Casey Anthony to be freed next week

Thursday, July 7, 2011 9:53 AM
Last updated 2:07 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Casey Anthony will be freed next week after spending nearly three years in jail on accusations she killed her 2-year-old daughter, punctuating a case that captured the nation's attention and bitterly divided many over whether she got away with murder.

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Lori Richards, right, of Daytona Beach, Fla., protests outside the Orange County Courthouse during the sentencing hearing for Casey Anthony in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, July 7, 2011. Judge Belvin Perry sentenced Anthony to four years for lying to investigators but says she can go free in late July or early August because she has already served nearly three years in jail and has had good behavior. While acquitted of killing and abusing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, Anthony was convicted of four counts of lying to detectives trying to find her daughter in July 2008.   AP
AP
Lori Richards, right, of Daytona Beach, Fla., protests outside the Orange County Courthouse during the sentencing hearing for Casey Anthony in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, July 7, 2011. Judge Belvin Perry sentenced Anthony to four years for lying to investigators but says she can go free in late July or early August because she has already served nearly three years in jail and has had good behavior. While acquitted of killing and abusing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, Anthony was convicted of four counts of lying to detectives trying to find her daughter in July 2008.

While cleared of charges of killing and abusing her daughter Caylee, Anthony was convicted of lying to investigators and sentenced Thursday to four years, the maximum punishment she faced. But she was given credit for the time she has already served and her good behavior, and she was set to be released Wednesday. Judge Belvin Perry also fined her $1,000 on each of the four counts.

Inside the courtroom, before her sentenced was announced, the 25-year-old Anthony was animated, smiling and occasionally played with her hair, which was let down for the first time since her trial began in late May. Perhaps she thought, like many, that she would be let go Thursday. Her demeanor turned stone-faced when she heard she would be spending more time in jail.

The scene outside the courthouse highlighted the divide that has had social networking sites abuzz since the not guilty verdict was announced Tuesday. Amid increased police presence, a throng of protesters gathered, holding signs that said "Arrest the Jury!!" and "Jurors 1-12 Guilty of Murder." Nearby, a handful of supporters also turned out, including a man who held a sign asking Anthony to marry him.

Anthony's release will come almost exactly three years since Caylee was reported missing July 15, 2008. Anthony was interviewed by police the next day and told them several lies, for which she was convicted.

She lied about working at the Universal Studios theme park, going so far as to take detectives to the park, talk her way past security guards and take the detectives into a building before finally admitting that she wasn't employed there. She also lied about leaving her daughter with a non-existent nanny named Zanny and later about leaving the girl with friends. She also told investigators she received a phone call from Caylee the day she was reported missing, another lie.

Her defense attorneys argued before sentencing that her convictions should be combined into one, but the judge disagreed, saying law enforcement spent a great deal of time, energy and manpower looking for Caylee. The girl's remains were found in a swampy area near the Anthony home in December 2008.

At the time of the girl's disappearance, Anthony, a single mother, and Caylee were living with Anthony's parents, George and Cindy Anthony, in suburban Orlando, but she would often stay with her boyfriend.

Prosecutors contended Anthony, then 22, suffocated Caylee with duct tape because she was interfering with her desire to be with her boyfriend and party with her friends. When Anthony's parents confronted their daughter about Caylee's whereabouts, she told them the girl had been missing for a month and her mother reported the disappearance to police.

Defense attorneys countered that the toddler accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool. They said that when Anthony panicked, her father, a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a murder. They said he put duct tape on the girl's mouth and then dumped the body in woods about a quarter-mile away.

The defense said Anthony's apparent carefree life hid emotional distress caused by sexual abuse from her father. Her father firmly denied both the cover-up and abuse claims. The prosecution called those claims absurd, and said no one makes an accident look like a murder.

In mid-July 2008, Cindy and George Anthony were contacted by a towing yard that their daughter's car had been impounded for being abandoned and would be junked if not claimed. When George Anthony picked it up, he and the tow yard manager said it had the overwhelming stench of human decomposition. The defense said the smell was caused by a bag of trash that was in the trunk.

In one of the biggest and most important fights of the six-week trial, a prosecution scientist said the trunk contained air molecules consistent with a human body having decomposed there — but the defense questioned his methods and said they were unproven.

Jurors declined to talk with reporters immediately after Tuesday's verdict and their names were not released by the court. The Associated Press and other news organizations argued during a hearing Thursday that the jurors' identities should be released.

At least one juror, Jennifer Ford, has already come forward. She told ABC News in an interview that the case was troubling.

"I did not say she was innocent," said Ford, a 32-year-old nursing student. "I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be."

The prosecution didn't paint a clear enough picture of what happened to Caylee, Ford said.

"I have no idea what happened to that child," Ford said.

As the sentencing was announced, Flora Reece, an Orlando real estate broker, stood outside the courthouse holding a sign that read "Arrest the Jury."

"At least she won't get to pop the champagne cork tonight," Reece said of the judge's decision to keep Anthony in jail a little longer.

The crowd of a few dozen emotionally charged protesters occasionally chanted "justice for Caylee."

The handful of Anthony supporters included Tim Allen of Orlando. The 24-year-old cook at a pizza shop held a sign asking Anthony to marry him.

"Everyone deserves a second chance." Allen said. "She's beautiful. Put some makeup on her, she's gorgeous."

Authorities in Florida were being mostly quiet about what might take place when Anthony is released. There are obvious complications with her returning to her parents' home, given the stinging accusations her attorneys leveled against them during the trial.

When the verdict was read, Anthony's parents rose from their seats without emotion and left the courtroom. They were in the courtroom for sentencing but left without speaking to reporters.

Their attorney, Mark Lippman, has said they haven't spoken with their daughter since the verdict, and he wouldn't say whether they believed she was guilty.

Threats have also been made against Anthony, and online she is being vilified. Nearly 22,000 people "liked" the "I hate Casey Anthony" page on Facebook, which included comments wishing her the same fate that befell Caylee.

Anthony is a high school dropout who, before her arrest, had limited work experience. Her last job was in 2006 as a vendor at Universal Studios theme park. While she once professed an interest in photography, and even found some work in the field, it's not known whether she has skills that could translate into a career.

The Anthony neighborhood was quiet Thursday with a few people bringing flowers and toys to the memorial for Caylee in the swampy, mosquito-filled spot off where her remains were found.

"If Caylee could see all this, she would see how much people loved her," said 11-year-old Isobel Bulanhagui, who visited the memorial with her grandfather. The child pulled a battery out of her purse and laid it gently beside a sign that read "pass on the angel in your arms to your creator."

"I don't have much in my purse but this will give her energy," Isobel said.

The memorial, the fourth that has been erected since Caylee died, has quadrupled in size since Tuesday's verdict.

Hundreds of teddy bears and stuffed animals were piled on the dirt, with hand-written notes, many that disparaged Anthony. More than two dozen flower bouquets sit wilting and 27 helium balloons are anchored to the ground.

George Anthony has asked the public to donate the items to charity rather than place them in the woods.

Comments (43) Add comment
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happychimer
17468
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happychimer 07/07/11 - 10:11 am
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and she has been talking

and she has been talking about having more kids!

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 07/07/11 - 10:29 am
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The jury fell down the rabbit
Unpublished

The jury fell down the rabbit hole.....................common sense tells you the woman killed her child................

thewaytolite
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thewaytolite 07/07/11 - 10:51 am
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@wonders When did the policy

@wonders
When did the policy of this country become guilty until proven innocent?
The state went into this case with essentially no evidence and failed to prove without a reasonable doubt that Casey Anthony killed her daughter. There are so many people passing judgment on her with out undeniable facts. unless you were there then she is still innocent until they can prove without a reasonable doubt that she murdered her daughter. So your common sense is actually misguided mob mentality. Was she irresponsible definitely like a lot of young single mothers now but that doesn't make her guilty.

doglover123
36
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doglover123 07/07/11 - 10:52 am
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Just look at that smug smile

Just look at that smug smile on her face. It makes me sick on my stomach just to think of the horrors that she committed upon her little girl. The only comfort I find in this whole situation is knowing that she will burn in Hell!!
Caylee, rest in peace, Sweetheart. You are in a MUCH better place.

doglover123
36
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doglover123 07/07/11 - 11:07 am
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"Thewaytolite", that is just

"Thewaytolite", that is just the mentality that let her walk. Look at the facts, she lied to police that an imaginary babysitter had taken her child, went out and partied every night that Caylee was supposedly missing and never expressed one ounce of remorse that the child was dead. If that were me, and my child was missing, I would not SLEEP until she was found, let alone go out and party with my friends until all hours of the night. I would be looking everywhere imaginable to find my precious little girl. But, the difference between myself and Casey Anthony is that I LOVE my daughter. I don't see her as something that cramps my style. If she truly didn't want something to keep her tied down, why didn't she simply give her up for adoption?

doglover123
36
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doglover123 07/07/11 - 11:10 am
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"Thewaytolite", by the way, I

"Thewaytolite", by the way, I suppose you thought Susan Smith was innocent too.

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 07/07/11 - 11:18 am
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I concur...don't worry, you

I concur...don't worry, you have not heard the last of this young lady...she is guilty as sin..it doesn't matter what the jury decided...they are only human...a higher power will judge her...this is absurd...but a lie can't last forever...you can bet on that.....

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/07/11 - 11:26 am
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I applaud Judge Belvin Perry.

I applaud Judge Belvin Perry. He is going to require her to pay all of the court costs and hopefully he has the power to require her to pay the police investigation costs as well. There will also be civil suits filed against her. She will be safer in jail than in the public.

Dixieman
14942
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Dixieman 07/07/11 - 11:42 am
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0
Whatever. Next story, please.

Whatever.
Next story, please.

1313
56
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1313 07/07/11 - 12:07 pm
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The trial was in Orlando and

The trial was in Orlando and the jurors were from Tampa. Now that they are back home the average I.Q. of both cities has dropped.

happychimer
17468
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happychimer 07/07/11 - 12:17 pm
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She will be released July

She will be released July 13th. Jurors believe she did it, but they had to base their decision on the evidence. No cause of death really hurt the prosecution.

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 07/07/11 - 12:20 pm
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0
First OJ, now this murderer.
Unpublished

First OJ, now this murderer. Great system, just need one juror to set them free. And, she'll make millions off of her little girl's death. Just doesn't seem right.

mtxbass1
0
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mtxbass1 07/07/11 - 12:21 pm
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Economy? What economy?

Economy? What economy? There's Casey Anthony news to watch. *sigh*

happychimer
17468
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happychimer 07/07/11 - 12:26 pm
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If you don't want to watch

If you don't want to watch Casey Anthony news, then don't watch it.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 07/07/11 - 12:43 pm
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watch it, she will end up in

watch it, she will end up in Augusta by the end of this year.

gnatman1102
6
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gnatman1102 07/07/11 - 12:58 pm
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I can see how the jury could

I can see how the jury could not convict Casey on the charges of First Degree Murder or Aggravated Child Abuse. How she escaped the the charge of Aggravated Manslaughter of a child is beyond me. If you read the Grand Jury Indictment, the neglect alone was enough evidence as presented by the prosecution to convict her.

I heard/read the comments from Juror #14, an alternate. He says he would have voted not guilty on any of the major charges because the defense convinced him that it was an accidental pool drowning. From what I saw/read, where was the evidence? Even an accidental drowning made out to look like a murder should have been enough to convict on the Aggravated Manslaughter charge.

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 07/07/11 - 01:08 pm
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Precisely.....gnatman

Precisely.....gnatman

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/07/11 - 01:10 pm
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gnatman1102, Yes, absolutely.

gnatman1102, Yes, absolutely. I know had my child drowned, my first thought would be duct tape her, put her in a trashbag, throw her in my trunk, drive around, get tatooed and party for days, lie to my mother about my where abouts and child's, borrow a shovel from the neighbor, naw, too much work, give it back to him, toss her out in the woods of my old dog graveyard a block from my house, and blame it on the made up baby sitter, the ex fiance, and my dad. Yeah, all makes perfect sense to 12 in Tampa.

thewaytolite
-1
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thewaytolite 07/07/11 - 01:11 pm
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because someone is a habitual

because someone is a habitual liar does not make them a murderer. Susan Smith is yet another case where yes she lied but they also had evidence to prove her guilt. Yes she is an irresponsible mother. I can point out plenty of them here in Augusta right now. Everyone has different mentalities and quirks especially when it comes to children. However, it is not your place or mine to judge her fate. Only God can judge her in the end. My way of thinking is derived from the stand point that regardless of what people do or say I cast no judgement. This young woman as much as she lied is still innocent until PROVEN guilty. The state provided no burden of proof of her guilt. As much everyone's common sense tells them that she is guilty, without solid proof she is still innocent in the eyes of the law.

Emotional_Rationale
0
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Emotional_Rationale 07/07/11 - 01:12 pm
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This verdict doesn't seem

This verdict doesn't seem right to anybody that invested too much emotion into this proceeding. The event was very tragic, accidental or not. As a father of two little boys, I could not imagine the grief that this may cause, but I would hope, God forbid, this ever happened to me that I would be able to keep it together.

With that said, while I don't agree with the verdict, to say that this is a miscarriage of justice is a far stretch. To say that the justice has failed is a fallacious claim. Any person that is on trial for a crime is INNOCENT until PROVEN GUILTY. You cannot convict someone on an assumption or circumstantial evidence. None of us were jurors, nor were we at the scene of the crime, so anything that we say is just hyperbole.

And people speak of the evidence, oh the evidence. Do you know what evidence the jurors were actually able to see? What we see on TV and what the jurors see while sequestered are totally different things. We are privy to 24 hour news cycles, where pundits, "experts" and others weigh in on what they think should or should not happen. Those jurors were only given but so much to go off of. Apparently it was not enough to make a conviction.

Emotional_Rationale
0
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Emotional_Rationale 07/07/11 - 01:18 pm
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And another thing, for the

And another thing, for the person that bought up the Susan Smith trial, she actually confessed to the crime. Nine days after the crime she made a full confession that she allowed her vehicle to roll into the river, drowning her two children. Her reasoning for committing such a vile crime: So that she could be with a wealthy local man who had no interest in a "ready-made" family. Now that's sick.

I agree with the few individuals that are posting logical comments. The prosecution proved that she was a liar, that she might have had some questionable parenting techniques, but they couldn't prove that she committed any other crime but that of being negligent and unfit to be a parent. If people want to be upset, that's fine and dandy, but make sure you're directing your anger at the right party.

thewaytolite
-1
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thewaytolite 07/07/11 - 01:29 pm
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0
i really hate the way the

i really hate the way the comments on this page are done

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/07/11 - 01:30 pm
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The child met with a tragic

The child met with a tragic death and an indecent burial while solely in the care of her mother. If that isn't child endangerment or abuse, then absolutely nothing else is either.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 07/07/11 - 01:31 pm
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Already some bars are

Already some bars are advertising Casey Anthony Look-alike Contests with a free bar tab and cabbage patch doll to the winner. How disgusting and sick is that?

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 07/07/11 - 01:48 pm
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Okay the waytolite...so you

Okay the waytolite...so you felt the same for OJ when everyone condemned him after he was found not guilty....please...you are right God will judge her and firmly at that!!!!!

Emotional_Rationale
0
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Emotional_Rationale 07/07/11 - 01:52 pm
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Willow, it's very tragic and

Willow, it's very tragic and rather indecent, but if you can't prove your case it's a moot point. The prosecution couldn't even prove a cause of death, so how could you prove that the mother did anything else. Again, you have to look at hard evidence not circumstantial evidence. In order for the a child endangerment conviction to be upheld, the prosecution would have to prove that the defendant:

* Willfully caused or permitted a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering; OR

* Willfully caused or permitted a child in defendant's custody to have his or her person or health injured; OR

* Willfully caused or permitted a child in defendant's care to be placed in a situation where the child's person or health is endangered

As I said, the whole situation was tragic, but it was not enough to convict her. Yeah it sucks, I know, but that's the way the system is designed.

Emotional_Rationale
0
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Emotional_Rationale 07/07/11 - 01:55 pm
0
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It's not about what you know,

It's not about what you know, or what you believe, it's about what you can prove. This isn't morality court, this isn't spiritual court, this is the US Judicial System. It doesn't matter what we believe at all because in the end it's not going to matter. I believe that we are judged on our own lives and not whether or not we collectively agree on anything. It's about what I do with my life and as long as I don't impede anybody else from pursuing their own, then it's all good in my eyes.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/07/11 - 01:57 pm
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thewaytolite:"However, it is

thewaytolite:"However, it is not your place or mine to judge her fate. Only God can judge her in the end. My way of thinking is derived from the stand point that regardless of what people do or say I cast no judgement "

By your own creed then, you should remain silent as you are accusing others of judging Anthony and then judging them for judging her.

There is a time for anger and righteous indignation to wrong doing.

thewaytolite
-1
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thewaytolite 07/07/11 - 01:59 pm
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0
@lyla OJ's trial was a media

@lyla
OJ's trial was a media circus but yet again the state couldn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt so OJ as stupid as he is is still innocent. The Civil trial didn't require reasonable doubt to squeeze money out of him.
However, i'm doubting Casey Anthony will write a book about "How I killed her daughter and got away with it" even if in a hypothetical context.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 07/07/11 - 02:00 pm
0
0
Already some bars are

Already some bars are advertising Casey Anthony Look-alike Contests with a free bar tab and cabbage patch doll to the winner. How disgusting and sick is that?

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