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Casey Anthony Acquitted Of Murder

Casey Anthony Acquitted Of Murder

Associated Press

July 05, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Casey Anthony escaped the death penalty after she was today cleared of the brutal murder of her two-year-old daughter Caylee.

The 25-year-old mother was found not guilty of drugging her young daughter, suffocating her and dumping her body in overgrown woodland after a sensational six-week trial, which has seen a family torn about by accusations of rape and incest.

The jury – five men and seven women – read out their guilty verdict in court in Orlando, Florida.

The trial of the young mother accused of killing her own daughter before dumping her body in woods close to her house has captivated the country, producing some of the most sensational scenes inside and outside U.S. courts hearings in recent decades.

Fights broke outside the court room as people queued to watch the case and a court house spectator was jailed for six days for contempt of court after he gestured at the prosecution.

As tension built in the courtroom, both attorneys were threatened with being kicked off the case by the judge and proceedings were stopped after the defence claimed that Anthony was not mentally competent to continue.

The Florida mother was accused of brutally murdering her two-year-old daughter, drugging her with chloroform before suffocating the innocent child by sealing her mouth and nose with duct tape.

She then spun an astonishingly complex web of lies to cover her tracks as she partied for a month, celebrating freedom from the burden of parenthood, before she eventually reported her daughter missing.

But some of the most dramatic scenes have come from watching her family torn apart as they accuse each other of rape, incest, adultery and murder.

Anthony was contesting seven charges including first-degree murder. The not guilty verdict means that even if she will not face the death penalty

She was also charged with aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to law enforcement. The child abuse and manslaughter charges each carry a 30-year prison term.

The prosecution argued that Anthony used chloroform to knock out her daughter and then put three pieces of duct tape over her nose and mouth, suffocating the toddler.

They claimed that Anthony drove around for several days with Caylee’s body in her car trunk and then dumped the remains in woods near the Anthony family home.

Caylee was last seen on June 16 2008 when Anthony left the family home with her daughter, but it was not until a month later that police were notified that she was missing.

Evidence during the six weeks of testimony showed that Anthony lied to friends and family for a month about Caylee’s whereabouts while she spent time hanging out with her boyfriend, dancing at nightclubs, shopping and getting tattoos.

The single mother told her parents a complex series of lies for why they could they could not see Caylee, including that the girl was with a nanny named Zanny, that she and her daughter were spending time in Jacksonville with a rich boyfriend and that Zanny had been hospitalised after an out-of –town accident and they were spending time with her.

Finally on July 15 after hearing her daughter’s car had been towed, Cindy Anthony confronted Anthony and called 911 to report her daughter missing.

In in a distressed call she told the operator that her granddaughter had been missing for a month and that she had found her daughter’s car that days and ‘it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.’

When Anthony got on the phone, she claimed that her nanny, Zenairda Fernandez-Gonazalez, who was later shown not to exist, had taken Caylee.

She said that she had not reported her missing sooner because she was trying to find her herself, which she admitted was ‘stupid’.

The kidnap claim triggered a national search for the toddler and on October 14 2008 Anthony was indicted for murder.

Then on December 11 2008 the search for Caylee ended when her skeletal remains were found in woods with duct tape hanging for her skull.

But the most shocking revelations came on the first day of her murder trial on May 5, when in the defence’s opening statement, lawyer Jose Baez dropped a bombshell, claiming that Caylee was never missing, but had accidentally drowned in the Anthony’s pool on June 16.

He accused George Anthony of sexually abusing his daughter as a child, and suggested the dysfunctional relationship explained Anthony’s behaviour after Caylee’s death, which he acknowledged as ‘bizarre’ and ‘inappropriate’.

He said that Mr Anthony has a role in disposing the body and bullied his daughter, who he had abused from aged eight, into keeping it all secret. A claim Mr Anthony denies.

The judge ruled that no evidence of sexual abuse was presented and prohibited both sides from mentioning the issue in their closing arguments, but Mr Baez maintained that the family was dysfunctional.

Throughout the trial, the public has become fascinated by every move of Anthony as they try to decide could this woman have killed her own two-year-old daughter.

But on day 32 of the trial, as the defence team rested its case, Anthony herself told the judge that she would not be taking to the witness stand.

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