The Casey Anthony trial of 2011 is a murder case in which 25-year-old Casey Marie Anthony was charged for the murder of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Marie Anthony in Orlando, Florida. The case was reported by Caylee’s maternal grandparent Cindy Anthony who had noted not seeing Caylee for almost a month. Although Casey had given false statements regarding the disappearance of her daughter, she was openly charged with first-degree murder in October 2008 in which she pleaded not guilty (Hayes, 2011). Some of the false statements entered by the accused included the claim that the girl’s nanny had kidnapped her. Casey stated that although she was scared of alerting the authorities, she was trying to find her daughter. It is, however, important to note that the Casey Anthony’s case became complicated when skeleton remains of her daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony, were found in a blanket inside a trash bag located in a wooded area near the family home. There was a duct tape on the girl’s mouth. Following the initial reports by Caylee’s maternal grandmother, Cindy Anthony, she felt as though Casey’s car smelled like a dead body had been put inside. Upon medical examination of the skull, both medical examiners and investigators defined the child’s death as homicide.
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Further, the trial lasted a total of 6 weeks in which the prosecution led by Jeff Ashton demanded the death penalty for the accused as they openly argued that Casey Anthony resorted to murdering her small daughter by using chloroform and applying duct tape in a bid to free herself from parenthood. Despite this strong argument, Casey Anthony was found not guilty since the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was involved in the death of her daughter. During the trial, the court found Casey Anthony innocent of killing her child. This ruling was found as an insult to justice by both the public and the prosecution team. This is mainly because they had a fixed mind that Casey Anthony was guilty with or without the trial verdict.
The evidence presented during the trial included a strand of hair taken from the trunk of Casey’s car that was biologically similar to that taken from the child’s hairbrush, a photography from Casey’s ex-boyfriend with a caption “Win her over with chloroform”, a blanket found on the scene that matched Caylee’s beddings at her grandparents’ house, and a picture of the girl smiling before her death. It is, however, important to note that although all these evidences were real, they could be termed as circumstantial mainly because they lacked adequate connection to the accused.
Although the prosecution was eager to hold someone responsible for the death of the girl, it can be noted that they had no specific evidence or DNA to tie Casey directly to the murder of her daughter. Therefore, some of the key critical evidence that the prosecution failed to provide included fingerprints of the accused or physical evidence that would clearly connect her to the murder of her daughter (Bello & Welch, 2011). Through the admission of this evidence, the court established that although the accused had lied to detectives about her daughter’s whereabouts, she was not involved in the circumstances that led to her untimely death. For example, the statement of Cindy Anthony she used while calling the police “Her car smells like a dead body had been kept in” helped the court establish that both the prosecutor and the general public were driven by intense emotions. As a result, this limited their ability to make rational arguments on the case.
The key role of the witness testimony presented in the court was to determine whether Casey Anthony was guilty or innocent. For example, by asking the lead medical examiner of Caylee Marie Anthony’s skull to testify, the prosecution sought to demonstrate that the child’s death was premeditated as an act of homicide. On the other hand, the defense team called on the forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz who performed the second autopsy on the child in a bid to counteract the initial testimony presented by the prosecution witness (Hopper, 2011). Through this, it can be noted that the expert evidence presented during this particular trial was to enhance the general balance and objectivity of the jurors in passing their verdict.
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