It’s been almost two years since the trial of Casey Anthony and I still find myself comparing so many cases that I read about and follow to her case. But the truth is, no two cases are the same and there is no way I could successfully compare her case to another and have it make sense.
I have lived in Orlando for nearly eight years. I was here when Caylee was missing and I was here when Casey made bond and I was here for the trial. Being a local in the town where such a high profile case is taking place meant that there was no silence in this case. Everything, all the time, was Casey Anthony. In fact, I lived about three blocks from the Orange County courthouse and never had I ever seen reporters literally set up a campground in the vacant lots surrounding it before the Casey Anthony trial went underway.
Anyway, I tried to follow and watch the trial as much as I could, but a lot of it was hard to watch. It was draining. I was unemployed at the time, and I was already depressed as it was about my not being “good enough” for a job, but watching this trial all day each day made me sink further into sadness, so I tried to not let it consume me.
On the fifth day of the trial, I started laughing while hearing Jose Baez make his ridiculous claims. It was then that I realized, and knew, without a doubt, that there was no way a jury could convict her. This trial was an absolute circus. The more I watched from that point on, the more I realized that I was right. I knew the verdict would come back “not guilty,” despite what the court of public opinion believed.
My mom thought I was crazy. My mom’s mom thought I was crazy. And I think that they thought that me saying that the jury would find her “not guilty” meant that I thought that Casey was innocent. “Not guilty” does not mean innocent in a trial. It means that the jury came to the conclusion that there is not enough evidence to support that this person absolutely, without a doubt, no questions asked, did commit this crime. And that was exactly what happened in this case.
I have to hand it to Casey. She committed the perfect crime. It rarely happens these days, especially with DNA coming as far as it has in recent years. DNA evidence (fingerprints, footprints, hairs, fibers, blood) makes it damn-near impossible to commit such a crime and get away with it. But she did. And that is what brought this jury to no other conclusion other than “not guilty.”
1. There was no crime scene. There are many speculations on what was the potential crime scene in this case. The family pool, the car, Casey’s bedroom, Caylee’s bedroom. But the facts are this: we do not know where this crime actually took place. There are no fingerprints to gather, no footprints, and no fibers to gather to try to place Casey at the crime scene, because there is no crime scene. The closest thing that came to a “crime scene” was where Caylee’s body was found but I do not think anyone believes the actual crime took place in that swamp. And even if it did, it is just that — a swamp. Water washes away evidence. Especially when it’s been sitting there for six months through many torrential storms.
2. Since there was no crime scene, there are no eyewitnesses. If there is no place where they can determine this crime took place, then there is no way that anyone can come forward and say that they saw it happen. There were no eyewitnesses that said, for instance, they saw Casey put Caylee in the trunk. Or saw Casey throw Caylee’s lifeless body into the swamp. There was no one who personally saw Casey doing anything to Caylee that could make a jury arrive to the conclusion that she did in fact kill Caylee and dispose of her body.
3. There is no cause of death. If the medical examiner could have determined an exact cause to Caylee’s death, I think that may have been a factor that could have possibly swayed the jury one way or the other. If her cause of death was determined to be strangulation, for example, then we would know that someone would have had to strangle Caylee for her to die. Caylee could not have strangled herself. If the cause of death was determined to be that she drowned, then there would be that possibility that she accidentally drowned, not that someone purposefully drowned her. If the cause of death was determined to be neck-breaking, then that could have gone hand-in-hand with the internet searches that were found on the family’s computer. But the fact is this: there was no cause of death that was able to be determined. Therefore, it could have been anything. That is quite possibly the biggest factor that worked to Casey’s advantage, and that was the amount of time the body had to decompose to get rid of all evidence that could have been on the body to determine a cause of death.
4. There was no hard evidence. When the death penalty is on the table (like it was in this case), these days, juries need to see hard evidence so they know that if they are going to put someone to death, they absolutely have the right person. The death penalty was going to be a possibility for Casey if she was convicted of first-degree murder and I think that made the jury nervous. So, they needed to have hard evidence that makes it absolutely irrefutable that this person committed this crime. And in the case of Casey Anthony, there was no hard evidence. The closest thing they had to “hard” evidence was the supposed “smell of a dead body,” and smell is an interesting thing when it comes to the law. Smell is something that can very from person to person. It’s something that one person may perceive one way, but the next person could perceive it another way. It’s not like you can smell something and say, “yep, that person is dead!” It’s completely subjective to the person smelling. Kind of like a “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” situation. It’s not like they can preserve the smell in a jar and pass it around and have everyone agree with what it smells like. It can’t be shown on a slide, it can’t be seen on a surveillance tape, and it can’t be heard on a recording. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a case where “smell” determined someone’s fate or was held up in the court as hard evidence. Because, it is just not hard evidence.
I could continue to make points here, but I think that I would really just end up with an outline of points that all fell under each one of these major categories.
I believe that this jury actually did their duty as a whole. They followed the law, and they went off of the evidence that was presented in the trial. If any person bases this case off of this trial alone (not off of emotions or what the news or media says), then I believe that they would come to the exact same conclusion. I do not believe that there is one jury member who believes that Casey is innocent. In fact, I think if they all could talk to me (or anyone else) as a whole, they would all say that they absolutely think she did it, but there just was not evidence given in the trial to support a guilty verdict.
I believe that this was not a case of the jury “buying the defense’s story,” either. It makes me mad to hear people say that the jury (and myself, since I believed so early they would find her not guilty) believed Jose Baez’s claims and his defense strategy. Because I can almost guarantee that they did not believe it. And that’s the other thing about this case — you didn’t have to believe the defense to come to a “not guilty” verdict.
I also do not believe that Jose is the “one person” who swayed the jury. I can almost say, too, that he doesn’t deserve credit for the verdict. (But that’s not the case since it wasn’t a single person who was responsible for the verdict) He is not some amazing lawyer that got a guilty person acquitted. He was a defense lawyer that represented Casey as she is entitled to have by law. Because I guarantee, too, that it was not his story that made the jury go, “Oh yeah…maybe she didn’t do it. Maybe George did do it! Let’s find Casey not guilty.”
No. Not going to happen.
Thank you, jury of the Casey Anthony trial. You did your job. You followed the law. And you came to correct conclusion based on what was presented in this trial. And maybe some of you know that though you may have found her “not guilty,” you do not have the last word. God will be the ultimate Judge of Casey and He knows what really happened to that child.