ORLANDO, Fla. — Jurors in the Casey Anthony murder trial ended their first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.
Judge Belvin Perry called the jurors into the courtroom at 6 p.m. Monday and dismissed them for the night. The sequestered jury of seven women and five men will head back to a hotel and resume deliberating at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The 25-year-old mother is facing first-degree murder and other charges in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.
All the evidence has been sent back to the jury room, but jurors will be brought into open court if they want to watch any of the video evidence. Equipment for video viewing is not available in the deliberation room.
Prosecutors in their rebuttal closing argument earlier Monday said the defense’s assertion that Caylee’s death was an accident made no sense.
Miss Anthony’s attorneys say the girl drowned in the family’s pool. They have said Miss Anthony panicked and that her father, a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a homicide by placing duct tape over the child’s mouth and dumping the body in some nearby woods. George Anthony has denied that and related claims that he sexually abused his daughter as a girl.
Prosecutor Jeff Ashton told the jurors no one makes an innocent accident look like murder.
“That’s absurd. Nothing has been presented to you to make that any less absurd,” Mr. Ashton said.
He also spent significant time reminding jurors about forensic evidence he said links Miss Anthony to her daughter’s death, including the smell and chemical signature of decomposition in her car.
Anthony is charged with first-degree murder and six other charges. If convicted of first-degree murder, she could be sentenced to death or life in prison. The jurors were chosen from the Tampa Bay area because of pretrial media coverage and have been sequestered in an Orlando hotel. They have listened to 33 days of testimony and another two days of closing arguments.
Lead prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick followed Mr. Ashton, telling the jurors that prosecutors presented every piece of evidence they promised in May during opening statements. Without saying it, she was pointing out that defense attorneys never presented direct evidence backing up their claim that the child drowned.
She then hammered on the lies Miss Anthony, then 22, told from June 16, 2008, when her daughter was last seen, to a month later, when sheriff’s investigators were notified.
Those include the single mother telling her parents she couldn’t produce Caylee because the girl was with a nanny named Zanny, a woman who doesn’t exist; that she and her daughter were spending time in Jacksonville, Fla., with a rich boyfriend who doesn’t exist; and that Zanny had been hospitalized after an out-of-town traffic crash and that they were spending time with her.
“Responses to grief are as varied as the day is long, but responses to guilt are oh so predictable,” Ms. Burdick said. “What do guilty people do? They lie. They avoid. They run. They mislead, not just to their family, but the police. They divert attention away from themselves, and they act like nothing is wrong. That’s why you heard about what happened in those 31 days.”
Miss Anthony sat stone-faced during much of the prosecutors’ arguments but occasionally shook her head in disagreement and spoke under her breath.
Ms. Burdick concluded the state’s case by showing the jury two side-by-side images. One showed Miss Anthony smiling and partying in a nightclub during the month Caylee was missing. The other was of the “beautiful life” tattoo she got a day before her family and law enforcement first learned of the child’s disappearance.
“At the end of this case, all you have to ask yourself is whose life was better without Caylee?” Ms. Burdick asked. “This is your answer.”