Has the Jury Reached a Verdict?

Little Caylee Anthony caught our attention in July of 2008 when she was reported missing. We all watched the  news, hoping to hear something good – that this toddler had been found, unharmed, and returned to her loving family. Instead, we heard lies from her mother. Lies about a baby sitter, lies about a job. So many lies we couldn’t help but believe this mother was involved in the child’s disappearance.

We remained connected to the story. And then the news broke. A skull was located in a swampy area less than a mile from the Anthony home.

We all ‘knew’ Casey killed her little girl. We all knew Casey was a habitual liar and a party girl. A twenty-something saddled with a child who threw off her groove.

And now, as long into Casey’s trial as Caylee had been missing, we’re hearing closing arguments. I’ve watched some of the trial each day. I’ve nearly gagged on some of the absurd notions the defense has asked us to digest. The entire defense sounds like one Casey Anthony lie after another. And what lies they were. She made up people. She gave them jobs, illnesses, families, homes. She thought on the fly sometimes. Had other lies planned. She wove a tail a best-selling author would envy.

But there was one difference.

In fiction, we hope our readers will suspend disbelief as our stories sweep them into another world for three or four hundred pages. Casey’s fiction, with all its twists and turns, is meant to convince without question. In her fiction, fiction and truth overlap, meld, become a cohesive tale so intricately woven, one cannot help wonder how and why she lies so easily.

From my seat on the sofa, watching this trial, I have no doubt she’s guilty. The defense threw out a scenario of this child’s death but failed to follow up with details of what happened to her little body. If she drowned in the family pool as they said, and 911 was not called… what happened next? Where did they put her body? Instead of telling us this vital detail, they’ve blamed Casey’s father, her brother, her mother. Everyone else is a suspect.

But a suspect in what?

They said the child accidentally drowned in the pool. There’s nothing more to it than that except that they panicked and did not call for help and then disposed of Caylee’s body improperly. What is improper and how does it relate to how little Caylee was found?

It’s easy to question the defense – and the prosecution, I suppose – from my living room. But, if I were on the jury, hearing only what the jury is permitted to hear, would I feel the same way?

I don’t think so.

Just the closing arguments yesterday were enough to put doubt in my mind. This is a capital case, with the death penalty as punishment. You only vote guilty if the prosecution proves its case “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

I ‘know’ Casey Anthony committed a horrendous crime against her innocent little girl.  The prosecution, IMO, has presented a solid case proving that. But if I were a juror in this trial – unable to discuss the case with people I know, unable to listen as pundits hash out the details on TV – I’d have to raise my hand for “not guilty”.

What say you?

12 Responses to Has the Jury Reached a Verdict?

  • It about makes me sick to the stomach to think there wasn’t enough proof presented to prove guilt or innocence. But I agree. There is still a reasonable doubt. We can only hope and pray that at some date, even in the future, that something will surface to prove the truth. What a terrible way for a little life to end.

    • There was enough circumstantial proof, I think. The prosecution had an incredibly detailed and logical argument. The defense had a shoddy, desperate argument but I think jurors will see some of that as possibility. It’s all so heartbreaking.

  • Thoughtful post, Debbie, making a correlation between the fiction we write and the fiction that may occur during courtroom proceedings.

    I haven’t followed the trial so I don’t feel justified putting forth a personal opinion. However I’d agree with you that what we think about the case is colored by outside media and discussions like this one.

    Jurors are generally sequestered in capital cases and have a different set of rules to follow than us, the main one being “beyond a shadow of a doubt.” That’s got to be a tough one to overcome when there’s no definitive reason given by forensics for cause of death.

    • Exactly. They’ve been sequestered and have not had their opinions colored by media coverage, multiple sidebars and other court conversations from which they’d been excluded. I wouldn’t want this jury’s job.

  • I’ve caught flashes of the case on the news; however, I’ve not been following as closely as you are. Even with as little as I know, I suspect she’s guilty. I mean, if the death was accidental, why hide the body?

    Having served on one jury…well, I was surprised at the way people make decisions in there. It was a far cry from Twelve Angry Men. LOL Most of them just wanted to go home. I’ll be curious to see the verdict.

    What an interesting and thought provoking post.

    • I wondered about jury fatigue. These poor people have been sequestered for nearly two months. They missed the Memorial Day holiday and Fourth of July. That’s a huge chunk of their lives. I hope they do justice to that by thinking through all the evidence and making a decision based on that rather than on getting out of there. I said it before but I’ll say it again, I wouldn’t want to be them.

  • Wow! I didn’t know anything about this trial but it sounds tragic. And trying to follow a trial on t.v. where you don’t get the full details of what the jury is hearing every day makes it hard to judge.

    • And worse, it’s not just judging guilt or innocence – which is bad enough – but it’s judging pre-meditation. The death penalty is on the table here. I can’t imagine deciding that. I believe she’s guilty of this unspeakable crime but I’ve never been a proponent of the death penalty. That’s where reasonable doubt comes into play for me. There’s almost always that “what if”…

  • She’s guilty from what I know. Her posturing reminds me of my drug-addict little sister, who was never guilty of anything. She could always manufacture facts and point fingers – mainly at my parents.

    Having said that, I remember 30-odd years ago when our grandstanding district attorney and a compliant media convicted Cullen Davis of a murder he didn’t commit. Fortunately, his fate was decided by a jury rather than a politician and media fascinated with persecuting the wealthiest man ever to stand trial for murder.

    • So many people have been exonerated after years of incarceration. What if they find her guilty and recommend the death penalty, only to find out years from now when science becomes yet more specific, that she was innocent? I don’t know. As I said, I think she’s guilty, too. I’m just not sure I’d be able to say so if I were on that jury. They’re not privy to all the info we have through the media.

  • I can’t imagine her getting off. If she does it will be a tragic miscarriage of justice. Of course she’s guilty. If she weren’t guilty she wouldn’t have pretended for so many months and made up so many ridiculous lies. I have to hope the jury understands that.

    • I think it’s the lies that worry me the most. Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I can’t help wonder if there isn’t a reason for those lies. Was she abused as a child? It wasn’t proven in court but that doesn’t mean she’s not an abuse survivor, surviving the only way she knows how – by lying. Her behavior during the time her child was lost makes her seem guilty – partying, entering a Hot Body contest, hosting a pizza party at a tattoo parlor. And she did have the “most to gain” from little Caylee’s death. But… I think I’ll always wonder what secrets this family is keeping and that wonder has anchored reasonable doubt deep in my mind.

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