Casey Anthony Declared Competent For Trial; Defense Files Mistrial Motion

Back in court after the murder trial was abruptly recessed Saturday, Judge Belvin Perry said Monday morning that Casey Anthony was competent to stand trial, rejecting a motion by her defense that claimed the 25-year-old was not competent to continue the trial.

In the motion filed Saturday, defense attorney Cheney Mason said he "reasonably believes" Anthony is not competent to continue in the trial.

Casey Anthony, who is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony, was examined by three psychologists throughout the weekend, Perry said Monday morning.

Dr. Daniel Tressler examined Anthony late Saturday morning, Dr. Harry McLaren examined Anthony Saturday evening and Sunday and Dr. Ryan Hall examined Anthony Sunday, said the judge.

Perry said that after reviewing the expert reports, which will be sealed, he determined that Anthony was competent to stand trial.

"Based on the reports that the court has reviewed, the court will find that the defendant is competent to continue to proceed," he said.

Perry canceled over 5 hours of hearing scheduled for Saturday after meeting with defense attorneys in the morning. The unexpected recess raised speculation among legal analysts and the media that the Casey Anthony defense had accepted a plea deal or was calling for a mistrial.

Although Perry didn't explicitly explain why the court went into recess on Saturday, he suggested Monday that the motion claiming Anthony to be incompetent to stand trial was the reason behind the recess.

But another new development emerged Monday morning when Casey Anthony defense attorney Ann Finnel filed a new motion for a mistrial based in part on a recent ruling by a Florida judge.

Finnel, who hasn't made a court appearance since the jury selection, requested in the motion for new jurors who have not been asked about imposing the death penalty in the case, according to WTSP, a CBS affiliate in Tampa Bay.

Her motion was based partially on a ruling released last week by Judge Jose Martinez, who said that the jury, not judges, should be the ones examining aggravating factors in cases and determining whether they qualify for the death penalty. Martinez was ruling in a case of Paul E. Evans, who is on Death Row for a 1991 murder.

Court proceedings resumed Monday with the defense continuing to present its case.

The defense claims that Caylee Anthony died from drowning in her grandparents’ swimming pool and that Casey’s father, George, was involved in covering up the death and disposing the body. George has denied involvement in the death of his granddaughter.

Meanwhile, the state maintains that Casey Anthony suffocated her daughter with duct tape, stored her in the back of her trunk for days, and then dumped her body in the woods nearby the Anthony’s home.

If convicted for first-degree murder, Casey Anthony could face the death penalty.

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