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July 5th, 2011
02:33 PM ET

BREAKING: Jury acquits Casey Anthony on first-degree murder

(CNN) - Casey Anthony was acquitted Tuesday of first-degree murder and the other most serious charges against her in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter.

But the jury convicted Anthony on four counts of providing false information to law enforcement officers.

The verdict was reached by the seven-woman, five-man jury after deliberating for less than 11 hours in a trial that stretched to more than six weeks and featured allegations of sexual abuse, questions regarding Casey Anthony's competence and various theories on what happened to 2-year-old Caylee.

Casey Anthony, 25, was charged with seven counts - first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to a law-enforcement officer in Caylee's 2008 disappearance and death.

Caylee was last seen June 16, 2008, but was not reported missing until July 15, 2008, when Casey Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, tracked her daughter down and demanded answers regarding Caylee's whereabouts.

Prosecutors alleged Casey Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious and then duct-taped her mouth and nose to suffocate her. They alleged that she put the child's body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it. Caylee's skeletal remains were discovered December 11, 2008, by former Orange County meter reader Roy Kronk.

Casey Anthony's defense attorneys maintained that Caylee was not murdered at all. They said the child drowned in the Anthony's above-ground pool on July 16, and that Casey Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked upon finding her there and covered up the death. George Anthony denied that in his testimony.

The defense also attempted to cast suspicion on Kronk, the meter reader. Defense attorneys asserted that he had found Caylee's remains months earlier than he claimed and that he hid them before placing them where they were found. He did that, they claimed, just before notifying authorities in an effort to cash in on the high-profile case.

Kronk denied those allegations, according to his attorney. He testified on the stand that after calling police three times in August 2008 to report something suspicious in the woods, a deputy met him at the scene and "chewed me out," telling him he was wasting the county's time. He said he dropped the matter after that until he revisited the scene in December and found Caylee's skull.

Prosecutors pointed to Casey Anthony's behavior during the 31 days before Caylee was reported missing as evidence of her guilt.

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July 4th, 2011
01:28 PM ET

Casey Anthony's fate now in jurors' hands

(CNN) - Jurors in the Casey Anthony capital murder trial ended their first day of deliberations Monday without reaching a decision as to whether she is guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008.

Deliberations began after prosecutors completed closing arguments in the case and the panel received instructions from Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. He released the jurors for the day at 6 p.m., some five hours and 50 minutes after they got the case. They will resume deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder; aggravated manslaughter of a child; aggravated child abuse; and four counts of providing false information to law enforcement. If convicted of first-degree murder, she could receive the death penalty.

She has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and denies harming her daughter.

Prosecutors allege that the Orlando woman used chloroform to render Caylee unconscious before putting duct tape over her nose and mouth to suffocate her. She left Caylee's body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it, they allege. The little girl's skeletal remains were found in December 2008 near the Anthony home.

Casey Anthony's defense attorneys have alleged that Caylee was not murdered at all, but drowned in the Anthonys' above-ground pool on June 16, 2008, the day she was last seen. Casey Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked upon finding the body, the defense claims, and covered up the death. George Anthony denied that in testimony.

Caylee was not reported missing until July 15, 2008, when Casey Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, called police after tracking her daughter down and demanding answers.

During deliberations, Casey Anthony was held in the courthouse building, according to court spokeswoman Karen Levey. Prosecutors were close by, and defense attorneys may be in their workroom in the courthouse. The five alternate jurors were taken back to their hotel after being separated from the jury, added Levey.

Perry told the seven-woman, five-man jury if they decide Casey Anthony is not guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, they can decide whether to convict her of a less serious charge - second-degree murder, manslaughter or third-degree felony murder. Similarly, they can convict her of child abuse rather than aggravated child abuse.

Updated: 6:43 p.m.

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July 3rd, 2011
01:03 PM ET

Prosecution, defense offer closing arguments in Casey Anthony trial

(CNN) - As Casey Anthony alternately cried, glared and shook her head, prosecutors in her capital murder trial told jurors in closing arguments Sunday that evidence in the case points to only one conclusion - that she murdered her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

"When you have a child, that child becomes your life," prosecutor Jeff Ashton told the seven-woman, five-man jury. "This case is about the clash between that responsibility, and the expectations that go with it, and the life that Casey Anthony wanted to have."

Defense attorney Jose Baez, however, told jurors, "I probably think you have more questions than you have answers." And the central one, he said, remains how Caylee died.

Just after 6:30 p.m., before the prosecution could offer its rebuttal to the defense's closing presentation, Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. dismissed the jury for the day.

"I want all of you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed," Perry told the jury. "It's been a long day, (and) it will be a long day tomorrow."

Jurors are expected to start deliberations Monday - even though it is the Independence Day holiday - to decide if Anthony, now 25, is guilty of killing Caylee. She is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police. If convicted of first-degree murder, she could receive the death penalty.

Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and denies harming her daughter.

Prosecutors allege that the Orlando woman used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious before putting duct tape over her nose and mouth to suffocate her. She left Caylee's body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it, they allege.

In his closing, Baez attacked the state's case, saying it does not constitute the kind of evidence that jurors need to make a decision in such a serious matter. Prosecutors' allegations are based on "fantasy (computer) searches, fantasy forensics, phantom stickers, phantom stains (in the trunk) ... and no real, hard evidence," he said.

Updated: 8:28 p.m.

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June 30th, 2011
05:30 PM ET

Defense rests in Casey Anthony trial

(CNN) - Casey Anthony's defense rested Thursday in her capital murder trial without calling her to testify, ending weeks of speculation about whether she would take the stand in her own defense.

Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. questioned Anthony to ensure the decision not to take the stand was hers. She answered, "Yes, sir," or "yes" to his questions.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police, in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against her. She has pleaded not guilty.

Anthony's defense team is trying to discredit the prosecution theory that the Orlando woman rendered Caylee unconscious with chloroform, duct-taped her mouth and nose, and stored the child's body in her car trunk for a few days before dumping it in the woods.

The defense says Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that Anthony and her father panicked and covered it up. George Anthony has denied those claims.

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June 29th, 2011
06:45 PM ET

Fireworks, tears in Casey Anthony trial

(CNN) - Casey Anthony's father cried on the witness stand Wednesday in his daughter's capital murder trial as he was questioned about his slain 2-year-old granddaughter, Caylee, and his suicide attempt that followed the discovery of her remains.

Later in the day, Casey Anthony also wiped away tears as a grief expert testified that the reactions to grief vary widely, and that sometimes young mothers who lose their children engage in "risky behavior." Proceedings wrapped up for the day shortly after that testimony.

On January 22, 2009, the date of his attempt at suicide by drinking and taking pills, "It just felt like the right time to go and be with Caylee," George Anthony told prosecutor Jeff Ashton, his voice breaking. "... I just decided it was time for me to get away from all this, to spend time with Caylee."

He recalled calling his family members from a Daytona Beach, Florida, hotel room, in an effort to say goodbye, and writing a suicide note for his wife, Cindy Anthony, to read after his death.

Earlier, George Anthony squared off again with his daughter's defense attorney, bristling at questions from Jose Baez.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police, in Caylee's 2008 death. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against her. She has pleaded not guilty.

Anthony's defense team is trying to discredit the prosecution theory that the Orlando woman rendered Caylee unconscious with chloroform, duct-taped her mouth and nose, and stored the body in her car trunk for a few days before dumping it in the woods.

The defense says Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that Anthony and her father panicked and covered it up. George Anthony has denied those claims.

Caylee was last seen June 16, 2008, although she was not reported missing until 31 days later, on July 15. The little girl's skeletal remains were found in December of the same year near the Anthony home.

"My emotional state, even through today - it is very hard to accept that I don't have a granddaughter anymore," George Anthony told Ashton.

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June 28th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Casey Anthony's former fiance takes stand out of jury's presence

(CNN) - Casey Anthony's former fiance testified outside the presence of jurors in her capital murder trial Tuesday, saying she once told him her brother Lee Anthony had groped her while she was sleeping.

Jesse Grund said he had a conversation with Casey Anthony about her brother in 2005, as he noticed Lee was "standoffish" and "sullen" and wanted to know why.

He said Casey Anthony told him she did not want her then-newborn daughter Caylee around her brother, adding that "at one point in recent years," she had awakened to find her brother standing over her staring at her, and that on another occasion he was groping her.

He said he did not want to hear more, and believed her. "Anything that Casey said, I took as truth and fact," he testified.

The state objected to Grund's testimony, saying it was hearsay and is not admissible.

Defense attorney Jose Baez told Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. the defense may have additional arguments on Wednesday morning, so Perry did not immediately rule on whether Grund can testify before the jury.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police, in 2-year-old Caylee's 2008 death. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against her.

Anthony's defense team is trying to discredit the prosecution theory that the Orlando woman rendered Caylee unconscious with chloroform, duct-taped her mouth and nose, and stored the body in her car trunk for a few days before dumping it in the woods.

The defense says Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that Anthony and her father panicked and covered it up. George Anthony has denied that theory.

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June 27th, 2011
07:30 PM ET

Casey Anthony declared competent; trial proceeds

(CNN) - Casey Anthony, accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008, was determined competent to proceed with her capital murder trial after she was examined by three psychologists over the weekend, the judge said Monday.

The psychologists' reports will be sealed, said Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. outside the presence of the jury.

"Based on privileged communications between Casey Marie Anthony and her counsel, counsel reasonably believes that Ms. Anthony is not competent to aid and assist in her own defense and is incompetent to proceed," said the motion, filed by defense attorneys Saturday under seal and made public Monday. "As a result of this well-founded concern, counsel requests a full competency determination before the continuation of trial proceedings."

It was implied - but not expressly stated - that the motion was the reason for the abrupt recess Perry called on Saturday morning.

Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police, in her daughter's death. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against her.

Anthony's defense team is trying to discredit the prosecution theory that the Orlando woman rendered Caylee unconscious with chloroform, duct-taped her mouth and nose, and stored the body in her car trunk for a few days before dumping it in the woods.

The defense says Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that Anthony and her father, George, panicked and covered it up. George Anthony has denied that theory.

Anthony's defense attorneys also filed a motion Monday asking Perry to reconsider an earlier decision and declare Florida's death penalty law unconstitutional.

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June 23rd, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Cindy Anthony: I searched for chloroform on computer

(CNN) - Casey Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, testified Thursday that she, not her daughter, conducted Internet searches for key words including chloroform and alcohol on the Anthony family computer in March 2008.

Cindy Anthony told jurors in her daughter's capital murder trial that she conducted the searches because she was trying to figure out what was making one of her Yorkie dogs "extremely tired all the time." Both the dogs ate bamboo plants in the backyard, she testified, so she started searching for chlorophyll to see if the plants were causing the dog's exhaustion.

A bacteria associated with chlorophyll production comes from different plants, she said, and some species of algae and seaweed produce natural chloroform, so the search led her from chlorophyll to chloroform.

She also was searching for other chemicals, including alcohol, she told defense attorney Jose Baez, because of a recent scare regarding hand sanitizers around small children. And she searched on some injuries, she said, because a friend of hers had recently been in a car accident and suffered head and chest injuries. She was, she said, "looking up specific terminology that someone had asked me to look up."

In a testy cross-examination, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick noted that Cindy Anthony's work schedule showed she was working the days the searches were conducted, March 17 and 21, 2008. The witness said it was possible she could have been home, saying she went home early a couple of days that week.

"Were you or weren't you?" Burdick asked.

"The only thing that triggers that day for me is those computer entries," Cindy Anthony told the Orlando courtroom. "It was not a traumatic day for me like the last three years, so I can't tell you what time I went home."

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008, including first-degree murder. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.

Prosecutors allege Casey Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious, then used duct tape to cover her nose and mouth, suffocating her. Caylee's remains, prosecutors allege, were then put into Casey Anthony's car trunk and eventually disposed of. The girl's skeletal remains were found in a wooded field on December 11, 2008, nearly six months after her family last reported having seen the child.

Defense attorneys say Caylee was not murdered, but that she accidentally drowned in the family pool on June 16, 2008, the day she was last reported to have been seen. They argue that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked and covered up the death. George Anthony has rejected that scenario in his testimony.

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June 22nd, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Expert: Primary compound found in Casey Anthony trunk was gasoline

(CNN) - Chemical testing of air samples from the trunk of Casey Anthony's car primarily showed the presence of gasoline, jurors in Anthony's capital murder trial heard Wednesday.

Other compounds, including chloroform, were also found, but the amount did not appear to be large, University of Central Florida chemist Michael Sigman told jurors in the Orlando courtroom. Testing was not done to determine the amounts, Sigman said, but "they gave very low responses in the instrument."

While some of the compounds found are associated with human decomposition, Sigman told defense attorney J. Cheney Mason, he cannot definitively say that their presence indicated a decomposing body was in the trunk, because there are other natural sources for those compounds as well.

Sigman took the air samples from the trunk, one of which was sent to Arpad Vass at Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Earlier in the trial, Vass testified that testing on a carpet sample from the trunk showed chloroform at a level that was "shockingly high." He also testified the odor in the air samples he received was "extremely overwhelming." He identified it as human decomposition.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts in her daughter's death, including first-degree murder. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.

Prosecutors allege Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious, then used duct tape to cover her nose and mouth, suffocating her. Caylee's remains, prosecutors allege, were then put into Anthony's car trunk and eventually disposed of. The girl's skeletal remains were found in a wooded field on December 11, 2008, nearly six months after her family last reported having seen the child.

Defense attorneys say Caylee was not murdered, but that she accidentally drowned in the family pool on June 16, 2008, the day she was last reported to have been seen. They argue that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked and covered up the death. George Anthony has rejected that scenario in his testimony.

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June 21st, 2011
06:45 PM ET

Prosecutors: Child of fellow Casey Anthony inmate drowned in pool

(CNN) - Prosecutors in the Casey Anthony murder trial said Tuesday they are looking into information regarding a woman who at one point was incarcerated with Anthony, and whose child died in a way similar to how Anthony's defense claims her 2-year-old daughter Caylee died.

The matter was mentioned in a conversation regarding discovery items provided to the defense, after the jurors in Anthony's murder trial were allowed to leave the Orlando courtroom for lunch.

April Whalen's child died in a pool and the child's body was discovered by the child's grandfather, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick told Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr.

Whalen says she never spoke with Anthony, but did not know whether she talked to other inmates, Burdick said. "It's being explored whether there was indirect contact," she said. The information came from a citizen who called the Orange County Sheriff's Office late last week, suggesting the two could have been in contact, Burdick said.

Asked by Perry, Burdick said she does not currently plan to have Whalen testify, but the information could become relevant.

According to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, Whalen's 15-month-old son, Isaiah Whalen, drowned in a backyard pool on Christmas Day 2007. The boy's grandfather performed CPR and called 911 upon finding him in the pool, Burdick said in court Tuesday.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with seven counts in her daughter's death, including first-degree murder. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.

Prosecutors allege Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious, then used duct tape to cover her nose and mouth, suffocating her. Caylee's remains, prosecutors allege, were then put into Anthony's car trunk and eventually disposed of. The girl's skeletal remains were found in a wooded field on December 11, 2008, nearly six months after her family last reported seeing her.

Defense attorneys say Caylee was not murdered, but that she accidentally drowned in the family pool on June 16, 2008, the day she was last seen. They argue that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked and covered up the death. George Anthony has rejected that scenario in his testimony.

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