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Second Day of Deliberations in Casey Anthony Trial

1:36 PM, Jul 5, 2011   |    comments
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By Ashley Hayes, CNN

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jurors in the Casey Anthony capital murder trial began a second day of deliberations Tuesday to determine if the 25-year-old Orlando woman is guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter.

Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. called jurors into the courtroom briefly Tuesday before sending them out to continue their deliberations about 8:30 a.m.

Deliberations began Monday after prosecutors completed closing arguments in the case and the panel received instructions from Perry. He released the jurors for the day at 6 p.m., some five hours and 50 minutes after they got the case.

Casey Anthony 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 she denies harming her daughter Caylee.

Prosecutors allege that Anthony 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.

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. Anthony and her father, George, 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 Anthony's mother, Cindy, called police after tracking her daughter down and demanding answers.

During deliberations, Anthony is being held in the courthouse building, according to court spokeswoman Karen Levey.

Prosecutors are close by, and defense attorneys may be in their workroom in the courthouse, she said. 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 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.

Prosecutors have maintained Anthony's motive was that she wanted to be a then-22-year-old unburdened by the responsibilities of motherhood.

"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," prosecutor Jeff Ashton told jurors Sunday.

But the defense in closing arguments pointed to a lack of concrete evidence against Casey Anthony.

"I probably think you have more questions than you have answers," defense attorney Jose Baez told jurors in his closing argument Sunday. The central one, he said, remains how Caylee died -- a question, he said, that is yet to be answered.

Earlier Monday, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick said Anthony's actions, particularly those in the 31 days after Caylee went missing and before police were notified, speak volumes about her guilt.

During those 31 days, Anthony's friends and acquaintances testified she was shopping, hitting nightclubs and staying with her boyfriend, but did not tell them Caylee was missing.

If they asked her daughter's whereabouts, they said, she often said Caylee was with her nanny, a woman she identified as Zenaida Gonzalez. She later claimed Gonzalez had kidnapped Caylee after confronted by her family and authorities.

Police were never able to find the nanny, and she along with several other people Anthony spoke of are believed not to exist. Authorities did find a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez, but she denied ever meeting the Anthonys.

On Monday, Ashton told the panel that some of the theories put forth by defense attorney Jose Baez do not make sense, particularly that Anthony's father, George, was somehow involved in covering up Caylee's accidental drowning.

It is nonsensical that George Anthony, as part of that cover-up, would have put duct tape on the child's mouth before placing her body in the woods, Ashton said. "People don't make accidents look like murder," he said. "That's absurd."

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.

On Sunday, Ashton outlined the state's case against Anthony, touching on her many lies to her parents and others, the smell in her car's trunk -- identified by several witnesses as the odor from human decomposition -- and the items found with Caylee's remains.

The defense's theories, Ashton told jurors, "require you to suspend your common sense," likening them to "a trip down a rabbit hole" into a world where loving grandfathers do nothing when they find their granddaughter dead; cover up an accident; and where "a man who buries his pets will take the granddaughter who is the love of his life and throw her in a swamp. This is the world the defense invites you to occupy."

Baez on Sunday said the drowning is "the only explanation that makes sense." He showed jurors a photograph of Caylee opening the home's sliding glass door by herself. There were, he said, no child safety locks in the home. Both of Anthony's parents, George and Cindy, testified that Caylee could get out of the house easily, he said.

Although Cindy Anthony testified that Caylee could not put the ladder on the side of the pool and climb up, Baez alleged that Cindy Anthony may have left the ladder up the night before. She didn't admit to doing so in testimony, he said, but "how much guilt would she have knowing it was her that left the ladder up that day?"

Baez on Sunday told jurors his biggest fear is that they will base their verdict on emotions, not evidence.

Burdick told jurors Monday her biggest fear is that common sense will not prevail among all the rhetoric in the case, and they will fail to look at the big picture.

Baez blamed Anthony's behavior on her dysfunctional family situation. "These people are different," Baez said of the Anthony family. "This girl is different. And this is why she behaved in this way."

He dismissed the state's alleged motive as "nonsense." "She had no motive," he said of his client. "Casey treated Caylee well. She loved that child."

But, Burdick told jurors, "There's nothing that's wrong with Casey Anthony that can't be explained in two words -- pathological liar."

CNN

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