On Tuesday, July 5th, a jury found Orlando resident Casey Anthony, not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse. Despite the shock that the jury’s decision had on the nation, Anthony did not get off scot-free. She was found guilty of four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor in Florida.
Casey Anthony was charged with murder in the death of her two year old daughter, Caylee, who disappeared in June 2008. It wasn’t the child’s mother who reported her missing, but rather her grandmother, Cindy Anthony. When the missing person’s report was filed in July, Casey Anthony admitted that her daughter had been missing for 31 days. She later claimed that Caylee had been kidnapped by a nanny, a tale quickly disproven. Other lies of Anthony’s included a fictional position at Universal Studios, from which she had actually been fired from years earlier.
Caylee Anthony’s body was found on December 11th, 2008, in some woods near where the Anthony family lived. Casey Anthony was subsequently arrested and charged with felony murder, aggravated manslaughter, aggravated child abuse, and four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. Prosecutors later announced that if she was found guilty, they would seek the death penalty.
During the trial, allegations were made that Casey’s father, George Anthony, and her brother, Lee, had made sexual advances towards her. The latter was even given a paternity test to see if he had fathered Caylee. However, no evidence to support these claims was brought forward, so the defense couldn’t bring it up in their closing arguments. Another theory put forward was that Caylee Anthony had drowned in her family’s pool and that George Anthony had subsequently hidden the body to cover up the child’s accidental death.
While many contend that the not guilty verdict is an outrage, some, including prosecutors around the country, state that the circumstantial nature of the prosecution’s case carries the risk of this outcome. The prosecution’s case rested largely on Casey Anthony’s behavior subsequent to her daughter’s disappearance and Caylee Anthony’s dead body. Though the medical examiner had ruled the manner of death to be homicide, the cause of death remained undetermined due to the body’s decomposition. Other evidence included proof that the body had been in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s impounded car, items found near the body were the same as items owned by the Anthony family, and Google searches on Casey Anthony’s computer, which included “neck breaking”, “how to make chloroform”, and “death”. The jury determined that, while suspicious, none of this evidence proved that Casey Anthony had actually murdered her daughter.
Casey Anthony remains in jail, seeking to have her bail reduced no that she was found not guilty of murder. Her sentencing for the four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer is scheduled for July 7that 9:00 a.m. Each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in the county jail, but Given that Anthony has spent three years in jail awaiting her trial for the murder charge, many believe she will be released with credit for time served. Charges may also be brought against her father, George Anthony, for the child’s death, but that remains to be seen.