The state of Florida presented their rebuttal to the defense’s closing arguments on Monday, hoping to prove, without a doubt, that Casey Anthony murdered her two-year-old daughter Caylee.
Prosecutors have been claiming that Casey chloroformed her daughter, placed duct tape over her nose and mouth, and then disposed of her body in the nearby woods.
Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton was the first to rebut the statements made by defense attorneys on Sunday. The defense argued that the state used “fantasy forensics” to argue their case.
Revisiting expert testimony given throughout the trial, Ashton attempted to remind jurors about all of the evidence found that pointed to Casey’s direct involvement in Caylee’s death, including high levels of chloroform detected in Casey’s car, as well as a strong odor of human decomposition, duct tape found on Caylee’s remains, and post-mortem banding shown on a single strand of Caylee’s hair found in Casey’s trunk.
The defense, however, has maintained that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that George Anthony, Casey’s father, attempted to cover the death up by placing duct tape over his granddaughter’s mouth and dumping her body. He purportedly convinced Casey to keep quiet as well. But George denied the allegations made against him previously.
Ashton stated on Monday that the defense’s theory was “absurd” and questioned why anyone would make an innocent accident look like murder. He also refuted the claims made that meter reader Roy Kronk, who discovered Caylee’s remains in December 2008, tampered with the evidence and moved the body.
“The scene was not staged,” Ashton said. “These bones were not scattered by Roy Kronk. They were scattered by animals and acts of nature.” Photographs of the remains purportedly proved that the body had been in the woods for six months, rebutting the defense’s assertion that the body was moved.
Reiterating the link between Casey and Caylee, lead prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick followed Ashton’s rebuttal and set to outline all of the lies that Casey told during the search for her daughter between the month of June and July of 2008, when Casey was last seen with the toddler.
She lied about an imaginary babysitter kidnapping Caylee, about spending time in Jacksonville with a rich boyfriend who never existed, about taking Caylee to Universal Studios, Sea World, and Disney World when she was already dead, about working at Universal Studios, and much more.
While the defense tried to justify Casey’s lies as a result of her dysfunctional family and sexually abusive past, Burdick stressed that her lies only came from a desire to buy time in hopes that investigators would not focus the attention on her. The prosecutor also powerfully expressed that the only true statement Casey told the police was that of her daughter’s birth date.
“Responses to grief are as varied as the day is long, but responses to guilt are oh, so predictable,” Burdick shared. “What do guilty people do? They lie. They avoid. They run. They mislead not just to their family, but the police. They divert attention away from themselves and they act like nothing is wrong. That’s what you heard about what happened in those 31 days.”
Burdick also sought to show that Casey was not a “great mother” like the defense contended, saying that no great mother would treat the accidental death of her daughter like she had –if it was in fact an accident.
Comparing the care of the mother with the care of the grandparents, Burdick showed jurors a picture of the playhouse in the Anthony family backyard, which Cindy and George Anthony created for Caylee.
“This is how the grandparents felt about their granddaughter,” Burdick said, rebutting the defense’s attempt to paint Casey’s parents in a negative manner.
Jailhouse tapes were also replayed for the court, where George repeatedly tried to get Casey to tell the truth. In a phone call to her family from jail, the court heard several lies and profanities coming from Casey’s own mouth, where she sounded cold and only concerned about contacting her boyfriend.
And a call made by Cindy to 911 in July 2008 after Casey finally admitted that she had not seen her daughter was also played. Jurors heard the emotional and frantic voice of Cindy reporting her missing granddaughter.
“When you use your common sense, you can listen and hear that there’s nothing that’s wrong with Casey Anthony that can’t be explained using two words – pathological liar,” Burdick concluded. “At the end of this case, all you really have to do is ask yourself, who’s better off without Caylee?”
Showing pictures of Casey partying and the “Bella Vita” (Beautiful Life) tattoo she got after Caylee’s disappearance, prosecutors concluded their rebuttal and commented, “There’s your answer.” The state ultimately reinforced the idea that Casey killed her daughter in order to live freely without the constraints of motherhood.
Jurors began deliberations Monday afternoon after hearing instructions from Judge Belvin Perry. If convicted of first-degree murder, Casey, 25, could possibly face the death penalty.