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On July 17, 2011, Casey Anthony is released from jail in Orlando, Florida, after being acquitted on charges that she killed her 2-year-old daughter. Caylee Anthony was last seen alive with her mother on June 16, 2008, leaving the Orlando home they shared with Casey Anthony’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony. Casey Anthony waited a month to report her daughter missing, and when questioned by police in mid-July, she told them a nanny had kidnapped her daughter. On October 14, 2008, Anthony was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and lying to police. On December 11th of that year, Caylee’s skeletal remains were found in a wooded area less than a mile from George and Cindy Anthony’s house.
The prosecution alleged that Casey Anthony killed Caylee by giving her chloroform, covering her mouth with duct tape and later disposing of her body in the woods. They also argued that Anthony was motivated to commit the murder so she could live a carefree lifestyle, and they showed the jury photographs of her partying with friends during the time her child was missing. The defense argued Caylee had accidentally drowned in her grandparent’s swimming pool, and her death had been made to look like a homicide by Casey and her father George. Acknowledging that Casey Anthony had provided false information to the police, her lead attorney, Jose Baez, claimed she had been sexually abused by her father and had been trained to lie all her life. George Anthony took the witness stand and denied the allegations against him; Casey Anthony never testified during her trial. Because Caylee’s body was badly decomposed by the time it was discovered, experts were unable to determine the exact cause and time of her death. Additionally, there were no witnesses or direct physical evidence to link Casey Anthony to the crime. On July 5, 2011, after deliberating for less than 11 hours, a jury found Anthony not guilty on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. They did convict her on four lesser counts of providing false information to law enforcement officials. She was sentenced to four years in jail; however, with credit for time served and good behavior, she was released on July 17th.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California 1849-1949. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following link: