Prosecutor Linda Drake Burdick delivered the prosecution’s opening statement in the trial of Casey Anthony in the death of her daughter Caylee. Anthony, 25, is charged with first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravated child abuse and providing false information to law enforcement.
In a damning day-by-day rundown of Anthony’s actions in the 31 days before police were notified of Caylee’s disappearance, Burdick laid out a pattern of lies to family and law enforcement, suspicious activity and evident indifference. Anthony was as depicted lying to her family as to her and Caylee’s whereabouts, partying at downtown Orlando nightclubs, renting movies from Blockbusters, shopping at area malls and getting tattooed.
Casey Anthony presented a much different persona on the first day of her trial than the pretty, smiling, laughing, seemingly involved woman seen during jury selection. When she wasn’t shaking her head “no” at some of the prosecutor’s statements, or crying, she alternately appeared grim, stoic, dour, angry and ten years older.
Burdick gave a detailed description of the first day of Caylee’s disappearance in June, 2008, beginning with Anthony’s claim that she left her parents house on June 16th at 4 p.m., but her father saw her leave closer to 1 p.m. She told her parents she and Caylee would be spending the night with a nanny, when in fact, Anthony spent the night at her boyfriend Tony Lazzaro’s apartment, without Caylee. A neighbor is said to have seen Anthony’s car backed in her parents’ garage on June 17th and 18th, stating that on the 18th, Anthony asked to borrow a shovel, and returned it about an hour later, apparently unused.
In the following days and weeks, in response to her parents’ queries as to where Caylee was, Anthony told them a series of lies, claiming she was with a nanny or various friends. She told tales of being in Tampa on a work conference, in Jacksonville with friends, at Busch Gardens and other locations, while all the time she was nearby at Lazarro’s apartment. When Lee Anthony, Casey’s brother, saw on Facebook that she planned to be at an Orlando nightclub, he went searching for her. When Casey learns this, she leaves the area.
On July 15, George and Cindy Anthony, the registered owners of Casey’s car, get a letter from a tow yard that they have the vehicle, the retrieval of which leads to the notification of police of Caylee’s disappearance. After getting the car home and not being able to reach Casey, Cindy searched the car, found a phone number for a friend of Casey’s named Amy, who leads Cindy to Lazarro’s apartment where she finds Casey and drags her home.
After futile attempts by the family to get Casey to tell them where Caylee is, they call police. This is when Casey begins to claim that Caylee has been kidnapped by “Zani the Nanny,” and leads police on a wild goose chase. When police learn that Casey has lied about working at Universal Studios, she is arrested. The car is seized and cadaver dogs confirm that a dead body has been in the car, and they also react to a spot in the Anthony’s back yard near Caylee’s playhouse. Other tests confirm trace amounts of chloroform.
The prosecution also laid out how computer searches were made over a week’s time in March of 2008 for terms including “chloroform,” “How to make chloroform,” “alcohol,” “acetone,” “peroxide,” “How to make weapons from household items,” “neck breaking,” “inhallation, “death” and “shovel.” The prosecutions claims that George and Cindy Anthony were at work, and Casey is the only one who could have made these searches.
Finally, the prosecution describes the discovery of Caylee’s remains on December 11, 2008, a block from the Anthony home and, in what I consider an inflammatory, unnecessary statement, in site of the school Caylee would be attending if she were alive. The prosecution will attempt to connect the duct tape found on the remains to duct tape originating from the Anthony home.
This is certainly a damning presentation and there does not seem to be any logical or acceptable reason for Anthony’s actions in the month before Caylee was reported missing. My original opinion on this case was that Caylee died as a result of neglect, mishap or parental misconduct, not intentional murder. Anthony’s demeanor on during the prosecution’s opening statement is perhaps understandable for a murder defendant claiming innocence. But there was just something very different in her eyes today that gave me the feeling she may indeed have purposely killed her daughter.
Defense opening statements are yet to be heard, however, and many of these accusations by the prosecution may be explained or negated. I do not envy this jury.