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Orlando Sentinel – Casey Anthony trial: ‘Caylee here I come,’ George Anthony wrote in suicide note

Posted by 4love2love on June 30, 2011

Defense rests; Casey says she won’t testify.

By Anthony Colarossi, Orlando Sentinel

7:40 p.m. EDT, June 30, 2011

In the end, she couldn’t do it: Casey Anthony could not muster the will, the motivation, the guts or whatever else it would take to tell her version of what happened to her daughter, Caylee, three years ago.

Minutes after she told Chief Judge Belvin Perry she would not take the stand Thursday, Casey Anthony’s defense team rested its case — not nearly fulfilling the many wild promises made in defense attorney José Baez’s opening statement in late May.

None of that may matter, though, if jurors find credibility in the defense team’s assault on the prosecution’s case — and find reasonable doubt. The state will call more rebuttal witnesses today to shore up any damage prosecutors think the defense may have done to their case.

On Thursday, though, most experts watching the case agreed there was too much risk in allowing the 25-year-old to take the stand. Casey Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in daughter Caylee Marie’s 2008 death. She faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

“I’m sure the jury wanted to hear from Casey Anthony,” said forensic trial consultant Dean Tong, based in the Tampa Bay area. But Tong explained Baez “was probably prudent not to allow his client to testify.”

Casey Anthony will not take the stand

She would have faced questions about a monthlong series of lies after her daughter’s disappearance. She would have been hammered about her partying, staying at her boyfriend’s place, getting the “Bella Vita” tattoo. Most importantly, she would have had to directly accuse her father of sexual abuse.

“I think Baez made the right move by not putting her on the stand,” Tong said. “It would have been a brutal and bloody and angry cross-examination had it come to fruition.”

Instead of hearing Casey’s story firsthand, jurors just heard her answer a few quick questions posed by Perry.

“Is it your decision not to testify?” Perry asked.

“Yes, sir,” said Casey Anthony, while agreeing she was not being forced or pressured to make that decision.

Seeds of doubt?

Philip Anthony, chief executive officer of DecisionQuest trial consulting, said in not putting Casey Anthony on the stand, the defense “put on a trial by inference” by raising the suggestion that she suffered abuse in her home. A couple of witnesses testified Casey Anthony talked briefly about the molestation.

By leaving the implication out there — and not directly having Casey Anthony testify — Philip Anthony said the defense hopes one or two jurors might relate personally and convince the others that long-term abuse and fear could make people behave in unusual ways.

“The defense is depending upon the emotional appeal of this very troubling issue of molestation to carry them through,” he said.

That issue and the state’s largely circumstantial case may be enough to bring the jury away from a first-degree-murder conviction, said Anthony, who is not related to the defendant.

“Jurors always say after these cases, ‘I really would have liked to have heard from the defendant,’ ” Anthony said, but they will also be notified that her decision not to testify should not be held against her.

Others say the prosecution will pummel the defense for not delivering what was promised.

Local defense attorney Brad Conway said he expected Casey Anthony to testify.

“He made promises to the jury about evidence they would see, and the only person on the planet that could testify about those thing is Casey Anthony,” said Conway, who once represented George andCindy Anthony.

Conway said he thinks the state will attack Baez’s failure to fulfill the promises to the jury.


Copyright © 2011, Orlando Sentinel


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