Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Casey Anthony Hearing: Day 1

Okay, I'll admit it, today's hearing went by very slowly and it put me to sleep the moment it was over. By the end, we were still hearing witnesses on the first major motion on the list! Now, I'm going to "pretty up" my notes for your entertainment.

It turned out that Judge Perry decided to take the motions in the order on the list distributed yesterday. According to the list, Jose Baez will have to wait until the end of the day tomorrow to defend himself against the Motion to Show Cause. He was ready to do it first thing off, but the judge decided to stick to the list. Jeff Ashton made the comment that he was going by the list and he hadn't brought his papers with him, but he was willing to "wing it". However, we started at the top of the list.

Therefore the Motion to Quash Subpoenas and/or Motion for Protective Order and the Supplimental Motion to Quash Subpoenas were heard first since a number of the witnesses for the motion are involved with the first motion to be heard.

Tammy Gappen represented Orange County Department of Corrections. She said that six employees had been asked to be in court for both days of the hearing which was a waste of manpower. She also said that three of the employees don't work in any area where Casey Anthony is housed and have nothing to do with her. She wanted their subpoenas quashed.

Three of the people subpoenaed to testify about the jail video which is now a moot issue since the State had indicated that they weren't going to be using the video in their case-in-chief. She also wanted the subpoenas quashed. For the remainder, they will be on two-hour call rather than waiting in court all day. That turned out to be a blessing for them since none of them would have been called today anyway.

Next to speak was Mark Lippman, George and Cindy's attorney. He said he had filed a motion the previous day to have his clients, who were subpoenaed by the State, to be released from the rule of sequestration. He pointed out that the defense has not raised an objection and they are next of kin. They should be able to be in court for the testimony.

Linda Drane Burdick stated that listening to law enforcement officers testify could affect their testimony. She said that she would have no problem if they were called first to testiy.

Lippman then pushed his luck and indicated that the rule would continue through the trial if the judge issued an order.

Judge Perry said that the request would only address the hearing, not the trial and denied the motion based upon the following factors:

Their testimony may be colored by listening to other witnesses testifying.

He also based his decision on their testimony versus their depositions which tend to show their testimony may be colored.

Perry said that they could testify first and then be excused to listen to the other witnesses.

Linda Drane Burdick indicated that the motion had been faxed after 5 yesterday, and, rather than lodging an objection, she agreed. (I noted that she called them the Grandparents! I thought that was a nice touch on her part to indicate their relationship to Caylee.)

Cheney Mason called Cindy Anthony to the stand first. As she sat down, she seemed to cry and so did Casey. Casey's crying jag ended after a few seconds and she continued to furiously write notes.

Cindy described the arrival of the deputies and how Casey was handcuffed in the driveway and taken out to a patrol car. Cindy claimed Casey was handcuffed for quite a while. However, the arrest apparently took place after Casey's cell phone was brought back to the house, so it had to be much later. (These comments are "boiled down" from the notes I took as the hearing was going on, when I look at them now, they seem a jumble. Then, I realize that Mason's questioning was all over the place time-wise.)
Cindy also testified that they all wrote out reports in different areas of the house. When Mason showed her her statement and asks the time which is written on in, Cindy went on about different handwriting on the document.

She and Mason then started discussing what time everything occurred. The first officer on the scene was Renden Fletcher, then Adriana Acevedo (9:52 pm), Sgt. Reginald Hosey (whom Cindy though was in charge arrived next at 10:23. Dep. Ryan Eberlin arrived next.

Cindy told Mason that although she never asked them, she wanted the officers to ask Casey questions about where Caylee was. Although she wasn't with Casey all the time, she got the impression that her daughter was cooperating because she wanted them to help find Caylee. Casey was answering the questions freely and mentioned Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez. She told the officers she could take them to the last place she saw Caylee.

Cindy didn't remember the time, but she recalled that Casey left with when she left with Dep. Acevedo. During that time she assisted another officer to contact Casey's friends to see if they knew anything.

Cindy said that Casey was "arrested" because she was placed in handcuffs. Didn't know what it meant.

A deputy asked if she had taken anything from Cindy and Cindy said yes. Cindy told a deputy that Casey had stolen money. Cindy said that they could take her in for any reason, such as the theft to help find Caylee, but she didn't want her arrested. (Make sense to you?)

Mason brought up the language in one of the 911 calls that said, "I have someone in my home that I need arrested"

Cindy also claimed that Hosey was on the phone with someone, and after the call, he un-cuffed Casey and brought her back into the house. She said there were two or three uniformed deputies around Casey at the time. She mentioned there were six different officers and about 4 different cars at the home on Hopespring Drive. (Mason had her paint a picture of an armed fortress of big-bad law enforcement officers with their flashing lights, quite an intimidating scene.)

When Cpl. Yuri Melich arrived later, in the early morning hours of July 16. Cindy said that he sequestered her into a back bedroom and spent about an hour asking her questions. She said she was sitting in a chair near the room and could hear the questioning. She could hear his tone of voice. He began in normal tone of voice but got intimidating and demanding of Casey. (It will be interesting if we get to hear the tape, if we haven't already.)

Cindy also testified that Melich asked for a copy of Casey's phone records and pictures of Caylee for an Amber Alert. Since there was no ink, she put the information on a zip drive. (At this point, Cindy started going off about the Amber alert, but was reined in by Judge Perry).

Then, Cindy said that Casey left with Melich for a while and that when she and Melich returned, she said that questioning continued until about 5 AM on the 16th.

Then, Melich returned cell phone and said she could use it and said he would come back later in the day with someone else. (10:30 - 11:00 AM) Cindy said that Casey got no sleep. John Allen came with and another officer, Appie Wells, but Melich did not return.

According to Cindy, Allen told her that he may not be bringing Casey back home.

Linda Drane Burdick then did her cross examination. Through her questioning we learned that Cindy couldn't affix a particular time to any of these events unless she were to go home and checks her notes.

Drane Burdick began to set up a time line for Cindy with the last of the three 911 calls, the last of which was made at 9:47 PM.

As for the amount of time Cindy thought Casey was cuffed she said she had no memory. She did state that the cuffs were removed a half-hour before Yuri Melich arrived. Once he arrived (3:51 AM), things moved faster.

Cindy testified that Melich and Casey went into computer room with the door open. It was tape recorded. (Cindy didn't know that.) She said that the conversation centered on finding her granddaughter, not on accusations of criminal activity. As for officers asking if Casey could take them to places because she didn't know addresses, she went voluntairly, under her own power to go help them ID the locations.

They were gone a long time, at least an hour or so. When Casey came home, she was is in the house with her family and cell phone.

Melich arranged to have someone to come back (George took call). John Allen and Appie Wells arrived and took her. She testified the family was told not to tell Casey that they were coming.

When Cindy was asked about the trip to Universal, she said she didn't remember what they said. She was upset because they had been told not to tell Casey they were coming and that she may not be coming back. She said that Casey appeared to go cooperatively.

After a short break, Linda Drane Burdick took Casey back to the time when Casey arrived back from her trip out with Melich. They spent time working on the computer (making a page for Caylee?). Cindy then repeated that John Allen had told her that IF something happened, they would call her. She didn't say goodbye to Casey because she had no idea she wasn't coming back.
Drane Burdick asked Cindy if she had read her deposition and Cindy said she hadn't. She then asked Cindy if this could be the first time she had mentioned Allen telling her Casey may not come back. Cindy didn't know the answer to that one.

Mason questioned Cindy a bit further and reinforced the ideas that her main focus was on finding Caylee, not about the stolen car, the stolen money. Cindy said that didn't happen until later that evening.

Mason then asked Cindy about all the police officers in the house, was Casey read her Miranda rights, had she ever hear them say they were taking her to Universal? Was it true Casey could only leave the house with a police officer? (I think we are getting the picture Mason is trying to paint at this point.)

Drane Burdick added a few more brief questions. Did somebody keep her in the house? Cindy responded that she had the opportunity to leave but she didn't without a police officer. Cindy said she wouldn't have let her leave. She would have "sat on her" or "restrain" her (LDB's word).

George Anthony was next to testify. Watch what it says and how his account differs from Cindy's! this goes to the fact that the house was in an uproar and eye witnesses to these events are not the most reliable. Also, let's remember that the judge did not allow him in the courtroom during Cindy's testimony.

Jose Baez questioned George. George testified that on July 15, 2008, he was at work. He came home just prior to 10 PM and saw Cindy hysterical and upset, crying. She said Caylee was missing. The police arrived fifteen minutes to a half hour after he arrived. The first officer was a "black gentleman", a supervisor, a Sergent. After the first deputy arrived, 4 or 5 more arrived within minutes of each other.

The focus was on Caylee, there was nothing about stolen car or money at that time. They were taken into various rooms to make written statements concerning Caylee's disappearance.

He said that Casey was handcuffed in the garage about 2 hours after the police arrived. She was escorted to police cruiser by original officer. (The first officer was a "black gentleman", a supervisor, a Sergent.) He testified that he didn't know why she was being arrested, that he was very verbal and upset. He was told she would be taken into custody for possible child abuse. The police were using Casey's cell phone. George stated that Casey was in the police car cuffed for thirty minutes to an hour. Then, she was taken out of car and un-handcuffed. He thought it was very unusual.

According to George, Casey was in her room at 3 AM when Melich showed up. He never saw Dep. Acevedo take Casey from the house. He only remembered Casey leaving with Melich.

When Melich arrived, he separated Casey to speak to her alone. They went into Casey's bedroom and the door was shut. (I really didn't like the nasty tone in George's voice when he said that.) Casey and Melich were in the room about an hour. About 5 AM, he told him and Cindy that he and Casey were going to go for a ride to go find where Caylee could be. There was no discussion of car or stolen money.

George said that Casey and Melich were gone for about 2 hours. When they got back to the house, he had some "unpleasantries" with Melich, who wanted answers about where his granddaughter was. Meanwhile, Casey went to her room to rest. She was very upset. He didn't know if she slept.

Things got even more interesting here. George said he drove to his job to explain the situation to the HR person. On his way home, Melich contacted him to say two officers were coming to pick up Casey and he won't see her again.

Baez brought up that when he drove to work, and the HR person knew that Caylee was missing from the news, CASEY WASN'T ARRESTED YET! (Little slip-up there.) According to George, he did not hear Casey being read her Miranda rights. (Wait a moment, she wasn't arrested yet!)

A bit of the George Anthony from the Morgan&Morgan deposition came out when Linda Drane Burdick began her cross. Citing George's law enforcement experience, she mentioned that that officers keeps records that are fairly detailed. George replied, rather snarkily, "if you can believe the person that wrote that."

She established that it it good police procedure to separate people when writing their individual reports. She then showed him a copy of his handwritten statement. When asked if this was the first thing police did, George made it his own by saying he wanted to find Caylee! At this point he began making comments about Amber alerts and generally shooting his mouth off when Judge Perry reined him in.

George was asked if he saw any officers threaten Casey in any was to answer their questions. He didn't.

Drane Burdick went on to ask if any of the officers speak to anyone in a threatening manner. They didn't.

She then reviewed the handcuffing incident. George said it took place between 1:30-2:00 AM since he remembered his cell phone going off and remembered that time when he saw her in cuffs. Then, Drane Burdick brought up 8/5/09 deposition and asks where he mentions anywhere in the deposition that she was handcuffed? (Baez objects)

George responded that nobody asked him if she was handcuffed! He told his wife and Baez about it. When asked if he gave an audio statement to Baez, he said, "possibly."

After handcuffing, George stated that Casey was escorted into the house from the back of the cruiser. The police officer had his hands on Casey, well one hand to escort her.

The testimony then turned to what happened after Casey was brought back. According to George, she spent about an hour in her room but he didn't know what she was doing. There was a lot of chaos going on.

Drane Burdick elicited from George that when Melich arrived he asked to speak with Casey and was pleasant with her. Asked if HE were the detective, would he want to speak with the mother of a missing child? George answered "Yes." Then George stated again that the interview took place in Casey's room, but this time he said the door was partially opened or closed! He didn't know the interview was taped and hadn't listened to it.

Next, Drane Burdick discussed the drive Casey took with Melich. He did not think Casey would be taken to jail. She went with Melich voluntarily and cooperatively. She got into the car under her own power.

When finished, Melich brought Casey back to her home and she went to her room.

Drane Burdick then moved on to the trip to Universal with Allen and Wells. George agreed that Casey was very cooperative with them and went with them freely. He saw her get into an unmarked vehicle, rear seat. When asked if John Allen expressed to himwhen they were leaving that she was coming back? George said, "No, Melich told me on the phone."

They then reviewed that the Sergeant who handcuffed his daughter was the polite black gentleman, first on the scene, that before the had cuffing, he didn't hear his wife insist Casey be arrested for stealing money. Then, he admitted she possibly said that!

Drane Burdick asked him to repeat what he believed Yuri Melich said to him. George said that
two officers are bringing her in and she's not coming home again.

She then asked if he possibly recalled Melich saying MIGHT not be coming home? When George ouldn't remember, she referred to his deposition, P.231 lines 6-10. George had originally said: She MIGHT not be coming back.

George told Casey only that the policemen were coming to take her to police headquarters.
He didn't tell her she might not be coming back.

Jose Baez then did re-direct examination. Before asking any questions, he spent some time commenting to George that the situation that night had put him into the awful traumatic state and his memory isn't as good as it could be due to that.

George reviewed that Casey had been handcuffed by one policeman in the garage and the rest were in the house. He had to witness Casey's emotions as she was placed in handcuffs It was so traumatic for them and he and his wife cried.

As to his "memory lapse" about the handcuff situation, George blames Ashton for not asking the right questions!

There's no way I can possibly replay the entire hearing here, because, as will be with the trial, there is not enough time. I did it with George and Cindy so you could get a feel for the "stories" they told on the stand and their different versions of certain events.

Now, Dep. Ryan Eberlin comes to the stand and gives his version of the events that night. He is a sturdy young (white) police officer who, at the time of the "kidnapping" was a rookie with the Sheriff's Office, just a year on the job. Here's a list of what he told Cheney Mason

He was dispatched for a stolen car.

He put handcuffs on Casey! After he handcuffed her he had a brief conversation with Hosey, who told him to take her out of handcuffs right away. They were more interested in the alleged kidnapping than any theft. (Mason wanted him to say that Melich approved the removal of handcuffs) He instructed her to return to the house. Did not read Miranda and did not hear any other officer read her her Miranda rights.

Linda Drane Burdick then questioned Eberlin. Reginald Hosey was his sergeant and Renden Fletcher was his Cpl. Both are black male supervisors. Adriana Acevedo was also there that night.

The other main facts that came out in his testimony were that he helped fill out the tops of the written reports made by some of the family members. He identified his handwriting on those for which he filled in such information as the date, the suspect (Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez), and so on.

He also testified that Casey Anthony was only in handcuffs for 3-5 minutes. He also testified that Cindy Anthony had approached him with a bunch of fraudulent credit card receipts and said Casey needed to be arrested.

I have to give this young man a lot of credit. He answered all questions clearly and weathered re-cross by Mason and stuck to his facts.

Next up was Adriana Acevedo, another officer who came to the Anthony house. She went to school with Lee Anthony and arrived as a back-up at about 9:52. She took Casey on a drive to look for an apartment. They went to Sawgrass Apartments in the caged portion. She couldn't open the door, the windows, crawl up in the front seat.

Acevedo just drove her to the apartment and back. She never advised Casey of her Miranda rights. She was instructed not to. She engaged Casey in conversation to check on her well-being. It wasn't a long trip, 7 miles each way. Deputy Fletcher followed her in his car.

After showing Acevedo the log sheets, it was established that Casey was in "custody" (Mason's words) for about 26 minutes in drive time and nine minutes at the apartment. When they returned to the Anthony house, she let Casey out of the car.

Mason wanted to use the fact that Acevedo put her into the police car just as she would any prisoner. The word "caged" was mentioned quite a bit, as well as the fact that Casey couldn't get out of the car or open the window.

Under cross examination, Acevedo said that she has put other people who are not under arrest i the same seat when necessary.

The reason she took Casey to Sawgrass was that Casey didn't know the address of the apartment and she needed to show it to the police so that Casey could show the exact apartment.

Acevedo assured Ms. Drane Burdick that Casey willingly participated in the search. She believed Casey was helping her to find her child. She was NOT in custody or under arrest.

The last witness for the day was Det. Yuri Melich. Questioning him was Jose Baez. Baez went through the events from the time Melich came to the Anthony house until Casey was arrested.

Apparently, Baez wanted to know the very instant when Casey became a suspect. He kept asking Melich what sort of "red flags" he saw in the events of the evenings that made him suspicious. Melich agreed that he saw red flags but asked Baez to define "suspicious"! Baez couldn't come up with a synonym to express that idea and Melich came up with many descriptive adjectives. Things were "interesting" or "curious".

He also straightened up the issue of where the interview with Casey took place. It was in the spare bedroom with the door open (Score one for Cindy). He also told Mason that he confronted Casey about the lies in her report and she confessed to him. However, he couldn't fathom why the mother of a missing child would want to lie.

Baez went into great detail about the trip to Universal. In his version, three big, bad cops who were much larger than petite Casey Anthony were browbeating her into a confession.

We've all listened to the audio, I'm sure. I didn't hear any loud and intimidating shouts. There wasn't even a table to pound on.

Melich ended by stating that they brought Casey back to the Sheriff's Office (with a visitor's badge). They put her in a room and he and John Allen discussed the situation for a bit and decided to arrest Casey for child abuse and lying to the police.

Unfotunately, the feed died just an Linda Drane Burick was beginning her cross examination, so we'll have to imagine what she had to discuss with Det. Melich!


Liz said...

Hi Ritanita

Just saw your entry - during lunch time on day 2. If you found yesterday slow and sleepy - the morning session today was so much more so. I'll get some lunch & read up on your report from yesterday

many thanks

FRG said...


Thank you so mcuh for your article! It is a delight! You are so good at what you do!

Cindy? What can I say about her "selective memory"? Pitiful! Disgusting!

Cindy made no sense at all, was she playing with LE when she called 911 to arrest KC? If she did she she should go to jail. She can't manipulate LE for her own purposes, if she were a better mother nothing of this would have happened! No sympathy from me to her! None, zero!

I just love to watch Mr. Burdick in action, she is so focussed and she knows what she is doing!

Cindy did read her deposition, I bet! She was coached by JB but it doesnt matter because she is a terrible liar and can't keep up her lies straighten up!

Wow, you are good! I didn;t notice JB's slip-up! I get so annoyed when he is questioning that it's hard for me to focus on him! LOL

George was so nasty! I can't believe he behaved so badly yesterday! What a spoiled brat the Anthony's are. The apple doesn't fall far from a tree right?

Tell me about George being coached! He is not that bright either so it doesn't matter!

When JB was questioning Detective Melich, I thought he was trying to help the Prosecution, to me he just stablished KC is a big fat liar! I don't know what you thought.

Well, this morning was boring, 3 hours to put up with JB questioning George, it is too much to handle! Where is my advil? LOL

See you in court at !:30 PM

Anonymous said...

I have a question regarding why this case is so engaging to many--since ANY -mother would be expected to know where her child was unless the child was truly abducted), few grandparents would call 911 and announce their car trunk smelled like a decomposed body (unless it did), and she is so obviously bound for a conviction.

There is no suspense, no doubt about the outcome—she does not even have skilled defense counsel that might make the case interesting to watch.

It cannot be the fact that the victim is a child, because millions of children are abused by their parents annually, and over a thousand die as a result of parental abuse and neglect every year.

Do you think it because the defendant is young and attractive?

What is the fascination with this sad case, this sordid defendant, and her ridiculously mediocre defense lawyer?

ritanita said...

I hate to say this, but the fact is, it is a sad case, it has a sordid defendant, and a ridiculously mediocre defense lawyer if what compels many people to keep following it.

This is the first time I've ever followed a case from beginning to end. I normally just follow trials. However, the personalities of all those involved and their behavior have kept me hooked.

It is a perfect storm of a case.

However, I do follow other cases on a regular basis, but don't have the time or energy to write about them. With my limited resources, I'm doing what I can.

There are so many tragedies out there and I wish we could follow them all.

Please visit us again!

DNR87 said...

I don't know how exactly I got to this Casey Anthony Blog, is it a blog? BUT, having not been able to watch the whole feed, I found it while trying to find out what all happened and what Perry's ruling were. Didn't find that, but I did appreciate the condensed version of the hearing. I'll bbbbeeee back! ;)

Anonymous said...

It was the sheer gall of her lies and actions (actually taking LE to Univerisal Studios!) that first riveted me to this case. I couldn't believe she could behave at the lowest level if indeed she were innocent. Then the drama of her parents and their wild back & forth with the media. The drama of her bail and subsequent revocation of bail. The characters are better than a made-for-television movie. I also watch because I want to know the details of the justice system to better understand why rulings are made. I watch because I want this family to feel the eyes of our society demanding truth and justice, not tolerating lies, cover-ups, "half truths" or "mistruths."

ritanita said...

DNR87, You won't find the rulings here because Judge Perry hasn't ruled on the main motions yet. So far only the motion to suppress Casey's statements to LE has been fully heard.

We are not finished with the second motion (agents of the state) yet. These are very complex and crucial motions and the judge will not hurry to rule.

Knowing Judge Perry, he will read all the depositions and other documents presented, research the case law, and do some hard thinking before he rules.

Do expect quick rulings on some of the other motions.

Come back soon!

ritanita said...

Anonymous, you have some terrific reasons for following the case!

Anonymous said...

The Anthony's are back pedaling and trying to make excuses for their actions. I have a child and live my parents and there is no way they do not know where I take my child to daycare or who is watching her. Can they believe the nanny never called or Casey need them to ever pick Caylee up from the nanny. GA and CA both know she is guilty.

Lee will be the one to stand for the truth.

Anonymous said...

This case would have normally been no different than any other parent killing their child EXCEPT for those initial phone calls AND the grandparents' odd behavior (s) along with the lies and obfuscation of ALL four of them. What family members would involve themselves to such a degree to thrawt (sp) law enforcement with every question asked of them, and along with that no sane person could understand 31 days without them knowing what was going on. A grandparent reporting a car, cash and a possible missing child .... that would grab any sane persons' attention! That grifter family should be held responsible for the damages done to others drawn into this fiasco, the costs to the state of florida, and pay it all with serious jail time. Of course that murderous daughter of theirs should be handed the death penalty. With 12 or more years of "dorm" time, she'll have the time to think about it, and then get the ultimate punishment, which by then, she'll fully understand. When she's out of the limelight, she might wake up to her reality. At this time, I think she's wondering "how long with this trial take til I can get back to my life with the guys!