Casey Anthony Verdict is In: Not Guilty of Murder
In what has been the three-ring circus trial of 2011 thus far, Casey Marie Anthony, 25, was acquitted of the most serious of the seven charges that the State of Florida had filed against her pertaining to the death of her young daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony. After less than 11 hours of deliberation following over 3 weeks of testimony, the jury concluded that Anthony had neither committed first degree murder or aggravated manslaughter, in a verdict that has already stunned Twitter users (hashtags #verdict and #Nancy Grace are trending right now) Grace, a CNN show host, has been obsessively covering the trial since 2008, referring to Casey Anthony as “Tot Mom” on her show.
The trial was notable for many reasons, including landmark forensic techniques that ultimately failed to provide ‘smoking gun’ DNA evidence establishing Casey Anthony in the murder or at the roadside dumping spot where Caylee, 3, was found months after she was reported missing. The state largely focused on establishing motive for Casey, who went on shopping sprees, got a tattoo that translated to “Beautiful Life,” and clubbing in June and July 2008, a time period in which Casey had not yet reported that her daughter was dead or missing. I am now listening to Geraldo discuss his feelings (and OJ Simpson, for some reason) so you don’t have to; here is a summary of the charges and the verdicts attached to each of them.
1st Degree Murder: Not Guilty
Aggravated Manslaughter: Not Guilty
Aggravated Child Abuse: Not Guilty
4 Charges of Misleading/Lying to Law Enforcement: Guilty
Anthony’s parents, George and Cindy, who have been integral parts of the media coverage and trial proceedings, have made it clear recently that they didn’t believe that their daughter was without guilt in the disappearance, death, and cover up surrounding the case. They left the courtroom immediately after the verdict was read without communicating with their daughter, Casey, who smiled broadly after the verdicts were read.
The trial became a media spectacle, as analysts debated whether the controversial, over the top lead defense attorney Baez was intentionally trying to distract and detract from court proceedings. The judge at one point indicated that Baez could face contempt charges after the conclusion of the trial. It remains to be seen if this will be the case.
Currently, Anthony’s attorneys are addressing the media and condemning all those who have engaged in ‘character assassination’. And now Baez is talking about how this case illustrates the reason that the death penalty doesn’t work in America. As he has done in the past, Baez is making this statement in English and in Spanish. And Fox News has some people screaming about a miscarriage of justice. Everything, as usual, is being turned to a matter of rhetoric. Meanwhile, we still don’t know how a small girl turned up at a roadside, in a hamper, with duct tape covering her mouth. Or, we do, but the murderer essentially going to walk free, as the immediate popular sentiment seems to suggest. What do you think? Was this a matter of character assassination with paltry forensic evidence or was Anthony just lucky to have a lawyer who was able to focus on proving there was reasonable doubt?
Stay tuned to The Faster Times for up to date coverage, and a post-trial wrap up analyzing the legal and forensic lessons, mistakes, and precedents set with the trial.
Update: On Fox News, a commentator said that this trial will make Casey Anthony famous, that she’ll be able to write a tell-all book, and, I’m not kidding, “she’ll have her own line of handbags.” So, apparently, Casey Anthony is somehow the new Monica Lewinsky…
3:02 PM: It is expected that some or all the members of the jury will be addressing the media shortly.
3:26 PM: In another instance of Twitter getting kind of weird and meta and showing the speed of collective consciousness, along with many hashtags pertaining to the Anthony trial verdict, #Dextermorgan is now trending on Twitter. As in:
And as if to answer that question:
FredMinnick :Well, we know who Dexter Morgan will be finding later this week. Meet Dexter‘s table, Casey Anthony.
For those on whom the reference is lost, Dexter Morgan is the character Michael C. Hall plays on “Dexter” on Showtime. He’s a serial killer who operates by a code, only killing those who have killed and eluded the legal system in Florida. It seems like the outrage over the verdict is ubiquitous. This must be kind of awkward for Michael C. Hall right now.
3: 47 PM: CNN has a live feed of a room full of labeled, empty chairs for each of the jurors along with copy indicating that the jury has declined talking to the press. But there is still a feed of a room full of empty chairs. I will let you know if any of the camera crew ends up eating a sandwich while sitting in one.
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