Thursday, May 26, 2011

Casey Anthony trial: Witness testimony continues after tense jury selection

A central Florida mother charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter wiped away tears Thursday as her ex-boyfriend described to jurors affectionate moments Casey Anthony shared with her toddler. Anthony Lazarro testified under questioning from Anthony’s defense attorney that she taught Caylee how to swim and regularly displayed affection for her daughter. Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death. She has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have offered strikingly different portrayals of Anthony. Prosecutors have gotten witnesses to testify that Anthony never seemed upset during the time Caylee disappeared. Defense attorneys have coaxed witnesses to testify that Anthony was a loving mother. Caylee was last seen June 16, 2008. Prosecutors said Caylee died from three pieces of duct tape being placed over her mouth and nose, while the attorney for Anthony, 25, has claimed the toddler accidentally drowned in her grandparents’ pool. Thursday’s testimony continued to portray very different pictures of Casey Anthony and her relationship with daughter Caylee Anthony. As Elizabeth Flock explained: The trial of Casey Anthony, a 25-year-old woman acused of murdering her two-year-old daughter in 2008 opened in Orlando on Tuesday with stunning new revelations. During this week’s proceedings, prosecution and defense attorneys presented vastly different accounts of how Anthony’s daughter, Caylee, had died. For the first time, prosecutors said Caylee Anthony died from three pieces of duct tape being placed over her mouth and nose while a defense attorney for the mother claimed the toddler drowned in the family pool and the little girl’s grandfather covered up the accident. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with first-degree murder but has pleaded not guilty to the crime. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death. An autopsy was never able to conclude a cause of death for Caylee. No witnesses saw what happened to 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, and only her killer knows exactly how she died. No one has confessed. So when her mother, Casey Anthony, goes to trial Tuesday on murder charges, the jury’s decision will likely come down to forensic evidence. Prosecutors plan to have jurors smell the odor from her car, present evidence of chloroform in the 1998 Pontiac Sunfire and present photos that they say show her partying with friends after her daughter disappeared. They also likely will seek testimony from a botanist, a hair and fiber examiner from an FBI lab, and a cadaver dog handler. Anthony’s defense attorneys plan to present testimony from an expert in the new field of touch DNA, an entomologist and Dr. Henry Lee, a famous forensics expert who has worked on the O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and JonBenet Ramsey cases. “It is going to be a battle of experts,” said Karin Moore, a law professor at Florida A&M University in Orlando. “They don’t have a confession. They don’t have an eyewitness. They don’t have direct evidence. They are relying on forensic science that is circumstantial, at best.”

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