As the Casey Anthony trial continued Friday afternoon after an emotional morning with both Cindy and Lee Anthony testifying, the defense called back several investigators in order to bring into question other potential suspects in the murder of Caylee Anthony.
Orange County deputy Ryan Eberlin was called to the stand and asked about details of his arrest of Casey Anthony on July 16, 2008 – the day Caylee was reported missing.
Eberlin told the court that he put handcuffs on Casey that night, but was ordered to release her shortly afterwards by his supervisor, Reginald Hosey.
When prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick asked why Casey was handcuffed, objections from the defense led to another sidebar.
With the jury out of the courtroom, Eberlin stated that he had handcuffed Casey because her mother, Cindy, accused her daughter of stealing her credit cards.
However, the deputy promptly released her because his supervisor told him he was not concerned with the credit cards but with the kidnapping.
Judge Belvin Perry told the jury when they returned not to take into consideration Casey’s fraudulent use of credit cards in their deliberations as it was unrelated to her current charge of murder.
“The evidence you are about to hear concerning the reason for handcuffing Miss Casey Anthony is solely to explain why the deputy did what he did and not to be considered for any other purpose,” Perry said.
Eric Edwards was called next by the defense to testify and was asked about a woman named Linda Tinelli, who helped search for Caylee as a volunteer for Kid Finders. (Kid Finders organization helped the Anthony family during Caylee’s disappearance.) After immediate objections from the state, however, in regards to relevancy and another sidebar, the witness was excused without speaking about his connection to Tinelli.
Tinelli then took the stand herself and testified that she met George and Cindy Anthony at a search command center where she volunteered, distributing T-shirts with Caylee’s picture on them and collecting donations.
She recalled during that time that George Anthony used duct tape to tape the tablecloths onto the tables because it was windy and hung up posters with the same tape.
Detective Yuri Melich of the Orange County Sherriff’s Office was the last witness called to the stand on Friday. He spoke of being called to the Anthony home on July 16, 2008, not long after midnight, where he spent a short period of time investigating the case.
Melich arrested Casey because she “had elements of crime” and because he was also concerned that she would hurt herself.
When Melich dropped off Casey back at home later, defense attorney Jose Baez pointed out that George Anthony requested to speak to the detective privately that night, but Melich didn’t know what his purpose was.
The lead investigator was also asked by the defense about why he only subpoenaed Casey, examining her cell phone records and locations, and not the other members of the family or any other suspicious persons.
But Melich revealed that he had pulled the cellphone records and pull tower information of Roy Kronk, the person who discovered Caylee’s remains in December 2008. He examined Kronk’s records from June to December 2008. His department did not, however, look at Kronk’s computer.
Baez also asked Melich if he ever went back to the Anthony home to ask George about the duct tape with Henkel brand markings, the tape found with Caylee’s remains. But the witness revealed that he did not immediately go back to the home to look for the tape.
After the jury was dismissed for the day, Baez revealed that the defense expects to wrap their case up by Wednesday or Thursday of next week. The state believes its rebuttal case will take one to two days.
Casey, 25, is charged with first-degree murder of her 2-year-old daughter and possibly faces the death penalty if convicted. Prosecution maintains that the defendant suffocated Caylee with duct tape, threw her in the back of her trunk, and dumped her body in the nearby woods.
The defense is currently arguing that the toddler died by accidentally drowning in the Anthonys’ backyard swimming pool and that Casey’s father, George, was involved in covering up the death of his granddaughter.