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Question of the Day
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Casey Anthony briefly broke down crying Sunday as prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments that she murdered her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, because the child prevented her from having a relationship with a club promoter.
Prosecutor Jeff Ashton said Ms. Anthony wanted a relationship with her boyfriend, to go out with her friends and to live the carefree life she had lived before Caylee’s birth.
“Something needed to be sacrificed, that something was either the life she wanted or the life thrust upon her. She chose to sacrifice her child,” Mr. Ashton said during his 90-minute argument.
Prosecutors contend Caylee was suffocated with duct tape by a mother who then crafted elaborate lies to mislead everyone from investigators to her own parents. Defense lawyers countered that the toddler accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool and that her seemingly carefree mother in fact was hiding emotional distress caused by alleged sexual abuse from her father. Her father has firmly denied that claim.
Defense attorney Jose Baez began his closing argument by telling the jurors that they have more questions than answers, including the biggest: How did Caylee die? Neither prosecutors nor the defense has offered firm proof of how Caylee died.
“It can never be proven,” he said. That by itself should give them reasonable doubt that Anthony killed her daughter, he said.
He said the prosecutors’ case is so weak they tried to portray Ms. Anthony as “a lying, no-good slut.”
“Then you’ll start to look at this evidence in a different light, you’ll start to — wait a minute, maybe I’m seeing something that’s not there and start to actually discriminate against her rather than give her the standard that is afforded to each and every citizen in our country,” Mr. Baez said, noting that the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Earlier during Mr. Ashton’s argument, Ms. Anthony appeared mostly stone-faced for about the first 45 minutes, but then she closed her eyes and rested her chin on her hand. She began to cry when Mr. Ashton said that the story that Caylee drowned was also false.
Mr. Ashton said Caylee’s death wasn’t an accident because three pieces of duct tape were placed on her face — one on the mouth, one on the nose and one over those to be “thorough.”
The jury is expected to begin deliberating after the defense finishes its closing argument.
The case has played out on national TV since Caylee’s disappearance in the summer of 2008 and continued through her mother’s trial, with spectators traveling from all over the United States to jockey for coveted seats in the courtroom gallery.
Mr. Ashton began his closing argument by showing a video of Ms. Anthony playing with Caylee, causing Ms. Anthony to apparently choke back tears. But she quickly regained her composure.
He then told the jury that Ms. Anthony worried Caylee was getting to the age where she would have told Ms. Anthony’s parents that the woman was spending her days and nights with her boyfriend — not going to work and leaving Caylee with a nanny.
“Casey is very bright,” Mr. Ashton said. “Her lies are very detailed. … But when Casey wants to do what Casey wants to do, she finds a way.”
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