- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

ORLANDO, FLA. (AP) - Florida prosecutors plan to seek to the death penalty against the mother of slain Florida toddler Caylee Anthony.

Prosecutors filed papers Monday of intent to seek to have 23-year-old Casey Anthony executed if she is convicted of first-degree murder in her daughter’s death, said Danielle Tavernier, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office in Orlando.

Anthony claims that Caylee, who was 2 when she disappeared in June, was kidnapped and has pleaded not guilty. Her trial has been tentatively set for October.

Anthony’s legal team already has lawyers who are qualified to defend death penalty cases and are prepared “for a vigorous defense,” said Marti Mackenzie, a spokeswoman for Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez.

“This is not a death penalty case,” Mackenzie said. “We will do whatever is necessary to defend Casey Anthony from the state trying to take her life.”

Anthony was arrested last October, but prosecutors then didn’t indicate they would seek the death penalty.

Casey Anthony has insisted that she left the girl with a baby sitter in June, but she didn’t report Caylee missing for another month. The child’s grandmother first called authorities in July to say that she hadn’t seen Caylee for a month, and that her daughter’s car smelled like death.

A utility worker found the girl’s body last December in woods near where she lived with her mother and grandparents. Before the discovery, hundreds of volunteers _ most of whom had no personal connection with the girl _ had helped search for her.

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