Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Day 1

While waiting for Casey to enter the courtroom this morning, we were given some video of the courtroom. The prosecution was spread out between the two tables in front. George and Cindy Anthony were seated in the back row on the same side where Linda Drane Burdick, Jeff Ashton, and Frank George are seated. Judge Belvin Perry probably is the one who arranged for George and Cindy Anthony to be seated in the back row of the courtroom on the "prosecution" side. I must say, they both were very well behaved during the proceedings.

I have to wonder if the defense team thinks that the mere possibility that there may be one camera shot of what is on their laptops was worth taking the table to the side of the courtroom. As it is, it appears as though everyone is on the side of the prosecution while there is nobody for the defense!

Casey Anthony walked into court from the door behind the defense tables which robbed her of her opportunity for her usual sashay. She was wearing the unfortunate white top from last week which has a habit of folding out and off her shoulders.

Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. called court to order at precisely 9 AM. He spoke briefly with lead counsel at side bar before calling the jury in. He then proceeded to greet them warmly and as the usual questions about whether they had spoken to anyone and so on. He then went on to read the jury instructions.

Linda Drane Burdick’s opening lasted for a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes. She began by saying that this trial is about Casey Anthony. It now was the time to tell Caylee Anthony’s story as well.

She said that Caylee was born Tuesday, August 9, 2005. She lived with her mother and her grandparents on a quiet residential street in Orlando. Her grandparents filled her room with toys and every Winnie the Pooh item imaginable. In the back yard was a playhouse with a mailbox with her name on it.

George and Cindy moved to Orlando in 1989 with their children Casey, 3 and Lee, 7 and they’ve lived there ever since.

George Anthony had worked security jobs and other jobs. Cindy Anthony had worked as a nurse working her way up to an administrative position.

When their 19-year-old daughter, Casey, told them she was pregnant, they were concerned, then, elated.

They provided support to little Caylee and gave her a loving and stable home.

They believed their daughter Casey returned to her job at Universal Studios after Caylee was born. They believed she was a hard-working, single, young mother.

Over the next two years, Caylee seemed to live an idyllic life. They took many pictures of her. She was the apple of her grandparents eye.

Linda Burdick then went on to debunk the idyllic life that she had just painted by going through the lies.

She then took the jury to June of 2008, when Casey’s facade began to break. She then went to Father’s Day 2008 to discuss that day. She told how Cindy Anthony took Caylee to visit her great-grandfather and unknowingly took the last photographs and video of her granddaughter.

As she went through the day, Casey moved her head back and forth, indicating she didn’t agree. Then, as Burdick continued through the events of that day, Casey began to wipe tears and check them out on her hand.

Burdick ended the story of that Father’s day with the fact that Casey spent the day with her boyfriend, Tony Lazzaro.

She then continued on to Monday, June 16. George recalled Casey getting ready to go to work and gave the exact time that Casey left the house with Caylee. She gave the description of Caylee’s clothes. (Note, she frequently referred to George and Jo Jo, Caylee’s nickname for him.)

That was the last anyone saw of Caylee alive. (Casey again nodded her head NO)
Burdick then stated that the next photograph of Caylee was taken December 11, 2008. (I later learned from InSession that those were the only two photographs she used and the jurors saw them side-by-side on the computer screens which sit in front of them.)

The lead prosecutor then said that this case is not about Casey Anthony. It is about the photograph taken on June 16th, 2008 and December 11th 2008. (Casey broke out the tissues.)
Burdick then asks where Caylee Marie was between June 15th and July 16th. Where was Casey Anthony? What happened?

Despite the fact that her father said she left the house at 12:50, cell phone pings showed Casey was at the house until 4 PM that day.

Burdick went on to state that there is no Zanny the Nanny, there is no job. She then moved on to the Blockbuster visit the same evening.

Slowly and methodically, Ms. Burdick continued to go through the location of Casey Anthony and her actions. That day, and almost every day of the 30 when Caylee was not accounted for.

We all know the story, and Burdick is relentless in putting the entire time line together.

She told all the lies Casey said to her family and friends. From time to time, Casey nodded her head in a negative way, as if nothing the Assistant State’s Attorney was saying was true.

Ms. Burdick painted the parents in such a positive light. You have to know that she wants the jury to see that they cared for, loved, and adored their granddaughter.

When she finished with day 1, Burdick went on to relate, in great detail, almost every day until Caylee’s remains were found. First, she told what actually happened each day, carefully detailing Casey’s activities and movements, including the names of the various witnesses to the facts. Then, she related what Casey Anthony was telling her mother and her friends, even going into various text messages she sent. She also mentioned every time there was a video or surveillance picture of Casey and pointed out the absence of Caylee Marie Anthony.

By the way, we know that the car is very important in this case. Every time she referred to it, she called it Casey’s White Pontiac Sunbird.

Burdick pointed out that Casey had exclusive use of the White Pontiac Sunfire, but it was registered in her parents’ name. They got the notice from Johnson’s Wrecker where it had been towed. She described the experience of the smell in the car and the trash bag.

I wonder if the defense ever told Casey the entire timeline like this? If not, it's a surprise to her how detailed each day is. They have her so nailed down!

At approximately one hour into the opening, Cindy was at Tony Lazzaro’s apartment, getting Casey to her car and driving her home.

At that time, Judge Perry called for a 10 minute break.

I went back to InSession to hear Mike Brooks says not many notes were being taken, the jurors were riveted on what Linda Drane Burdick was saying.

After the break, Linda Drane Burdick concluded her opening.

She began with Lee Anthony questioning Casey about where Caylee was. Casey went into her story about Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez taken Caylee 31 days ago.

At that moment, she said, Cindy Anthony had to believe her daughter, although her first response was, "What did you do?" Her mother and her brother were in her face. To get out of it, Casey told yet another lie, and another.

She said that the jury would hear the 3rd 911 call an hysterical Cindy Anthony made. They would also hear Casey's attitude on the phone.

She did not play the tape, but quoted Cindy’s now famous line, “Something’s wrong. It smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car!”

Then, she began outlining what the various policemen did when they arrived at the Anthony house.

This is essentially the story we heard at the hearing when Jose Baez and Cheney Mason were trying to get Casey's statement to LE thrown out and the Anthony's declared agents of the state.

Burdick read from Casey's initial, handwritten statement to the police. She read a bit and told the jury that the first thing she told the police was a lie. When Yuri Melich arrived and looked over her statement, he asked her if she wanted to change anything, Casey said she didn’t and that everything she had written was the truth.

We were next treated to the entire story of Casey's Goose Chase around Orlando.

When Casey told the detectives that she had lied about working at Universal, the investigation went in two directions.

First, there was a search with nationwide tips, trying to find Caylee alive.

Next, there was a case of finding out if Caylee was no longer alive.

Then, they took posession of the Whtie Pontiac Sunbird and began testing it for evidence. The trash bag was also retrieved in the presence of George Anthony.

July 17, a cadaver dog, Gerus, alerted in a final trained alert on the odor of human remains in the trunk of the car.

Later, Gerus was taken to the Anthony residence. There, he alerted on an area near Caylee's playhouse. Then, an Osceola County deputy brought her dog in, which also alerted. Crime scene technicians dug up the yard and did not locate Caylee.

Hair, air samples, samples from the carpet lining the trunk and the spare tire cover, DNA from the family members and a hairbrush used by Caylee.

The hair and other debris was sent to the FBI laboratories in Quantico, Virginia.

She then discussed the hair banding which only comes from decomposing human bodies.

The findings led to the conclusion that a dead body had been in the car.

The use of mitochondrial DNA and microscopic study of the hair, showed it came from Caylee Marie Anthony.

Air samples were sent to the leading expert in the biochemistry of decomposition to Dr. Arpad Vass. He had spent the last 10 years identifying the chemical components of human decomposition.

She also said that he will testify to the odor of decomposition that came from the can that contained the carpet sample.

Also, Vass identified the highest level of chloroform that he had ever seen before.

Burdick went on then to the FBI lab which also confirmed the presence of chloroform.

There was then an investigation of the Anthony's computer. There were searches for chloroform and other chemicals by a user in the Anthony home who used Google. She told the times and the other searches as well.
This is the first time we are hearing all the different searches and the fact that computer work around these searches were related to Casey.

Cindy Anthony and George Anthony were both working at those times and the context of the searches done before and after revealed that only Casey Anthony could have done the searches.

Burdick finally went on to the searches which were made to find Caylee which were hampered by standing water and other problems.

There were searches for THE Zenaida Gonzalez.

George and Cindy still held out hope of finding Caylee alive.

Then, to end, she talked about the meter reader's discovery of Caylee Anthony's bones. They were found near the elementary school which she would have been attending if she were alive.

Sedonia Sunset, with her sharp eye on the screen, noticed that “Casey shakes her head no at the statement that a tiny human skull was found down the street. Oops, they didn't say SHE put it there. The body was found, so that was a miscue for head shaking. She's also shaking over the assertion that the body was thrown there like a piece of garbage.”
She described how Caylee was wrapped in a Pooh blanket, plastic bags, and a laundry bag and thrown into the woods.

She described what was found at the scene. It took crime scene personnel 10 days, working painstakingly on their hands and knees, digging on their hands and knees to find every bone so Caylee Anthony would have dignity in death.

She mentioned the roots growing in and around her bones and through the bags. Duct tape covered the nose and mouth of the tiny skull. The duct tape was placed on her jaw prior to decomposition and was stuck to her hair, proving that Caylee's killer never planned to remove it.

She went on about the duct tape on the gas can which matched the relatively rare duct tape found on the skull. It was also used on a missing child poster for Caylee Anthony.

The shirt and the logo “Big Trouble Comes In Small Packages” were captured in photos taken in January and March of 2008.

Caylee's Winnie the Pooh blanket was missing.

There was no trauma to Caylee's bones. The only proof of the murder of Caylee Anthony are the three pieces of duct tape stuck to her mouth. There was no other reason to place this duct tape but to end the child's life.

In concluding, Linda Burdick said that there was no other conclusion but that Casey Anthony was the only one who could have killed Caylee. She was the only one to lied to everyone and no one else benefited from the death of Caylee Anthony except Casey Anthony. Casey lived the good life.

She said that Casey Anthony is guilty of the crime of 1st degree murder.

Judge Perry recessed the court for an early lunch. Court would resume at 1:10.

At 1:10, Judge Perry called the court to order and it was now Jose Baez’ turn to address the jury. What would the first minute do to make us all go “AHA! Now I understand?”

As it turned out, we were in for a stomach-turning adventure into a parallel universe in terms of this case.
First, Baez thanked the jury for helping them to seek justice. He wanted them to get them home as soon as possible.

He then went on to say that we were in court because of the onslaught of publicity.

Today, the jury would be the first to know what really happened. He said he would mention the name Roy Kronk who wasn’t mentioned at all this morning.

Baez said he wanted to discuss the investigation. He said it was very comprehensive and focused on one person, and one person only. The investigation reached the point of desperation. He pretty much insinuated that the investigators were speculating and guessing. He said he would discuss Suburban Drive and the numerous suspicious circumstances surrounding that location. He said he would next discuss Ms. Anthony’s car. Baez indicated that the confusion over the car would add enough confusion to double the length of the trial. (He was constantly trying to get the jury to understand that it was the prosecution’s fault that there was a trial that would take so long and keep them from their families.)
He then went on to say they were not here to discuss day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4 or Casey’s foolish actions. They were here to find out how Caylee died.

He said that this is not a murder case, not a manslaughter case, etc.

Baez said they are not the media and were not her to speculate about what happened.

Then, he said he would talk about the forensics. He said it was more science fiction than science and showed the desperation of the prosecution to make a case.

How could a mother wait 31 days to report her child missing? The answer was relatively simple. Caylee drowned in her swimming pool on June 16, 2008. She was never missing.

Baez then went on to say that the jury would hear ugly things that Casey could not talk about. People don’t know what secrets lie within.

Casey did what she’d been doing all her life, hiding her pain, going into the dark corner of denial to pretend that nothing was wrong.

Baez actually said, “something’s not right with this girl.”

Okay gang, here we have it. It was an accident and Casey, due to her terrible abuse behind closed doors, was afraid to tell the truth.

We were then treated to how Casey was a good mother who loved her daughter, but that George Anthony began abusing her when she was 8 years old and it got worse and worse.

Casey acted as if it didn’t happen. Baez then went through all the lies Casey told. She lived a lie, making up a nanny and forced herself to live in a world of her own.

When Casey told her family she was pregnant, she couldn’t tell the outside world.

Next up for under the bus was Lee Anthony who was also accused of abuse, but not as bad as with her father.

These family secrets remain locked and it doesn’t make sense. Parents should stand up for their children and not throw them under the bus.

(Uh-oh, he said the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)

Baez then said that Casey would leave the house after having her father’s penis in her mouth and go to school and play with the other children as if nothing ever happened.

This is a sad tragedy, it had to happen to Casey.

Casey and Caylee Anthony were home with her father in the early morning hours of June 16. George approached Casey, yelling at Casey, “Where’s Caylee?” They searched the entire house. Casey went to the left of the house, and came around the corner, and saw George Anthony holding Casey in his arms. Casey took the child from him and cried. George yelled at her. Then, George helped her. Casey should have called 911, she should have done the right thing. It’s a sad, tragic accident that snowballed out of control. Why didn’t George call 911? It’s too bad the investigation focused on Casey.

Baez then went back to the topic of the pool. He mentioned that Cindy and Caylee used the pool on the 15th. Was it possible that Cindy left the ladder in?

On June 17, Cindy Anthony went to work and mentioned the pool ladder incident to a co-worker.

George Anthony stayed as far as possible from the situation and let Casey take the blame. Who's going to believe a liar, especially when there's sexual abuse?

Oh my, there is no way on earth, as Baez goes through his time line that I can begin to write all this stuff down.

I would highly recommend that those of you who weren't able to watch his performance, do go to WFTV to view it. I have never seen the likes of this. It sounds like the defense took every possible rumor and mixed them together to form their case. It's no wonder he didn't want the Anthony’s in the courtroom.

My favorite line was when Baez then told the jurors to "follow the duct tape" and you will know who hid Caylee's body.

After the duct tape story, Baez went on to discuss George Anthony's affair with Krystal Holloway.

January 22, 2009, George's guilt overtook him and he tried to take his life. He did not leave his answer in the suicide note.
George Anthony sits there with a frown on his mouth, I don't know how he could sit there and take this material. I can't believe I'm rooting for him.

Baez said that they won't ever say that George Anthony killed Caylee, it was an accident. It snowballed out of control.

This is not a murder case, this is not a manslaughter case, it is a tragic accident.

Next up was Roy Kronk. He found Caylee's remains. They said that he was the one who took Caylee's body and hid her. Kronk wanted the $225,000 and he didn't read the fine print that the reward was for a living Caylee.

Then, using a tape measure, he showed the distance from the side of the road where Caylee was found.

Then, Baez went on about all the searches. He cited the hydrologist report that the area was only under water for 10 days.

Apparently, Mr. Kronk and co-workers were in the area in August. One of the co-workers said that it would be a good place to hide a body. He told his friends he saw a skull, but were distracted by a snake.
(Smoke and mirrors, anyone?)

Baez mentioned Kronk's son who would testify that he had a call from his father talking that he knew where the remains were.

Now, Baez said that Kronk had control of the body and that he didn't know where he found it!

Baez then went on to say what his witnesses are going to say about that terrible Roy Kronk.
(Shouldn't Baez have begun with "Once Upon A Time?")

Next, we were told that there was police collusion with Kronk! The police never investigated Roy Kronk. (Apparently, he found the decomposed body somewhere where George put it and then moved the bag of bones.)
Baez said that there's not one single thread of evidence that links Casey to Caylee's body.

Then he said that the police did the investigation into Casey, but never came up with any evidence.

Baez had one last thing to say about Suburban Drive. He said that in 2009, the prosecution went to the TES volunteers and asked if the area was under water.

He brought up psychic Gail St. John's video of her search when she pointed out where the body was.

Next, Baez went on to Dominic Casey and his varied stories.

Next up was the car. He said the car would be a subject of much debate. He mentioned that the air samples have never been admitted as evidence. The same was true as the hair and cadaver dog evidence.

Now, Baez attempted to say that Caylee wasn't in the car from June 16-20. He tied that in with Tony Lazzaro said that he didn't smell anything when Casey put the gas cans in the car a few days later.

Tony did tell the State that Casey insisted on pouring the gas and he was nowhere near the car. He didn't remember much after three years when he told the defense that he thought he had put the gas in.

The big conclusion here was that the garbage was what caused the odor.

Baez next attacked George about smelling the car at the wrecker yard. He asked why he didn't call the police, knowing there had been a dead body in the car. He accused George Anthony of distancing himself from the case.

Baez claimed that George had access to the car and came to the tow yard with gas cans. He asked how George knew the car was out of gas.

George knew exactly what happened, George knew all the answers and didn't say a word.

Baez next picked on Cindy Anthony. He said she went back to work. They had to get Casey's supervisor get her to go home and face reality.

Again, Baez pointed out that this was how Casey was raised, how she was taught to live.

When Cindy cried that the baby was missing during a 911 call, George didn't say anything.

Not to be flippant here, but the final part of this incredible opening, Baez nicely debunked all the forensics in the case. We have heard this from Linda Kenney Baden on HLN and InSession, we heard the defense arguments during the Fry hearings. I must say, however, he did a fine job of attacking future “millionaire,” loony scientist, Arpad Vass!

In closing, Baez went back to the fact that nobody knew how Caylee died.

After a brief break, the prosecution began its case against Casey Anthony.

The jury was called back in and the sequestration rule was invoked.

The first witness to take the stand was George Anthony. YES!

Jeff Ashton began his questioning about where he came from and how he met Cindy, and gave a brief summary of his police career in Warren, Ohio. He was asked about his children. They discussed his leaving law enforcement and going to work for his father. After some problems that arose from working with his father, he went out and started his own business. They moved to Florida for various reasons.

Lee was almost 7 and Casey was 3 when they moved to Florida. Cindy immediately got a job and it took him about 3 months to find employment in the private security field.

He learned Casey was pregnant in May or June of 2005. Cindy and Casey told him about it. He said he was extremely excited, but concerned as to how she would be able to raise a child as a single mother. He and Cindy did everything they could to make Casey’s life as easy as possible during the pregnancy. He attended her sonogram. Casey was living them and had already finished high school and was working for Colorvision at the time she was pregnant. They assumed that Casey would continue living with them until she got herself established enough to go out on her own.

They showed a photograph of the Anthony home and it was submitted into evidence.

They were all at home when Casey went into labor. He was in the delivery room for the birth. He said it was amazing and embarrassing at the same time.

Casey has the pouts and a few evil glances for her father.

Ashton went on to discuss Caylee’s father. According to George, Casey believed that a person named Baker was the father. Jesse Grund could have also been the father. He met Jesse for the first time the day Caylee was born. He did not make a good impression on him that day. Jesse became part of the family when Caylee was born until he had the paternity test done.

He was around Caylee almost every day. Cindy helped by being a great grandmother and took care of her some of the time. When she learned to talk, she called him Jo-Jo and Cindy became Ci-Ci.

In 2008, Caylee was a very vocal child and could put a lot of words together. She could operate the TV and VCR. She could go into the pantry and get peanut butter and a spoon. She loved to color and work with Play-Doh. In his opinion, she was a very bright child.

She could open things up and they put plastic covers over the door knobs.

In the summer of 2008, he said he knew/didn’t know Casey was employed. In May and June of that year, he said she was becoming an event planner and had a second job at the Sports Authority near their home. He said he wanted to believe she was working at Universal. She had a routine, working mainly early afternoon to evening.

In May and June, Cindy worked Monday-Friday. She was gone from 7 AM to 5 or 6 PM. He worked a schedule which went from afternoon to evening.

When Casey would go to work, Casey would say she was taking her to the baby sitter, Zanny. This went on from at least the beginning of 2008, if not longer.

Ashton then went to the day of June 16, 2008. Ashton showed a picture of Caylee which George identified and it was published to the jury. It was taken in 2008 and resembled Caylee as she looked when she disappeared.

The morning of June 16, 2008, he woke up just as Cindy was going to work. He had his normal cup of coffee. He spent some time with Caylee. George went through their normal morning routine and said that morning was typical. George named some of Caylee’s favorite videos.

That particular morning, he first saw Casey between 9 and 10 AM. He didn’t know what Casey would do, perhaps work on her computer. He enjoyed the time he had to spend with Caylee.

George said that he can’t forget the last time he saw Caylee. He mentioned the Food Channel program. Caylee came out of Casey’s room wearing the same outfit he described originally. He said that Caylee said she was going to see Zanny! Casey told him she was probably working late and would stay at Zanny’s. It was something that happened every once in a while.

George said he never met Zanny.

He walked out with Caylee and saw her buckled in her car seat and blew her a kiss. They left in Casey’s car. He never saw Caylee again.

Then Ashton asked the questions about the sexual abuse of Casey. He denied it all. He said that he wasn’t in the house when Caylee died. He was really choked up about that.

Ashton asked him if he knew how to do CPR. He said he did and that he would have done anything he could to save Caylee. He didn’t dispose of her body. He never put duct tape over her nose and mouth. He had no knowledge that Caylee died that day prior to recent revelations.

Then, Ashton was finished but reserved the right to recall him at a later time.

Casey is now crying again, and so is George.

Jose Baez questioned George Anthony. Baez went back to the wedding. He was confronted by Cindy’s brother Rick about it. At that point, he didn’t have exact knowledge of the pregnancy, but had noticed the changes in Casey’s body.

Then Baez tried to show George the picture of them at the wedding. There were objections because he had not entered it into evidence. The prosecution objected and the objection was sustained. There was a brief side bar. I don’t believe that picture made it into evidence.

Baez re-asked his first question and got the same answer from George. He asked a third time and the answer was the same.

Baez pointed out that he was the father of 2 and didn’t he recognize Casey was pregnant? He insinuated that they told nobody that she was pregnant at that time.

When he asked if he talked to others about Casey’s pregnancy after he knew she was pregnant, he went into the story of how he was told.

Baez then asked George if he had good vision! George thought she might be retaining water.
Baez is being so very nasty about this. He wanted so much for George to say that Casey’s pregnancy was a big family secret!

Baez asked if George assisted with the delivery. George explained that he was merely present there.

George was asked by Baez if he asked about the father. (When are we getting any NEW questions?) Judge Perry reminded Baez to let the witness finish answering the question.

Baez repeated the question about when he asked about the father (twice) and the prosecution objected twice and was sustained twice.

They then moved on to whether or not George knew Casey was working. Baez mentioned an interview with the FBI.

Baez started reading, and there was an objection because there had been no foundation laid. So, Baez went back and asked the pertinent questions. George had told the FBI that he had a feeling for the last two years that she was working.

Then we had the “were you lying then or are you lying now” question from the defense attorney.

There was an objection and another side bar. (#2)

Baez started again by pointing out that he believed Casey was working. George said that he never saw a paycheck. He thought she spent it on necessities for her daughter, car insurance, etc.

Next, Baez got into the fact that he had never met the nanny, talked to her on the phone, etc. This was an attempt to make George a bad grandfather.
(So far, George is holding up just fine.)

He assumed Casey was taking care of her child.

There were more questions about the nanny with Baez stating that Casey took her daughter to a nanny he never knew for 2 years. George corrected him that is was only from the end of 2007 or the beginning of 2008.

George admitted he checked on his daughter at the Sports Authority and found that she never worked there.

When asked about Universal, George Anthony and Baez were schooled on not interrupting each other.

George never checked on her employment at Universal Studios.

Then, Baez went on to grill him about June 16. He got George to admit that Cindy would take Caylee in the pool frequently. Caylee could get out of the house relatively easily.

Baez asked if he was having significant marital problems with Cindy. George said, "not that day." Baez then tried to ask about when he had left Cindy about the time Caylee was born. Jeff Ashton objected because of relevance and we had the 3rd Jose Baez side bar of the questioning of George Anthony.

George said he moved out late November to early December of 2005. Lee had also moved out to be on his own.

Baez told George that the reason he left was that Casey didn't want him around. George responded that it was because of private financial problems he and Cindy were having. Baez got him to admit it was both gambling and a Nigerian bank scam.

When he moved back, Baez said, the tension continued. George said it was true, but things were a lot better. He said they are still working on the problem today.

Then, Baez finally got back to the topic of June 16, questioning George about when he left for work and the clothing Caylee was wearing.

Baez then asked him what Cindy was wearing that day and he didn't remember because she went to work early. He could not describe what Cindy wore the next day. (Baez was trying to say that George made that up!)

Baez kept asking the same question about what Cindy was wearing over and over and kept getting objections sustained.

Next, Baez asked about the gas cans being reported missing. George said he made a report about the break-in of the shed.

Baez kept asking questions about this and Jeff Ashton kept objecting and Judge Perry kept sustaining the objections.

This apparently threw Baez off, as it was a long pause before starting again, only to have the rest of his questions objected to yet again.

We were back at the bench for a Lawyer 101 class. (#4)
When they returned from the side bar, Baez told George that he said that Caylee wasn't drowned in the pool.

George admitted that he had heard the story from one "area" before. Baez told George that the prosecution told him that was how Caylee died.

With that one, we were back to the side bar for the 5th time.

Baez then tried to get George to admit that he had been "prepped" by Mr. Ashton. George Anthony said he wasn't prepped, but had been told he would be first and that he would be questioned about Caylee. He met with Ashton for about an hour.

We then had another problem with questioning and Judge Perry got out a bunch of documents to go through.

The judge then told the jury that a witness should not be discredited for talking to a lawyer about his/her testimony.

Then, Baez asked George if he had a lawyer. After he answered yes, Baez asked him if he had an attorney, Paul Kelly within 24 hours of the events. George stated that he was an attorney and a friend and wanted to ask some questions. He asked Mr. Kelly for advice.

Then, Baez tried to ask about another attorney that he had retained. Another objection and another bench conference. (#6)

The latest objection was sustained.

Next, we were on to the duct tape. George said he was made aware of it some time ago from the internet or discovery.

Baez tried to ask a question about his opening, and that was shot down fast, it's not testimony.

George didn't remember that particular tape as being at his home, he bought a lot of duct tape.
His questions about the duct tape were getting nowhere fast!

Baez asked when he learned that the car had been towed. George gave the same explanation we have heard before. Then, George stated the date they found the notice.

When asked about his comments to the man in the tow yard, he said that he mentioned to the gentleman there that he hadn't seen his granddaughter for a month and had little contact with Casey. He said he said in a soft tone that he hoped it wasn't his daughter or granddaughter.

Baez was blocked from discussing the smell in the trunk based on the scope of the direct examination.

At that point, Baez gave up and asked him to be retained for future testimony.

Jeff Ashton questioned a bit about the Sports Authority incident. He talked to Cindy about it and Cindy told him he was invading Casey's privacy. It created some more strife in their marriage.

He didn't remember when he discussed it with Casey and he basically let it go. Then, he said that this occurred towards the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2008.

As far as Mr. Kelly, he was George's Workman's Comp. attorney and had actually worked with George in 1996 and 2000. They had been great friends for 20 years and socialized with them occasionally.
(All of Baez's objections here were overruled.)

He and Cindy reached out to him because he was a friend with legal knowledge because he and his wife were very tired, edgy, and hadn't eaten since the previous day. He needed his friend to advise him at that point.

The witness was allowed to stand down, subject to recall.

It was 4:53 when Judge Perry excused the jurors for the day.

I have to say, the prosecution was masterful today in predicting that George Anthony would be thrown under the bus today, By putting him on the stand first, the jury was able to see him be rehabilitated before they left for the day. The defense was caught totally off guard by that move, and Baez was not able to cross-examine him in an effective manner, he was totally unprepared and looked bad before the jury because he couldn’t get George to appear in a bad light. Never fear, the prosecution had mentioned that the Anthony’s would be called more than once. As George told Baez, he had been told by Jeff Ashton that his purpose for going first was to talk about Caylee. It was also Ashton’s prime opportunity to question him about the abuse. I also believe that Casey will now have to take the stand. The defense has said that Casey and George were both present when Caylee drowned. It’s a he-said, she-said situation. He has said that didn’t happen, now she is the only one who can confirm it for the defense. What a case when you have a whole family that has a habit of lying!

See you tomorrow at 9 AM!


Anonymous said...

Wow this is crazy isn't it? This is the payback for trying to be decent parents to Casey. Imagine the attorneys sitting around, cooking up these awful stories.....if it were me I would need a long shower just to wash off the filth.
Wes J.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that this reasonably educated, savvy couple would be taken in by a Nigerian internet scam as mentioned by George.....whoa.

donchais said...

After the bizarre defense stance today, I actually took a shower because I felt so dirty.

Caylee deserves so much better!

Thanks ritanita for your brilliant reporting! You're the best!

FRG said...


Thank you so much for the recap!

Now, I feel like barfing! This is so unbelievable!

I never thought I would say this... I am so feeling sorry for the Anthonys! This story is so sick and evil!

I am in disbelief! My hubby is also in disbelief! How come KC is throwing her parents, her brother under the bus! She is ruining "more" their lives! I hope jurors will see through this sick and vicious plan! I am sick to my stomach ritanita! How low can a lawyer go to get fame? Pitiful!

I hope these lawyers go straight to hell!

Prosecutors did an amazing job, as I expected them to do! George also held up well after all JB's accusations!

JB H-E-L-L-O? People are not stupid and nobody will buy your "Chewbacca defense"!

Anonymous said...

great reporting. I know that you were going crazy trying to keep up with all the "revelations". I am not feeling the defense theory. There is way too many lies and what ifs for me. How come when Baez had dad on the stand he didn't nail him with the whole molestation ruining the life of his daughter thing. He needs to explain what dad did with the body when he carried her out of the pool. Where did he store the body? How did Kronk end up with the body to place it where he could "find" it? Just too many questions.
Anyway, you're amazing keep up the good work.

shari said...

as much as i truly do not like any of the family members in this saga....I DO feel for George Anthony. He seems to be the only one with any conscience or sense of truth. Cindy is manipulative, foul mouthed, and in-likeable....but she did love that special little grandchild. Casey is out for Casey and does not care who gets harmed as long as it isn't her. What a sad mess. Hopefully the jurors will be able to see the evidence and work around the nonsense that the defense is trying to sell.

ritanita said...

It's going to be one ugly trial. Baez is a street fighter and you have to know he's planted the idea in the jurors' heads. The difficult part of such an extreme defense, if you want to call it that, is that he has to succeed at every point along the way.

Also, the prosecution is very proactive and already beat Baez soundly with George Anthony on his first appearance.

By laying out all the disgusting stuff so soon, they will be able to ask all the pertinent questions before Baez gets to cross-them.

Today, he came off like an inexperienced buffoon on his cross. He simply wasn't prepared for George Anthony to be the first witness. It was priceless when George Anthony said that he had spoken to Mr. Ashton about his testimony for an hour and Baez tried to impeach him for that. It made the judge have to go through the books to tell the jurors that there was nothing wrong with that!

The six (did I count right?) or so side-bars and numerous sustained objections didn't hurt either.

No wonder Baez wanted to know the witnesses the state was going to call! Didn't work.

liger said...

Followed your blog thru Spector Trial 1&2, and you guys did a fantastic job covering both trials. Haven't been following Anthony case, but when I heard the twisted defense opening today tracked your blog down fast & knew you guys would be on the case! Nice work!

Anonymous said...

Don't let George fool ya. For an ex-detective he knows how to work those questions in a court of law. The olny flaw I see in George is not making that 911 Call the day he found the car and going to work that night. Almost sounds like George and Cindy had a play. Then Cindy wash's the clothes in the death car rather than turning over the evidence to the police. What was that all about. Now did George have DNA done to determain that he was not the father of Caylee or was it just Lee? I find it odd that now one seems to know who the real father is and that somewhere out there Caylee has another set of grandparents who should have come forward by now. My theory on this all. On the day of June 16th Casey wrapped duct tape around Caylee's mouth and around the nose but left an opening for water to get in. Then she threw Caylee into the pool. Child has no air in lungs, child can't swim, child sinks to the bottom and slowly drowns. Casey on the other hand goes inside, makes some phone calls to Jesse, Tony, Amy and checks to make sure Mom and Dad are still at work making phone calls to their work place. 30 minutes later Casey goes to the pool. See's Caylee still on the bottom and removes Caylee's body from the pool and places the body near her play house. Why she borrowed the shovel from the neighbor is not understood when there was one in the garage. She proceeds to try and dig up behind the pool and finds the ground too hard. She goes inside and get's Caylee's pooh blanket, a garbage bag and the clothes hamper liner. She puts Caylee in the liner, then in then rolls the child up in the quilt and puts her into the trash bag. That way when she carried the bag to the car it would look like a bag of laundry. Leaves body in car for two days. June 18 returns to the area and places body in the wooded area. Moves in with Tony Lazaro on June 16th. Did George come home from one of the calls Casey was making on the 16th and catch on to what Casey had done? Only Casey can tell what happened that day. No telling who killed that child.

Nora said...

Anonymous - I agree with what you've written - it makes a lot of sense. This wasn't an accidental drowning. I think the choloform was used on Caylee before the duct tape went on. I think the entire family is abusive towards one another and felt there was incest going on. But, if so, that is still no excuse for murdering one's child and hiding her body, or for all the lies Casey has told, for a child not being seen for a month and her mother not acting the least bit concerned about that - until after Cindy got involved. What an impressive job the prosecution did today, and you too, Ritanita! Thank you. One question: I thought the judge banned all emotional reactions. What he is doing about all of Casey's reactions in court?

ritanita said...


I guess Casey doesn't have to follow the rules for the gallery and the attorneys.

We all know the range of emotions Casey has expressed from the beginning of the hearings.

I'm not good with body language and I can't imagine what the jury thinks of her, but we'll have to see what happens down the line if she goes over the line for Judge Perry.

Nora said...

Okay, thanks ritanita. I think if it keeps up, the Judge will say something to her...and I have no doubts that Casey will stop on her own. I do have another observation to make: the drowning theory tells me that the only way they could come up with this is if Casey admitted it was a drowning. Sure, they could fabricate a story because there is a pool, but I think they needed to have some real evidence to make this the center of their case.

Anonymous said...

Extreme cover up for an "accidental drowning" makes little sense. Something is wrong with this girl.....and her attorney...

ritanita said...


I totally agree. Baez had too many "we'll never know" comments in his opening.

You can bet that Linda Burdick (I'm shortening her name for typing's sake) and Jeff Ashton will take their case in chronological order and bit by bit, piece by piece, put their puzzle together.

The defense will nip at the heels of the witnesses, making attacks on them. I know Dr. Vass will be a hit when he testifies. He can take the defense on easily.

The defense is going to have a hard time debunking every piece of the forensics in the case, especially the death-banded hair in the trunk and the chloroform levels coupled with the computer searches.

The defense dismissed all of that. If you read here when we were doing the Mark Jensen trial, you will know that the computer forensics did him in big time!

Linda Burdick disclosed in her opening that there is computer use around the searches which were Casey Anthony.

Imagine hearing there was an extended visit to Facebook, a search for chloroform, an IM session with a friend, a search for neck-breaking, and so on.

It's not the searches themselves, but the CONTEXT of the searches.

The state also knows that Casey was the only user who used the Firefox browser while doing Google searches.

That's just the computer stuff! There will be more grist for the jury to chew on!

ritanita said...


I totally agree. Baez had too many "we'll never know" comments in his opening.

You can bet that Linda Burdick (I'm shortening her name for typing's sake) and Jeff Ashton will take their case in chronological order and bit by bit, piece by piece, put their puzzle together.

The defense will nip at the heels of the witnesses, making attacks on them. I know Dr. Vass will be a hit when he testifies. He can take the defense on easily.

The defense is going to have a hard time debunking every piece of the forensics in the case, especially the death-banded hair in the trunk and the chloroform levels coupled with the computer searches.

The defense dismissed all of that. If you read here when we were doing the Mark Jensen trial, you will know that the computer forensics did him in big time!

Linda Burdick disclosed in her opening that there is computer use around the searches which were Casey Anthony.

Imagine hearing there was an extended visit to Facebook, a search for chloroform, an IM session with a friend, a search for neck-breaking, and so on.

It's not the searches themselves, but the CONTEXT of the searches.

The state also knows that Casey was the only user who used the Firefox browser while doing Google searches.

That's just the computer stuff! There will be more grist for the jury to chew on!

Anonymous said...

In the 1990's, the Abuse Excuse was in vogue for a time. The Menendez brothers are the most famous example. Casey Anthony's defense seems to be bringing it back.

David In TN

Anonymous said...

I knew very little about the Casey Anthony case before starting to read about the trial.

Thanks for such good reporting to supplement what I've read in the news.

The impression I have thus far is that the prosecution has done its homework and reconstructed events from evidence. the defense is just going around in circles trying to muddy the waters and throw a lot of gossip and innuendo into this.

But even now it's pretty hard not to think the woman is a lying narcissistic psychopath.

Anonymous said...

The defense did an excellent job nobody knows what goes in in peoples homes. The body lang of George just gave it away. Why do people say the drowning is so out there...it is right on point. When there is a truma such as a drowning not everyone reacts the same. It is so easy to sit there and say if this went down this is what I would do but when it does go down there are a lot of game changers. People do stupid things when they feel they have no way out.

Anonymous said...

As others have stated, the defense will have to prove his fantasy-woven theory impeccably step by step, which he will FAIL to do simply because lies have NO foundation, they flicker and fall! What this all shows really is either the defense attorney missed his true calling as a fiction writer, or he needs to be tested for hallucinatory drugs!

Bottom line, based on hard scientific evidence and pure common sense, Caylee was seen as or became a gross inconvenience to her mother Casey for getting in the way of her everyday social carefree life, so Casey decided to take matters into her own hands having absolutely no regard for human life...and we all know the heinous results!

Anonymous said...

What's the deal with Geraldo? WHY would he go out on a limb apparently in support of Casey in the fact of hard evidence? Self promotion/publicity perhaps?

Anonymous said...

The argument suggesting that George somehow panicked is pretty weak as he had training in CPR, and for anyone having such knowledge, it's something that naturally and instinctively kicks in in the presence of another requiring this kind of lifesaving help, as in this case.

That drowning theory on the part of the defense is way, way out there...in fantasyland! No rational thinking human being is buying it!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't blame Casey for concocting the ridiculous "play" that her attorney wrote and is acting out in front of the judge and jury -- it's HIS JOB (albeit lying through his teeth) to coach her into responding (cry, pout, shake her head, etc.) and support his "story" to get her off the hook! It's very transparent.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear why they placed tape around Caylee's head/jaw if she was already deceased. Why would Kronk move the body to place B rather than just direct police to place A? This doesn't ring true.