Casey Anthony trial: why emotional day could bolster defense
Casey Anthony's brother and mother both took tear-filled turns on the stand Friday, as the defense tried to paint a more human portrait of a dysfunctional family.
Jurors at the Casey Anthony murder trial heard more tearful testimony on Friday from Ms. Anthony’s mother, Cindy, and her brother, Lee, who broke down after admitting he felt hurt that no one in the family would discuss with him Casey’s pregnancy.Skip to next paragraph
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“I was very angry at my mom and my sister, that they didn’t want to include me and didn’t find it important enough to tell me,” Lee Anthony said on the witness stand, his voice breaking.
Tears ran down his face. “I was very hurt,” he added.
Across the courtroom, defendant Ms. Anthony was also crying, dabbing her face with a tissue.
The emotional moment was important for the defense case because it seems to support claims that the Anthony family was strangely dysfunctional – to the extent that Mrs. Anthony did not recognize her daughter was expecting a child until seven months into the pregnancy, that Ms. Anthony was apparently unable to admit her condition to her mother or anyone else, and that no one in the family acknowledged the obvious situation to Mr. Anthony, who lived in the bedroom next to Casey’s.
Mr. Anthony was so upset at the exclusion, he testified, that he declined to visit Ms. Anthony and the newborn baby, Caylee, at the hospital.
The testimony came on the eighth day of the defense case and the 27th day of the first-degree murder trial of Ms. Anthony, the Florida mother accused of killing her two-year-old daughter. The trial is expected to wrap up late next week, with jury deliberations perhaps beginning Saturday.
Prosecutors say Ms. Anthony used chloroform and duct tape to immobilize and smother Caylee, then stashed her body in the trunk of her car before dumping it in a wooded area near the family home. They say she then repeatedly lied to friends, family, and the police that a baby sitter kidnapped the child.
Defense attorneys say Caylee died in a swimming pool accident, and that after panicking, Ms. Anthony and her father, George, sought to cover up the death by making it look like a kidnapping.
After days of testimony by forensic experts raising questions about the reliability of the state’s evidence and the methods used to gather it, defense attorneys are now shifting their focus toward the more human side of the case.
In his shocking opening statement last month, defense attorney Jose Baez promised the jurors that the whole truth about the Casey Anthony saga would include dark revelations about the Anthony family. He suggested his client’s apparent emotionless behavior staying with her boyfriend, partying in nightclubs, and repeatedly lying after Caylee went missing in mid-June 2008 was a result of years of sexual abuse by her father and brother.
Although it was never mentioned on Friday, the sexual abuse accusation hung like sword over Lee during his testimony.
It is unclear whether the defense will seek to introduce sexual abuse as a key part of its strategy. To do so they would almost certainly have to call Ms. Anthony to the stand. There is no indication at this point they will.