Defense: Caylee Anthony Drowned In Swimming Pool

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.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • G. Hurt, Jr.

    Self-serving hoe needs to die for her actions

    • Joe


  • BVC

    If she’s guilt in killing her daughter, she deserves the Death Penalty. How can people do harm to an innocent child and go through life without feeling any kind of remorse. They are not HUMANS.

    • James

      So many people want the death penalty. This is an easy out. I say let her rot in jail for the rest of her life. That has to get old after a few weeks. She’ll be in a living hell.

  • Joesr

    She will get what she deserves. Pray for Caylee.

  • Nina

    Even if Cayley’s death was an accident,if panic cased Casey lie lie lie,due to what ever reasons she had,the point is she put that child in garbage bags with duct tape over her mouth and threw her out in the swamp…She will never walk away from this…She will die in prison and thats where she belongs for the cruel inhuman way she ended Caylee’s life.Her defense can make any excuses for Casey they choose to,but there is the true fact Caylee was gagged with duct tape,double bagged and tossed in the woods as though she was nothing but a piece of trash..What excuse can be given for such a cruel horrible way to end a child’s life…There isnt one…There will be justice in the end and Caylee’s voice will be heard….Casey will rot in prison and even that isnt enough for her….She sits and cries for herself now….She is a horrible person and her day is right around the corner…..

  • estrella

    There are no words to describe this tragedy. Caley was the victim of having a mother that cared more about her partying than her daughter.I don’t believe she will get the death penalty, but she will get prison for the rest of her days without the possibility of parole, and that is just fine with me. Hope she lives to be 100.

  • Phyliss June Rinis Myers

    I would cry too if I knew I could get the death penalty. I agree with estrella. Death penalty is easy way out. She should get life with no parole so she can suffer in jail.

  • R. Hy

    The defendant’s Lawyer did his homework. He has the police and the investigators looking stupid!! There are too many mistakes and hidden information that was not reported. I believe she will found not guilty and I had believed all along that she was guilty. This is the reason we have trials, this case was tried in the media. If I was on the jury, I would have to find her not guilty, due to all the mistakes made in this case.

  • Leroy

    Crackers kill they babeez!

    • Tom

      Uh, I agree sir. You are bizarre.

      Sincerely, A Cracker

  • mb

    What about her diary that proves premeditation!This is just a cover story they cooked up its not going to work.The whole family is messed up,but murder is murder she will not seduce her way out of this.Duct tape on mouth yeah accidental drowning.Chloriphorm information explain that Baez!

  • GINA

    No way jose your a liar too she intentally killed her!

  • Chucky...

    Uh, guys, that’s pretty fast and loose with the hang ’em high rhetoric.

    This isn’t the Salem witch trials, or an 1800’s lynch mob, hell-bent on breakin’ the accused out of the sheriff’s jail house just to rush-to-judgement at the end of a hangman’s noose.

    It’s a courtroom in the U.S., and in the 21st century.

    If the kid did in fact drown, by accident, then it’s a whole different story. What convened after the accident speaks to an abject lack of character, not murder.

    • Carso

      Agree 100%. Nor is this the French Revolution where people were sent to the guillotine without justification. Let the jury decide there is a reason we have this process!!

  • Glam

    The theory Caylee drowned was not new it makes sense,it always has. People react abnormaly to such traumas her dad is also a creep. She had this tough girl thing going on but I feel like she was hideing deep pain from the abuse. They need to sort out the drama and do a full investigation on George since Flordia has no limitations on his type of crime.

  • Crystal

    I think Casey Anthony is 100% GUILTY the little girl did not deserve to die. Why did you have a kid if ur gonna kill her two yrs later. That’s just wrong RIP caylee.

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