The State of Florida v. Casey Marie Anthony Amanda Cohen, Patrick Cusack, & Solomon Goodwin-Simmons

On July 15, 2008, two-year-old Caylee Anthony of Florida was reported missing by her grandmother Cindy Anthony. Cindy claimed she had not seen Caylee in thirty-one days.

Caylee Anthony

Casey Anthony was born on March 19, 1986 in Warren Ohio to Cindy and George Anthony. Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Casey frequently lied. When Casey’s family attended her high school graduation, they were surprised to find out Casey would not graduate since she was a few credits short. Casey had stopped going to school at the end of the school year, without telling anyone. Then, when she was 19, Casey appeared to have gained weight. When her mother asked her if she was pregnant, Casey claimed it was impossible since she was a virgin. A few months later, Casey admitted she was with child. Casey was unsure of the father’s identity. On August 9, 2005, Caylee was born.

Casey Anthony

The Casey Anthony murder case began on June 15th, 2008. Casey claimed that she last saw her daughter, Caylee Anthony, on that day when she dropped her off at her babysitter’s house. One month later, on July 15th, Cindy Anthony, Casey’s mother, reported to a 911 operator that her granddaughter had been missing for a month.

"There's something wrong. I found my daughter's car today and it smells like there's been a dead body in the ... car." - Cindy Anthony

Following her mother’s phone call, Casey was arrested. She explained to police that she had dropped Caylee off with her babysitter, Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, and that on her return neither Gonzalez nor Caylee were at the home. After minimal investigation, Casey’s claims were proven false when police discovered the apartment where Gonzalez lived had stood vacant for one hundred forty days. Casey was once again arrested, this time for child neglect.

A bond hearing for Casey Anthony was held on July 22nd. At this hearing it was revealed that investigators had found strands of hair similar to Caylee’s in the trunk of Casey’s car. Additionally, cadaver dogs had hit on the scent of human decomposition in the car’s trunk.

On September 1st the Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced their opinion that Caylee Anthony was deceased.

Shortly thereafter, on October 14th, Casey Anthony was charged with the first-degree murder of her daughter Caylee. Additional charges included aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, and multiple counts of providing false information to law enforcement. Ten days later, police announced that evidence of body decomposition and traces of chloroform were found in Casey’s car. At this point no body had been found. However, on December 11th a skull and skeletal remains of a child were recovered less than a mile from the Anthony home. On the 19th, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed through DNA analysis that these were the remains of Caylee Anthony.

The Location of Caylee's Skeletal Remains
Caylee Anthony's Skeletal Remains

It was not until June 19, 2009 that Caylee Anthony’s autopsy report was released. At this point, cause of death was determined to be homicide by undetermined means.

The Autopsy Report of Caylee Anthony

On December 18, 2009, Judge Stan Strickland determined that Casey Anthony could face the death penalty. After eleven days of jury selection, The State of Florida v. Casey Marie Anthony case began on May 24, 2011.

On May 25, 2011 the defense, led by Jose Baez, opened with the claim that Caylee had drowned in the family pool. Baez argued that Casey’s father George Anthony attempted to help his daughter hide the death. The defense also stated that Casey had been sexually abused by her father and brother.

Defense Attorney Jose Baez
George and Cindy Anthony

The prosecution, led by Jeff Ashton, used various pieces of physical evidence (hair samples, duct tape samples, the autopsy report, etc.) and testimonies from a K9 handler and George Casey, among others, to argue that Casey was responsible for her daughter's murder. Although Ashton had over 400 pieces of evidence, much of his argument was circumstantial.

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton

The trial concluded on July 3, 2011 after closing arguments were made by Baez and prosecutor Jeff Ashton. On July 5, 2011, 3 years after Caylee’s disappearance, Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murder. She was also not charged with manslaughter. In fact, all Anthony was convicted of was four counts of providing false information to police. For each count she could receive up to a year in prison.

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