Casey Anthony trial: As case draws to a close, is the duct tape key?
Both sides in the Casey Anthony murder trial have laid out their final arguments focusing on disputed evidence, including duct tape found near Caylee Anthony's remains. Jury deliberations are expected to begin Monday.
The presence of three pieces of duct tape found with the skeletal remains of Casey Anthony’s two-year-old daughter prove the toddler’s death was an act of premeditated murder, a state prosecutor said on Sunday in arguments at the conclusion of the Florida mother’s month-long trial.Skip to next paragraph
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“There is no good reason to put duct tape over the face of a child,” Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton told the jurors.
The prosecutor’s comments came as both sides in the contentious, high-profile trial in Orlando presented closing arguments. Jury deliberations are expected to begin on Monday.
IN PICTURES: Key players in the Casey Anthony trial
Defense Lawyer Jose Baez said in his own closing that Caylee’s death was “an accident that snowballed out of control.” He said prosecutors and investigators were intent on proving murder, even when the evidence didn’t add up.
“They didn’t want to consider that there was something wrong with this girl, instead they had a murder case,” he said. “That’s all they were interested in was murder. There is nothing sexy about a drowning. There is nothing interesting about a drowning.”
Casey Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 disappearance and death of her daughter, Caylee. The girl’s skeletal remains were discovered Dec. 11, 2008 in a wooded area a quarter-mile from the family home.
If convicted, Ms. Anthony faces a potential death sentence.
Prosecutors say the mother subdued her daughter with chloroform and then used duct tape to suffocate her. They say she hid the body in her car for several days before dumping the remains in the woods.
Defense lawyers say the toddler accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool. Rather than calling police or telling her mother, Casey went into denial and pretended nothing was wrong, her lawyers say.
“We all know Casey acted inappropriately and made some bad mistakes and bad decisions,” Baez said. “She should have called the police and not blocked this out. She should have reported this death.”
Baez spent much of his closing argument attacking the quality of the state’s evidence, calling it a “forensic fantasy and nothing more.”
“Reasonable doubt lives here, it is throughout the case, it is everywhere” he told the jury. “You can’t trust this evidence.”
Is the duct tape key?
Mr. Ashton, the prosecutor, focused near the end of his argument on the importance of there being three pieces of duct tape found with Caylee’s remains.
He said someone might use duct tape in a brutal way to silence a child. “But why do you need three,” he asked the jury.
“Because your purpose is to make sure the child cannot breathe,” Ashton answered. “The first piece goes over the mouth. The second piece goes over the nose. But you could still have some gaps so you have to be thorough – you have to have three.”
Ashton continued: “One-two-three, and then the child dies.”
“That, ladies and gentlemen, is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of how Caylee died,” he said.
Defense Attorney Cheney Mason disagreed. He said it was not possible to know the precise location of the duct tape over both the mouth and nose since all that remained was a skull.