ORLANDO (CBS4) – The trial for Casey Anthony has adjourned for the day, but not before defense attorneys dropped a bombshell during opening statements on Tuesday.
According to Jose Baez, Caylee, 2, accidentally drowned in the family’s swimming pool. Baez said Caylee and her grandmother swam most of Father’s Day on June 15, 2008, and suggested that Cindy Anthony forgot to pull up a ladder that prevented the toddler from climbing into the pool on her own. Baez suggested that Caylee slipped into the pool the next day when no one was looking.
Baez told the jury on June 16th, Casey and her father George were the only ones home when they realized Caylee was missing. They then began to search for the girl, and it was George who found her in the pool.
Carrying the child’s lifeless body to her mother, Baez said screamed “What have you done” when he found Casey.
The distraught family panicked and didn’t call police, he said.
“Casey should have called 911. That’s what she’s guilty of she’s, not guilty of murder. This is not a murder case,” Baez said.
He also portrayed Casey as a good mother who loved her daughter. He did however explain what Casey and her father did with the girl’s body.
Baez told the jury George Anthony abused his daughter as a child and Casey’s brother made advances toward her and was given a paternity test to see if he was Caylee’s father.
“All those secrets eventually led to the cover up of Caylee’s drowning,” attorney Jose Baez said.
Baez said it was actually Roy Kronk, the former Orange County meter reader who said he found Caylee’s body, who hid it in the woods. What Baez didn’t say was how Kronk got Caylee’s body in the first place.
Baez said George Anthony planted duct tape matching the brand later found over Caylee’s mouth in a way that would implicate Casey.
“George Anthony took certain steps to make sure he was as far away from this situation and that Casey would end up taking the blame for this,” Baez said.
Baez also blamed the police department for botching the investigation, alleging they wanted to feed a media frenzy about a mother killing her child instead of investigating a mundane drowning.
Police “had murder on their minds. This couldn’t be an accident,” Baez said. “You’ll find that professional police work took a backseat in this case. We were more concerned about the public than doing their jobs.”
The first witness to take the stand by the prosecution was George Anthony, mostly like to refute Baez’s opening statement. Initial questions asked of him dealt with how long they’ve lived in Florida, background on the family and when he learned about Casey’s pregnancy in 2005.
Earlier in the morning Casey Anthony cried as prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick described the last day Caylee Anthony was seen by her grandparents. Drane-Burdick portrayed Anthony as a habitual liar, who not only pretended to go to work every day, but constantly lied to her parents about the whereabouts of her daughter.
She then offered a timeline of Casey Anthony’s whereabouts based on cell phone records. The timeline stretched from the time Caylee was last seen by her grandparents on Father’s Day 2008 until her remains were discovered by a meter reader in woods near her home in December 2008.
Drane-Burdick asked jurors, between descriptions of how Casey Anthony spent her days shopping, visiting friends and hanging out with her boyfriend with no signs of her daughter, “Where is Caylee Marie Anthony?”
The prosecutor described Casey Anthony’s appearance as a hardworking single mother as false.
“Casey Anthony … appeared to be … a loving mother, trying to provide support for her daughter,” Drane-Burdick said. “But as the evidence in this case will show, that was an illusion.”
Jurors were shown images on a screen of a photo of Caylee taken on Father’s Day alongside an image of the little girl’s skeletal remains.
Casey Anthony waited a month before telling her mother that Caylee had disappeared, and only after her parents, George and Cindy, recovered from the towing lot a car with a foul odor that Casey Anthony had been driving.
With no eyewitnesses, no confession and no cause of death, the trial will be a battle over forensic evidence.
Prosecutors plan to have jurors smell the odor from her car, present evidence of chloroform in the 1998 Pontiac Sunfire and show photos that purport to show Casey Anthony out partying with friends after her daughter Caylee disappeared.
The jury is expected to hear from more than 300 prosecution and defense witnesses over the course of the next several weeks.
If convicted, Anthony could face the death penalty.
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