With each passing day, the case against Casey Anthony grows stronger. It would seem that her innocence in the matter of her missing child is no longer the issue. That Casey Anthony killed, caused to be killed, or perhaps witnessed the accidental death of her 2-year-old daughter and covered it up sometime in June is becoming increasingly evident.
The discovery of remains on Thursday, December 10, just under a half mile from the grandparents house outside Orlando, Florida where Caylee and Casey Anthony used to live are pointing to murder. And much of the evidence gathered thus far seems to lead back to Casey Anthony. In fact, back in October, police stopped treating the case as that of a missing person and concentrated on Casey Anthony as the most likely suspect in the disappearance and likely death of Caylee Anthony.
Circumstantial evidence amassed against Casey Anthony is damning, to say the least, but not overwhelming. However, it is the linking of the evidence with the circumstances of the crime committed that, being up for interpretation, will either allow for a good defense attorney to exonerate her or give the prosecution enough to keep the already incarcerated Casey Anthony behind bars for quite some time, perhaps even for life.
Up until the present, Casey Anthony and her legal defense, not to mention her supporters, have maintained that the case against Anthony was weak due to the absence of a body. Strong circumstantial evidence and questionable behaviors exhibited by Casey Anthony since Caylee Anthony’s disappearance, not to mention her more than strange stories surrounding the disappearance and not reporting the little girl missing, led investigators in the case to arrest Anthony and charge her with first degree murder on October 14.
But the finding of the remains of a child on Thursday may have altered the “no body” defense. Authorities reported that it would be at least a week before test results would allow positive identification of the remains.
Of course, Casey Anthony maintains that she is innocent. Caylee Anthony, she asserts, is very much still alive and is being held by a babysitter and/or someone associated with said babysitter. The police have found any and all allegations that any caretaker of Caylee’s, including a mysterious woman named by Casey Anthony, had no part in the child’s disappearance.
Orange County prosecutors later said they would not be seeking the death penalty (December 5) because death penalty cases were extremely difficult to engineer. A case in point would be the Brian Nichols case currently before a jury for sentencing in Atlanta, Georgia. Brian Nichols, who killed a judge and three other government employees in an escape attempt in 2005, was convicted on November 7. According to CNN, when the jury was convened for sentencing, they became deadlocked and reported the state of the jury to the judge Friday, December 12.
And it only takes one juror to place a jury in deadlock. The Brian Nichols jury deadlocked at 9 for the death sentence, 3 against. The judge sentences in a deadlocked case, but the death penalty no longer applies.
It is cases like that of Brian Nichols, a man convicted of killing four people, that force prosecutors to look for alternative sentencing parameters. Add to the mixture documents released that Casey Anthony may have been confused and depressed around the time of Caylee’s disappearance (even though she partied with friends in the intervening month between disappearance and reporting the child missing), and the prosecution faced a most difficult task of convincing a jury that the death penalty was justified. There are also the added complications of the death penalty issue itself and possible sympathy for the defendant.
Avoidance of a death penalty sentencing allows the prosecution to concentrate on the maximum sentencing upon conviction. It also takes off the table the distraction of a conviction leading to the death penalty, which would certainly weigh in a juror’s decision to convict or not to convict. In Casey Anthony’s case, the 22-year-old mother faces a life sentence if convicted. With the death penalty not being considered, the jury is left to focus primarily on the evidence at hand and render a verdict.
Besides, according to the Florida Department of Corrections, of the 391 people on death row in the state of Florida, only one is female.