. I only hope you never will be judged the way you are judging her.

      July 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. vanoverwater

    Really? A search for shovel?

    July 5, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Inger

      But did you hear those most important words that clued us in? a stone cold "surpise, surprise!' she said...to her child being dead

      July 6, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. darc_coll

    I believe the justice system worked just as it should have in this case. Obviously 12 intelligent jurers couldn't find her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Opinions shouldn't put people in prison. What a corupt world that would be.

    July 5, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      It would have had to be 12 "intelligent" jurors whom hadn't heard about the case in the three years before the trial. If they knew about the case beforehand then they would have been disqualified, but think what type of people would have had to be found that never knew about this case before asked to serve on the jury for it....

      July 6, 2011 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. strmbrjim

    all the people on the jury are on drugs all that was said in open court was evidence enough for a conviction but got away with murder just remember we all someday face our maker i can put my head on my pillow at night and sleep like a baby its just sad no justice for caylee sad really sad

    July 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lee Bachman-Ridlen

    Im very upset that we may never find out what happened to Caylee....Ive been waiting almost 3 yrs for today...Im so sad that little Caylee got no justice....I pray for her and that she is at peace.....Judgement will come for her mark my words.....Thanks Nancy for all you do....Amen

    July 5, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Inger

      I agree with you, however what we do know is that what happened is that she ended up killed! Just because the DNA was no longer there to trace, still made it obvious that the mother killed the daughter... THe jurors wanted to home and settled and sold out..they wanted out of there and not spend anymore time not even reviewing anything.. In 6 hours (deliberations) as a Jury you barely get to the point settling in how you're going to conduct deliberation arguments and disagreements, they didn't even take time to ask for items of testimoney and other items to be brought to be reviewed.. They just had discussions on how to get out of there the fastest!

      July 6, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Yours4Ever

    Wow the jurors must have been on crack or something!!! Poor little girl, but I know we all will get what we deserve on the other side!!!

    July 6, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tracy

    We have to accept verdicts. If they had came back in the same amountof time with guilty then everyone would be ok. this verdict makes all the experts and body language people on all the tv shows look like fools. you never know whata jury is going to do but 12 people very quickly came back with not guilty. so quickly in fact it was probably 9-3 or 10-2 to acquit at first straw vote. Now , can someone please get this woman Tony's number ??

    July 6, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Maurice Belanger

    Good verdict. Here´s why. The intent to cover up Caylee´s death was not even (in cold blood) previously planned. All the moves and the lies were so un-aticulate it could only be the result of panic. In fact, I consider the mother and the grandfather as the victims of desperation caused by the tragedy. I tend to think they felt guilty of not having supervised the child that day. I can only imagine the horror of hauling the body in that car. Not too smart. And this is what panic is... The mother´s partying can not be the expression of relief, or jubilation. Logically, she knew it will eventualy surface that the child was dead (or dissapeared). Please let´s put aside the media-frenzy passion, and let´s be logical ! !

    July 6, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Jessica R.

      I agree w/this post; unfortunately, I ONLY agree w/it pertaining to the 1st degree murder charge. There is no way she should have been given a not guilty verdict for the other charges. Everyone wants to say the cause of death wasn't proven; however, her defense was the child drown and her and her father covered it up. Let's say that's the true story. If her or her father thought the child had drowned they were not medical examiners to make that call (similar to how you are exclaiming people shouldn't base her 1st degree murder charge on our emotions) Let's say she was still alive and just unconscious. Either way, they should have called an ambulance, the police, someone. Panic or not, the fact they didn't make any attempt to call and put the child in a trunk to dispose of the body is neglect, a form of abuse. If the child were alive, then they caused the death. If the child were dead, they neglected to do anything, other than try to cover up the accident. In my eyes, either scenario is grounds for a conviction of Aggravated Manslaughter and/or Aggravated Child Abuse...both of which she received not-guilty verdits for and it makes no sense.

      July 6, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Maurice Belanger

    Logically, she knew it would be known WHEN the child ...

    July 6, 2011 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Inger

      Where the heck have you been during the whole trial and how did you dream up this outlandish philosophy. that is totally without basis and you are good at writing fairy tales! Were you one of those Jury members?(Probably!)

      July 6, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. Inger

    The Jurors sold out..they wanted to go home and have decided the only way to do this was not look at any items pertaining to the trial anymore.. they wanted to go hom and SOLD OUT. I just sat through a two week trial on a Malpractice case and that discussion came up..basically everyone is more interested in going home then instead of reviewing the case and (more time..) to make the right decision. By settling for a "not quilty" and getting to go home, they'd decided they would feel no quilt over the verdict and they wanted out of there. With our case, only 2 of us held out and were true to our convictions/others were more interested on being on the same page so they could go home! I know for a fact those conversations happen and that is the only logical reason why they came to a decision so QUICK and the wrong decision at that. I doubt this ends well here, somebody else is going to end up bearing serious consequesces of this rediculous verdict still.. I betcha.. I feel sad that there was no justice for the baby girl and now it shows the world that not only does our justice system stink.. but also in America it is easy to commit murder and get away with it? Great! Right now I am ashamed of our justice system but have had a too recent taste of it while "serving" Jury duty to not be any longer in a position to be able to deny this. Jurors can't even see that only because the body was not found for so long DNA was no longer traceable.. therefore she was able to get off, people disputed the expert witnesses and only relied on their own ability to reason this through, which did not add up for these Jurors to a whole lot of IQ on that panel

    July 6, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. rudy

    the jury did theyre job justice was done NOT GUILTY i am happy for casey i hope she can find some answers that were not found god bless and take care.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Inger

      One thing is for sure..God will not bless her or anybody else that breaks His commandments. She is looking forward to being a castaway from society for the rest of her life!

      July 6, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. demi

    someone please tell me did she ever answer these questions ...

    how did the baby end up in a swamp ?
    why did she wait so long to report the baby ?
    wth did she lie about zanny the nanny ?

    July 6, 2011 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
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