ORLANDO (CBS4) – Prosecutors have begun their rebuttal case in the murder trial of Casey Anthony.
The first rebuttal witness Thursday was a crime scene investigator who testified she took photographs of clothing found in the Anthony family’s central Florida home. Court was adjourned for the day in the afternoon, with prosecutors set to continue Friday morning.
The defense rested without Anthony testifying about the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
The central Florida mother did not take the witness stand as the defense wrapped up its case Thursday, leaving claims that Caylee accidentally drowned unsubstantiated.
South Florida Defense Attorney Jeff Weiner told CBS4’s Maggie Newland that having Anthony not testify was a gutsy move by her lawyers.
“The jury, of course, wanted to hear from her. They almost always do in every case. In every criminal case and in this case especially with the accusations that she’s out partying for the entire time that her daughter is missing and probably dead,” said Weiner. ” They want to understand how can a mother behave that way.”
Earlier Thursday, defense attorneys for Casey Anthony, the Orlando 25-year-old woman accused of killing her two- year-old daughter Caylee in 2008, called her parents to the stand again on Thursday.
George and Cindy Anthony were asked about how they had buried various family pets that died.
Lead defense attorney Jose Baez also asked George Anthony him if he buried his pets after their deaths in plastic bags wrapped with duct tape. Anthony said he had on some occasions. Prosecutors have contended Caylee’s body was disposed of in a similar manner. Under prosecution questioning, he said he had never thrown their carcasses in a swamp. Anthony was also asked if he had supplied duct tape he used to put up posters of his granddaughter when she was missing. He said he couldn’t remember.
Cindy Anthony said when she had her dog Mandy put down two decades ago at a vet’s office, when she went to pick it up the animal’s body was wrapped in plastic and sealed with packing tape.
Before the Anthony’s were called to the stand, the defense called Krystal Holloway who claimed she had an affair with George Anthony. Holloway testified that he told her at one point that Caylee’s death was an accident which snowballed out of control. George Anthony has denied making any such statement. Holloway said she sold her story to the National Enquirer for four thousand dollars because she felt they would give her a fair presentation.
Her attorneys also never produced any witnesses bolstering the claim made in last month’s opening statements that Anthony had acted without apparent remorse in the weeks after her daughter’s death because she had been molested by her father as a child, resulting in emotional problems.
Instead, their 13-day case primarily focused on poking holes in the prosecution’s contention that Anthony killed Caylee in June 2008 by covering her mouth with duct tape. Prosecutors said the woman dumped Caylee’s body in the woods near her parents’ home and then resumed her life of partying and shopping. Their case relied on circumstantial and forensic evidence, and it did have holes. They had no witnesses who saw the killing or saw Casey Anthony with her daughter’s body. And there was no certain proof that the child suffocated.
The defense said in its opening statement that Caylee drowned and that Anthony’s father George, a former police officer, helped her cover up the death by making it look like a homicide and dumping the body near their home, where it was found by a meter reader six months later. George Anthony has vehemently denied any involvement in Caylee’s death, the disposal of her body or molesting his daughter.
“In my view, the defense was desperate for theories and ways to raise reasonable doubt and by making those statements in opening statements that they couldn’t prove I think that’s a big big problem with the credibility of the defense,” said Weiner.
Weiner says the prosecution fell short as well.
“I think they could have done a much better job. I think they were negligent in many respects, but I think the facts in this case, even with all of the unknowns, puts the odds in their favor of getting a conviction,” said Weiner.
The prosecution will now put on a rebuttal case that is expected to last about a day. Closing arguments would follow, probably on Saturday, and the jury would then get the case that evening or Sunday.
Caylee was last seen in mid-June 2008. For the next month, Casey Anthony avoided her parents, telling her mother and her friends that Caylee was with a baby sitter named Zanny.
Casey’s parents soon got a notice that their daughter’s car had been towed. George Anthony and the tow lot operator both said the Pontiac Sunfire smelled like death.
Prosecutors played a tape of a frantic 911 call made by Anthony’s mother, Cindy, reporting her granddaughter missing. She tells the operator, “It smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.”
Casey Anthony then told detectives that Caylee had been kidnapped by the nanny, and a massive search was launched.
Caylee’s skeletal remains were reported in December 2008 by a municipal meter reader. A key part of the defense case was trying to discredit the meter reader, Roy Kronk, saying that he had actually discovered the body in August.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Anthony, 25, could receive the death penalty.
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