The prosecution indirectly stated Wednesday afternoon in court that Casey Anthony deliberately killed her 2-year-old child, Caylee, during the cross-examination of an expert witness.
After Judge Belvin Perry admitted Dr. Sally Karioth, a certified traumatologist, as an expert in grief and trauma despite objections from the state, the defense sought to use several hypothetical situations in attempt to justify Casey’s actions during the month when Caylee reportedly first went missing.
Casey allegedly took her daughter out of the Anthony family home on June 16, 2008, when the toddler was last seen, and would tell her mother, Cindy Anthony, several lies about the whereabouts of Caylee during that month.
Caylee was not reported missing until July 15, 2008, after Cindy and George found their daughter’s car in a tow yard, which smelled like human decomposition, according to George.
Defense attorney Dorothy Clay Sims asked Karioth during her testimony how a 22-year-old “loving and great mother” would respond to losing her 2-year-old child.
The witness stated that young adults would often exhibit denial, risky behavior including drinking and partying. Sims then specifically outlined in a hypothetical situation a grieving mother who went shopping, rented movies, went out drinking, got a tattoo – which was exactly what Casey did – and was asked if those were normal behaviors.
Karioth called it reluctant grieving, saying that people would act like nothing happened in order to deal with their loss. The defense also added more details to the situation including families who displayed a history of denial and non-communication, which purportedly furthered those same actions.
During an intense and heated cross-examination, prosecutor Jeff Ashton wondered if there were any behaviors at all that were inconsistent with grieving, since the professor seemed to imply that every behavior from happy to sad was consistent with grief.
She responded, saying there were healthy responses versus pathological responses, but could not give Ashton any definite behavior that was inconsistent with grief.
Ashton also asked Karioth if she could look at a set of actions, not assuming there was a loss, and determine if it was grief or not. She could not unless she had certain facts of the case, which the prosecution pointed out she did not know, excluding generalities about a mother losing her daughter.
Karioth was also further questioned about denial, and confirmed that it could be a common coping mechanism for guilt as well.
Using the same tactics as the defense, Ashton illustrated a series of hypothetical’s, which were exactly the actions of Casey during the month of June. He outlined all of the lies that Casey had told her mother, including Caylee being with an imaginary babysitter or being at Universal Studios, going away to Tampa for work, and etc. when the entire time Casey was in Orlando, and asked the witness if those behaviors were consistent to grief.
Karioth agreed that she would not exactly call those behaviors consistent with grief, and commented that the hypothetical person needed help. She also called the actions “magical thinking.”
When Ashton went even further and added the hypothetical, “what if the mother deliberately killed the child,” objections were raised and sustained.
The prosecution then pointed out that when someone deliberately committed a horrible act, they could compartmentalize the event and continue on with life as if nothing happened, which they claim is what Casey did after she purportedly killed her daughter by suffocating her with duct tape.
In earlier testimony on Wednesday, the son of meter reader Roy Kronk, who found the remains of Caylee Anthony in December 2008, testified that his father told him on the phone around November 2008 that he knew where Caylee’s remains were.
The defense is trying to prove that Kronk deliberately moved Caylee’s remains to the wooded area near the Anthony family home in order to obtain a reward.
Kronk had told the court on Tuesday, however, that he never had a conversation of that nature with his son, Brandon Sparks, in November 2008. The defense also accused Kronk of telling his son he would be rich and famous, which the meter reader denied as well.
Sparks stated that he had been estranged from his father since he was 8 years old, but had developed a relationship with him again in 2008. During that time it was established that he spoke to his father three to four times a week.
The witness confirmed that Kronk told him around Thanksgiving of 2008 that he knew where Caylee’s remains were. But he had dismissed his father’s statement as far-fetched and didn’t believe him until it was revealed on December 11, 2008, that Kronk had actually discovered the body.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick pointed out that Sparks did not remember the conversation he had with his father until Kronk’s ex-wife, Sparks’ mother, and his wife reminded him. Burdick continued to stress that the witness did not recall the conversation himself and also emphasized that he could not identify the specific call on his cellphone records.
He also agreed with Burdick that Kronk did not tell him in November 2008 that he had taken the skull from the scene, had it at home or his car, or done anything else to it. Kronk simply told him that he located the skull, contacted law enforcement, and that since he hadn’t seen him to look for him on television.
Baez concluded by asking Sparks if his father told him he was going to be rich and famous. He responded yes.
Roy Kronk also took the stand once again in the afternoon, going over his statements made to investigators and law enforcement. Baez tried to point out the inconsistencies in what he said previously, including omitting the fact that he had put his meter reader stick in the eye socket of Caylee’s skull and changing his testimony about the skull rolling or falling out of the trash bag.
The witness continued to state that he was overwhelmed that day when he found the skull and needed time to get his head straight.
Kronk acknowledged telling the first officer at the scene on December 11, 2008, about calling CrimeLine in August where he initially reported seeing the remains. He stated that the officer allegedly told him not to mention that fact.
But Deputy Edward Turso, the said officer, denied ever hearing from Kronk about the call to CrimeLine and also confirmed that he did not tell the meter reader not to mention anything.
Baez asked lead investigator Yuri Melich if Kronk mentioned anything about previously calling the authorities in August when he first met Kronk at the crime scene on Dec. 11, 2008. Melich responded no and confirmed that he first heard of the calls about a week after Kronk’s initial statement.
Judge Perry announced that the defense may rest their case Thursday and told the state to have witnesses available for Thursday just in case that happened. Closing statements could be made as early as Saturday and the jury could possibly begin deliberating on Sunday.