The Casey Anthony Murder Trial: A Modern American Tragedy

Dec 5, 2011 - by Claudette Walker

casey anthony murder trial book cover

 

by Claudette Walker & Matrix Filia

 

Permission granted for use of the following experts from the book to Crime Magazine by Abacus Books, Inc. Copyright © 2011 by Abacus Books, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

With Postscript  by Laura Schultz, MFT

Excerpt from Chapter 1

WHY?

No other single word is less relevant or more relevant in the death of Caylee Anthony. A lovely child, she was allowed only 34 months to dance on this earth.

Caylee Anthony, not quite three years old, had been missing for 31 days before a police report was filed. That, we believe, is what brought worldwide media attention to this case. Since that day, the media has brought every detail they could find to the attention of the public, including the arrest of the child’s mother, who will be tried for first-degree murder over the next month.

The media has provided us with everything from pictures of the beautiful child to pictures of the mother out dancing during the 31 days she did not report her child missing. We have heard the 911 calls and seen thousands of pages of discovery documents filed in the court by the prosecution and defense for the upcoming criminal case. All which are available online in a click, from the media. TV coverage from the Discovery Channel, 48 Hours, Geraldo Rivera, True TV, and Nancy Grace has played week after week during the three years the criminal charges have been pending. Some of that coverage has been because of the peculiarities of the case, some of it because the defendant is a pretty young white woman, and some of it because of Florida’s position among the top five states in both death row population and the imposition of executions.

The mother, Casey Anthony, has been tried in the media and presumed guilty by most who have heard the massive media coverage. Now the questions are what of this information will be admissible and what other evidence yet unknown will make the courtroom? Who will judge her on that evidence and what will the result be under the judicial system of the United States of America? 

Lawyers have debated this case on national TV. The defense team’s lawyers have granted interviews for pretrial publicly. To us, that is simply stunning – their job is not to aggrandize themselves but to defend their client, and most of the media interviews seem to be the former and not the latter. Casey has a legal dream team that has been paid in part by her parents, in part by her sale of photos of her child, in part by taxpayers, and in part pro bono (without pay) except for the massive media advertising the lawyers are receiving for free. And the people of the State of Florida are paying for all other costs: investigators, costs of prosecution, discovery documents, hearings, judges, bailiffs, and so forth. The list is unending, and the dollars spent are said to be in the millions.

Excerpt from Chapter 2

 

THE BACKGROUND

The background of this case based on media coverage – At around 1PM on June 16th, 2008, 22-year-old Casey Anthony left her parents home with her nearly three-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony. It was the home where Casey Anthony had been living since before Caylee was born. Despite their repeated requests over the next weeks, Casey told her parents that she was too busy for them to see or talk to their granddaughter.

In mid-July, the grandparents discovered that Casey’s car had been towed. Upon picking up the car from the towing facility, the grandfather told the towing yard employee who took him to the car that the smell made him afraid his daughter and granddaughter could be dead in the trunk. They checked, and found only a bag of trash.

Casey was found by her mother to be living with a boyfriend; she was bought back to the mother’s home, but her three-year-old child was missing. Later that day at the home of her parents, Casey stated that Caylee was with a babysitter, but that Casey did not want to disturb them. She later stated to the grandmother that Caylee had been taken and had been missing for 31 days. The grandmother called 911 and reported Caylee missing.

Casey told investigators that Caylee was with a babysitter. No one had ever seen the babysitter she spoke of, although police eventually located a woman by that name. Detectives began an immediate investigation into Caylee, now missing 31 days, and found many discrepancies in Casey’s statements. Searches for Caylee ensued. Casey was arrested and charged with Neglect of a Child, False Official Statements, and Obstruction of an Investigation. She was jailed, but the child Caylee was still missing.

Caylee’s bodily remains were located in a wooded area on December 11th, 2008. Her body was found approximately a mile from the home Caylee had always known. Hers was a life unlived, given to the world and then taken by someone. Who took Caylee’s life is the question. We are seeking the answer to that question through the police investigation, in the media, and finally in the American judicial system.

The decision of many higher courts to allow media in the courtroom has created this nonstop trial coverage live. It has also created huge problems for the courts in high-profile cases. In this case, the judge, lawyers, the defendant, and courtroom personnel traveled two hours from Orange County to Pinellas County, Florida to attempt to pick an unbiased jury that was less tainted by media coverage. All of the people who came to Pinellas County, our home, stayed in hotels at the expense of the taxpayers for the duration for jury selection. The sole exception was Casey Anthony, who was transported from the Orange County Jail to the Pinellas County Jail, also at taxpayer expense. After two weeks of jury selection, a jury was sworn, and then the Pinellas jury was taken to Orange County for the two months the trial is expected to last. It is the jurors who are sequestered (isolated and locked away without contact from the media, news or other people not in the jury) to minimize the potential for outside influences. They now live in hotels, as they will for the duration of the trial.

In the months leading up to Casey Anthony’s trial, it was our belief based on media coverage only, that Casey Anthony was guilty of second-degree murder and the numerous obstruction charges in the indictment. From the media reports, we believed that Casey Anthony was sedating her daughter in the trunk of the car with chloroform so she could have her freedom, live with her boyfriends, and party. We believed Caylee died from an overdose in the trunk of the car. We did not believe that Casey Anthony had the fully formed intent to kill Caylee, which is among the requirements for first-degree murder, with which Casey was charged. However, we cannot comprehend such malicious, reckless, and self-serving behavior. Thoughts of the needless death of a young child at the hands of another person horrify us, no matter what the circumstances.

We believe Casey Anthony has lied to everyone to cover her daughter’s death, and that she will take anyone down with her to prevent a long jail or death sentence. Her “clever” maneuvering now has her in trial for her life on first-degree murder. Will the evidence hold up? We will also tell you that if we had to judge her guilt or innocence on what we know now from the media coverage, she would walk out free of any charges, for she is innocent until proven guilty. We shall see how or if our opinion changes by the end of our story. Along the way, you will discover who Matrix Filia is and why we chose to write this book.

 

Excerpt from Chapter 21

 

THE WAIT AND THE VERDICT

Everyone waits. It has been said that by the end of Burdick’s closing argument, Casey Anthony and her attorney Simms were both in tears. We did not see this. The jury of twelve men and women began its deliberations in this murder case on the Fourth of July, 2011. They will end deliberations each day at 6 PM. A standard deliberations day will be from 8:30 to 6 PM, until they reach a verdict or become so deadlocked that a mistrial is declared. We expect the jury to be out a week or more to review this evidence, regardless of the verdict. On day one, deliberations last six hours; there is no verdict, and the jury is sequestered for the night.

 

July 5th, 2011

There are no smiles or eye batting as Casey Anthony enters the room. She is stoic and clearly stressed. The lawyers told you this is a smart woman. It appears she is smart enough to understand the gravity of the juror’s deliberations, weighing the evidence on her life. Was there enough evidence or will the jury find Casey not guilty? We believe the four false statement charges are a given. She will be found guilty of those. Six months in the Florida swamp assured we will never know what killed Caylee. We know who she was with that last day she was ever seen; she was with her mother, Casey Anthony. Whatever the jury decides, we will accept it. This is our justice system. However, after watching this entire case, we believe Casey had malice that day. We do not believe Caylee drowned accidentally, and everyone turned an accident into a murder instead of calling 911 in hope of reviving the child. However, we also realize the evidence remaining after Caylee’s “proper burial,” and Casey’s apparent lies and deflecting tactics in court, could affect the jury.

Judge: We will bring the jury in and I will make an inquiry, then they will be discharged to continue their deliberations. Bring the jury in. Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Did you heed all my admonitions? You may be excused to continue your deliberations. We are in recess, subject to the call of the jury.

Day two’s deliberations last another four hours and thirty-three minutes. The verdict is in, and will be read in fifteen minutes. We wait, shocked by the short deliberation on a case with so much technical evidence. The prosecutors look content, and Ashton looks nearly jubilant. Casey Anthony is crying, worried, shocked, chewing her nails, and looks like she is about ready lose it. She has spoken to her lawyer Simms a couple of time. George and Cindy are in the courtroom. George has been crying and wiping his nose. His hands now folded in a prayer pyramid before his face, and then he rubs his hands together. Cindy is stretching her neck. The Anthonys look worried as they talk a little. Casey appears to push herself up with the support of the table, as the judge takes the bench.

Judge: The defense and prosecution are ready. There will be no remarks of approval or disapproval, return the jury. Have you reached a verdict? All jurors: Yes. Judge: Hand the verdicts to the court deputy, please. The judge reviews, tries to remain stoic but looks slightly alarmed for a split second, and passes the verdicts to the clerk to read.

First Degree Murder: Not Guilty

Aggravated Child Abuse: Not Guilty

Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child: Not Guilty

Four Counts of Providing False Statements to Law Enforcement Officers: Guilty of each Count

Judge: I express my sincere thank you for your service. We came in, met with you and took you away from you families. We thank you. Sentencing will be set for Thursday. Ms. Anthony needs to be fingerprinted before the court. Court dismissed.

 

Excerpt from Chapter 22

 

AFTERMATH AND POSTSCRIPT

We will never know the truth of how Caylee died. The discarding of her body into a snake-infested Florida swamp like trash served its purpose. Many answers will always remain unknown. What we do know, is that Caylee will never have the opportunity to grow up, laugh, learn, or finish her time on this earth, because Caylee can’t dance. The Anthony family was faced with a Hobson’s choice, try to keep Casey off death row, or seek justice for Caylee. The changing stories at the end of the trial, the denial of the obvious, told us what we believe was their choice. We do not believe any other family member was involved in the death or disposal of Caylee. Yet, it is very possible their testimony prevented justice for Caylee.

It is our opinion, after looking at the entire trial – the evidence, witnesses, and testimony of experts – that we will never know why Caylee’s life was taken. Was it black malice; revenge on Casey’s own mother for confronting her the night before for the theft from the grandparents? Was it trying to assure Caylee would not noisily wake from the chloroform with tape? Was it because Casey wanted her freedom to go to New York with Tony and live the Bella Vita? Our opinions vary over time, from cold-blooded murder, to an accident while sedating Caylee, to Casey simply becoming as angry as we saw the real Casey Anthony on the jail video.

We believe for a few reasons that Caylee did not drown. The high chloroform levels were there in that car. Maybe a crude chloroform was created from alcohol, chlorine bleach, and nail polish remover or hydrogen peroxide. They are all items in any home. We trust Oak Ridge National Laboratories and its analysis. Second, the gate to the house was unlocked from inside the back yard. We suspect that after Caylee was dead and already in the trunk of the car in the garage, Casey Anthony went out the sliding glass doors to enter the back yard. She closed and locked the doors while calling her mother frantically to make sure her mother had not left work for home. Casey knew her father was at work until late. Perhaps she put the ladder up in the climbing position on the pool. The duct tape and bags were all in the garage for her use. She took the time to wrap the body in the trunk. She left in a hurry, because she was unable to verify where her mother was by phone. She went through the gate, the one that can only be unlocked from inside the yard, to get back to the car in the garage. No one trying to hide a body would carry the body though the gate for all neighbors to see.

She could not go to the house with Caylee’s body on June 17th; her father was home. The following day, when her father was back at work, Casey returned and backed into the garage again, borrowed a shovel to bury Caylee near the dollhouse, laid the decomposing body on the grass by the dollhouse, and then decided her dad might find it. She returned the body to the trunk and the shovel to the neighbor. However, she was still faced with the same dilemma; detective dad might notice something had changed in the back yard, if Casey buried Caylee in the yard. She kept the body in the trunk; she disposed of Caylee when she was smelling decomposition. Late at night, she tossed Caylee into the swamp near her home. After that, every time the car and trunk were aired, the smell went away for a while; only to return each time it was closed up again. That is when she dumped the car.

We believe the idea of drowning came from the police questioning of her at the home and at Universal Studios, and because of media speculation and hype. We believe Cindy was sold on the drowning story by Casey at some point. Casey may have convinced her mother that Cindy was so mad at Casey about the grandfather’s money that she forgot to take the ladder down. This fight is something the jury never heard, but the aunt has come forth on the media to tell of the fight Casey and Cindy had the night before Caylee died. If the aunt’s story is correct, Cindy had learned of the most recent theft only hours before Casey came home in the evening of June 15th, 2008, and Cindy was very angry.

 

POSTSCRIPT

by LAURA SCHULTZ

 

When seemingly average mothers such as the infamous Susan Smith kill their children with an apparent calm and even detached demeanor and deflecting the blame to a non-existent stranger, we are collectively shocked and dismayed. Even after scores of these murders have been committed, many people remain in a state of generalized denial that a woman could actually commit such a callous crime toward a person she has nurtured and protected. The truth is, according to FBI statistics, three to five children a day are killed by a parent in the U.S. Further, homicide remains one of the leading causes of death in children under four.

Still, we hold steadfast in the belief that mothers are incapable of killing their children. Even the most veteran of law enforcement officers and experienced judges may have a difficult time believing that a woman could be capable of such heinous crimes. A common response is that a mother who murders her child must be “insane.” However, often quite the opposite is true. When a child is killed by his/her mother, there are signs that the child is viewed as a mere nuisance or an “object” that requires too much energy or time and gets in the way of the mother’s own desires.

The first and foremost reason that women killers can continue to escape notice for long periods of time, according to some leading experts, is that to the human eye it is very difficult to ascertain whether a woman is an actual killer. The frightening truth is that many female killers have a quiet veneer of normality. For the most part, they appear to be ordinary women living the roles of loving spouse, nurturing mother to their children, and trusted caregivers. For this reason, as well as a still somewhat unchanged societal viewpoint towards women as the more nurturing, physically weaker of the sexes, such killers are thought to be incapable of such horrendous brutality. Consequently, women are less often suspected to be the culprit in the death of their children and even when convicted, often receive lighter sentences than their male counterparts.

The female predator plays on the weaknesses of others to her advantage. By using an uncanny ability to manipulate people’s disbelief regarding their potential to commit murder, these deadly women can continue to live their lives without arousing suspicion. As part of their highly seductive and superficially charming nature, they are more than able and willing to pull off a skillful ruse. They often dress or act in ways to enhance their physical appearance to seem helpless or innocent beyond reproach, particularly during a court appearance or in the first few meetings with a newly intended target of her charm. The targets who she is trying to convince of her innocence may include lawyers, prosecutors and especially, members of her own family.

In order to make an accurate diagnosis of an individual, a professional clinician should be called in to conduct a 1-1 interview and complete a full psychological assessment. However, based on the evidence presented in the State v. Casey Anthony case thus far, including court records, live video feed from the trial, and the massive amounts of information available, there are certain traits of Casey Anthony that are quite visible to a clinician.

Casey Anthony deflects blame away from herself by her insistence that someone else is responsible for her daughter’s death. Her claim of “Zanny the Nanny” abducting and/or killing little Caylee has been proven false. Reporting the disappearance a month after the occurrence is suspicious in and of itself and is highly atypical when a child is missing.

In addition, throughout her taped interviews and conversations with police, not only did her version of the facts repeatedly change, but more telling is the fact that she spoke of her child in the past tense even before the body was discovered. This type of behavior gives very specific clues to a clinician. Her casual demeanor and detached statements as well as her party lifestyle while her child was missing are indicative of someone who has a callous and unstable nature i.e. not the normal grief pattern experienced by a mother who has lost her beloved child.

While being interviewed by Detective Melich, Casey Anthony appeared as if she was talking to friends or colleagues, bantering with officers in a collected and calm, even humorous manner. It was quite stunning to hear her state to Detective Melich, “This in no way means that I would ever do anything or let anything happen or harm come to ‘that child.’ She’s the one thing in this world that I love more than anything.” Her lack of agitation, excitement, sadness, anger, or any emotion whatsoever while speaking of her (at that point) missing child, Caylee, is quite chilling to observe. Though an exact profile cannot be totally accurate from afar, it appears that Casey Anthony lacks a connection with and empathy for her daughter during the trial. There also appeared to be a total disconnect between what the public viewed in pictures of her and of Caylee playing together at home and her mood swings in the courtroom that varied from laughter to anger.

In short, while Caylee was missing (and perhaps dead at that point) Casey’s concerns appeared to be solely about her own welfare and comfort, and her connections with people (even her own parents) seem to be shallow in nature. Her behavior demonstrated a lack of concern about what her child went through, as most parents would during such an ordeal. Casey Anthony has been found not guilty in the death of her daughter. However, the numerous guilty verdicts of making false statements to law enforcement during a missing child investigation, the pattern of behavior, inclusive with videos presented in court, leave us with a myriad of questions.

The death of Caylee Anthony, regardless of the who or how, reminds us that it is important to recognize the number of children who are in danger of death at the hand of a mother every day in America and the world. All of our eyes have been opened to this very real possibility and we as a society must never ignore the silent cry of the children. It is incumbent upon us to look for the signs of unusual behavior in those charged with guarding our most precious resources, our children.

 

This is the opinion of Laura Schultz, Psychotherapist, based on evidence presented in the case and behavioral clues but is NOT an actual clinical evaluation of Casey Anthony.

Laura Schultz has been a licensed psychotherapist (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) in private practice in Los Angeles, California for over 25 years. She has expertise in the field of relationships, sexuality, addiction, and childhood trauma. She is also a freelance writer who has many years of expertise in the true crime arena.

Her treatise called “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Psyche of Serial Killers” is published in Crime Magazine. Her latest essay can be found in Crime Spree Magazine entitled, “Strychnine and Stilettos: The Anatomy of Female Serial Killers”. Additionally, she is a book reviewer in the true crime genre for the New York Journal of Books.

The ebook of The Casey Anthony Murder Trial is available worldwide for $2.99 on Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-casey-anthony-murder-trial-claudette-walker/1104334368?ean=2940012768681 & Amazon for $2.99  The bound book is $19.95 on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Casey-Anthony-Murder-Trial/dp/0971629277/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1319637520&sr=8-2 and through Ingram Book Distributors.

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