|World's Worst Mother?|
Just now, the jury's verdict was read to the court: Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter, but only guilty of giving false information to a police officer.
The evidence seemed strong that the mother, Casey Anthony, killed her two year old daughter and lied over and over again to hide the fact that Caylee died in her custody and her body dumped in a wooded area.
Casey changed her story in court, claiming that the little girl drowned accidentally in a swimming pool, duct tape placed over her mouth and nose to make the death appear to be a kidnapping and murder. When Caylee's body was found six months after her death, the tape was still attached to her skeletal remains. Casey claimed that it was her own father who assisted her in applying the tape and dumping his granddaughter's body. Her father denied this.
The prosecution argued that it was highly unlikely that anyone would try to disguise an accidental death as a murder -- for what purpose? And what kind of parent (or grandparent) would want to toss their dead child or grandchild into a wood instead of burying it? The only possible reason for dumping the body would be to conceal the manner of death through autopsy -- and it probably wasn't by drowning.
Casey had shown no remorse over the death of her daughter, claiming her lack of remorse was somehow caused by being molested by her father as a young girl. Her father denied this. Further, Casey's computer showed multiple web searches for chloroform and methods of killing someone.
Casey's mother testified that it was she who made these searches for implausible reasons, but her work computer shows she was at work when the web searches occurred. Critics have claimed that Casey's mom was trying to disprove "premeditation" from Casey in order to avoid the death penalty for her daughter -- and that is why she pretended to be the source of the web searches (from Casey's computer).
No doubt the verdict will anger many people. This feels like the O.J. verdict all over again.
Read about Casey's sordid past and details of the
Update: Here is the verdict and the case as reported by the New York Times.
Update: Casey was acquitted because the only evidence against her was circumstantial. However, circumstantial evidence can be used to convict someone of murder. This appears to have been the case of Scott Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife Laci in 2002. He was found guilty and sentenced to death in 2005. According to Wikpedia:
In later press appearances, members of the jury stated that they felt that Peterson's demeanor—specifically, his lack of emotion, and the phone calls to Amber Frey in the days following Laci's disappearance—indicated that he was guilty. They based their verdict on "hundreds of small 'puzzle pieces' of circumstantial evidence that came out during the trial, from the location of Laci Peterson's body to the myriad lies her husband told after her disappearance." They also decided on the death penalty because they felt Peterson betrayed his responsibility to protect his wife and son.
See description of that case here.