Casey Anthony trial: Was speculation a factor in jury deliberations?
Casey Anthony trial nears its end as jury announces it has reached a verdict. But it remains unclear how the panel of five men and seven women approached their duty, and whether speculation was a factor.
With the jury's arrival at a verdict Tuesday, its second day of deliberations in the Casey Anthony murder trial, it was unclear how the panel of five men and seven women had approached their responsibility as jurors.Skip to next paragraph
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Although Chief Judge Belvin Perry had given them instructions on the law to guide them through the process, it was ultimately up to the five men and seven women deliberating privately to decide whether the state had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
But what is reasonable doubt? More precisely, if jurors are asked to connect the dots in an alleged murder, how close together must those dots be to overcome reasonable doubt?
In her closing argument on Monday, Assistant State Attorney Linda Burdick urged the jurors to “look at the big picture.”
IN PICTURES: Key players in the Casey Anthony trial
“My biggest fear is that common sense will be lost in all the rhetoric of the case,” she said, “that you won’t step back and take a look at the evidence as a whole.”
In contrast, Defense Attorney Jose Baez wanted the jurors to look closely at each piece of evidence and examine whether there was proof of a connection between the evidence and his client.
Mr. Baez said his biggest fear was that the deep emotions and anger swirling throughout the case might influence the jurors to vote against Ms. Anthony on close questions.
“Don’t speculate,” Baez said. “Don’t guess. It has to be proven to you beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”
He added: “There should be no mystery before you now. If you have questions, then it was not proved.”
Prosecutors charge that Ms. Anthony engaged in the premeditated murder of her two-year-old daughter by drugging her with chloroform and then pressing three pieces of duct tape over her mouth and nose to suffocate her. They are seeking the death penalty.
The defense argues that Ms. Anthony’s daughter, Caylee, drowned accidentally in the family’s swimming pool.
The trial has attracted an unusually devoted following of amateur sleuths and kitchen-table psychologists drawn into the deepening mystery surrounding the case.
Spectators lined up for hours outside the courthouse for a chance to watch a portion of the trial. Others tuned into television coverage or watched live video feeds from the courtroom. Even the smallest aspects of the case are the subject to extensive internet prognostication.
Among theories discussed by many trial-watchers is the idea that perhaps Casey Anthony was using chloroform to drug her daughter and left the toddler in the trunk of her car so she could go spend the night with her boyfriend.
The problem with this scenario from the perspective of a capital murder trial is that there is no evidence supporting it. But that didn’t stop Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton from informing the jurors about it in his closing statement.