The Casey Anthony murder trial jury has been instructed by Judge Belvin Perry and sent to the deliberation room, where they have already begun to decide Ms. Anthony’s fate. Earlier today, the prosecution delivered its rebuttal of the defense’s closing arguments.
The tag team of Jeff Ashton and Linda Drane Burdick conducted the rebuttal. Ashton spent an hour explaining scientific evidence and rebutting Baez’s charge that George Anthony was completely lacking in “paternal instinct.” (I didn’t know there was such a thing in the first place.) Frankly, I snoozed through part of Mason’s part of the rebuttal. (I know, I know. Some damn reporter I am!)
Burdick’s rebuttal was polished, prepared and presented to perfection. Mocking Baez’s introductory comments, in which Baez had described his “biggest fear” as emotionality governing the jurors’ decision, Burdick asked, “Want to know what my greatest fear is?” Her biggest fear was that common sense would be lost in all the rhetoric. Further exhorting the jury to use their God given brains to make their decision, she noted, “We spent two weeks in Clearwater finding people who could separate the forest from the trees.”
Next, Burdick addressed Ms. Anthony’s penchant for lying. “She not only lies, but also accuses others of lying to divert attention from herself.” With her lies, Casey bought time for 31 days. Burdick again referred to Baez’s closing argument, “The defense accused the State of using the events of those 31 days to prove that Ms. Anthony is a slut. Really???” Burdick referred back to Casey’s original statement to police about Caylee’s ostensible disappearance. “The only truth on on that statement were Caylee’s name and date of birth!” The rest was a big lie.
Rebutting the loquacious grief expert, who essentially said that grief can take on many forms for different people — in other words, any behavior is fair game — Burdick noted that guilty behavior follows a pattern that rarely varies. Lying is, of course, a major part of that behavior pattern. Casey’s prevarication was particularly creative. “When you go to describe Casey Anthony’s behavior, you need only two words: pathological liar.”
“The only remaining question is who killed Caylee Anthony,” said Burdick. Ms. Anthony’s lies changed to suit the circumstances of the moment, until no more lies could protect her. Once Caylee’s body was found, the lies painted the death as some kind of accident. The prosecution had used the phone call between Casey (in jail) and Cindy Anthony around the time of that gruesome discovery. “They’re now saying she could have drowned,” said Cindy. Casey responded by saying, “Surprise, surprise.” Flat affect. No emotion.
“No person,” asserted Burdick, “would make the accidental death of a child look like a murder!”
Burdick reiterated Dr. Jan Garavaglia’s comment that in one hundred per cent of all accidental child death cases that have passed through her office, 911 was called. People’s first instinct is to save the child, not figure out how to stash the body after an accident. A grandfather who had doted upon his only granddaughter to the point where she was the light of his life would not have discovered Caylee floating face down in the pool and then bagged her and dumped her in a swamp. If George Anthony was so diabolical, why did he exhort Casey to talk to the police so many times?
On the other hand, Casey exhibited contempt for her family and anyone who got in her way. Burdick played the recording of another jailbound Casey Anthony phone call, in which she tore apart her mother for her media interviews, jumped on her brother’s case for not giving her Tony’s (Casey’s boyfriend of the time) phone number, berated a friend, and wound up the conversation admonishing that friend, Christine, “All they want is to get Caylee back. That’s all they want.”
As she wrapped up, Linda Drane Burdick advised the jury to ask themselves whose life would improve if Caylee was dead. “That’s all you need to answer when you decide who killed Caylee.” She then displayed a picture of Casey’s tattoo to punctuate her finale with a visual exclamation point. The tattoo reads: “Bella Vita”. That’s “Beautiful Life” in Italian.
After the conclusion of LDB’s rebuttal, José Baez introduced a mistrial motion, which was denied.
All that remained was Judge Perry’s instructions to the jury defining points of law and definitions regarding the charges against Casey Anthony. These instructions were what was hashed out during the famous “charge conference” I mentioned yesterday, as well as descriptions of the printed jury forms the jurors would use and standard jury instructions. Perry told the jury that five of them will be separated from the rest and given separate, additional instructions. These are the alternates, who do not get to participate in deliberations.
Judge Perry had told the lawyers that in most trials, he excuses the alternates, who are then free to walk out the back door and go on about their business. “This trial is different,” he said. “The bookers have arrived in town and they’re looking to book people associated with this trial for TV shows and what not.” Therefore, Perry wanted to protect the alternates while the trial is still in progress. Instead of letting them go, they will continue to be sequestered until the verdict is rendered and sentencing concludes.
Once again, I ask how long do you think those 12 people will require to arrive at a verdict? Bill Shaeffer, legal expert from WFTV, has predicted 3-5 days. The judge has announced that the jury will deliberate until 6 pm tonight. Recall that the O.J. Simpson jury required only four hours to come back with their verdict; however, I doubt that this one will be so cut and dried. There are many options for a wide range of charges to be decided among. Three of the counts are related to the death of the child and four more counts are related to providing false information to police officers, the latter obviously being a slam-dunk.
As to the verdict itself, following the rebuttals given by Ashton and Burdick, my mind is now wrapping around first degree murder. What do you think?