Intense day of evidence ends with Anthony illness
Thursday, June 9, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Florida mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter took ill Thursday, prompting the judge in her murder trial to recess court early and end the most intense day of evidence so far, which included jurors viewing pictures of the toddler’s decomposed skull.
Judge Belvin Perry announced the news after sending the jury home for the day, asking them not to speculate about why court was ending early.
Casey Anthony cried, dabbed her eyes with a tissue and looked away as pictures of Caylee Anthony’s remains were displayed in the courtroom Thursday morning. By afternoon, she looked to be getting progressively more emotional, keeping her head down to avoid seeing the pictures. At one point during a break she had to briefly step out of the courtroom.
She was returned to Orange County jail and treated by medical staff there.
Earlier in the day, a few jurors could be seen wiping their faces and others glanced away as photos were shown of the December 2008 discovery of the toddler’s remains.
Perry warned people in the courtroom that graphic photos would be shown. He asked anyone who might become queasy to leave during a short break before prosecutors called a crime scene investigator from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Jurors then viewed a series of photos depicting the wooded area near the home of Anthony’s parents where Caylee’s remains were found. Duct tape was visible on her skull.
Anthony is charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors say she used duct tape to suffocate her daughter in the summer of 2008. The defense contends the little girl drowned in her grandparents’ pool. The child’s remains were found about six months later.
Before any photos were shown, jurors first heard a 911 tape from December 11, 2008, when a utility worker said he found a human skull in the woods near the Anthony home.
A crime scene investigator who photographed the scene guided jurors through it via the pictures she took. She identified several items that were also found with the remains, including a strip of duct tape found across the front of the skull. Other items included a white laundry bag, a black plastic bag, a red plastic Disney bag and a pair of child’s shorts.
The judge asked that all photos depicting the girl’s skull be blurred over the courtroom video feed that is being broadcast on multiple local and national news stations.
Casey Anthony’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony, were not in the courtroom Thursday, the first time they have missed a full day of testimony since the trial started.
A deputy medical examiner also detailed a series of photos taken of evidence collected from the scene.
He said an examination of the duct tape covering Caylee’s skull showed multiple pieces still affixed to it.
“The pieces of tape were attached to each other,” Dr. Gary Utz said. “They were not separated. ... It appeared to be more than one (piece).”
Casey Anthony’s brother, Lee, also testified Thursday that his sister told him a nanny took her daughter in June 2008 because she didn’t believe the Orlando woman was being a good mother. It was his second time on the stand.
Lee Anthony testified that his sister told him about the nanny while she was free on bond in August 2008. According to his testimony, Casey Anthony told him the nanny, called Zanny, met her in an Orlando park and held her down with the help of her sister.
He said his sister told him “it was Zanny’s opinion that Casey was not being a good mother for Caylee and that she was taking Caylee from her to teach her a lesson.”
Lee Anthony said his sister told him the nanny told her not to go to police. According to testimony, Casey Anthony told her brother she didn’t try to stop the nanny from taking the child because she was scared and “didn’t know what to do.”
He said Casey Anthony told him the nanny had taken control of her MySpace account and was sending her messages that instructed her where to go as she searched for Caylee. He said his sister told him she had to “fulfill obligations” in order to see the child again.
According to Lee Anthony’s testimony, she said the nanny changed the password for her MySpace account to “timer55.” He said Casey Anthony told him the password had something to do with the number of days between the date Caylee was taken and Aug. 9, 2008, when the child would have turned 3.
“It was her hope she would get her back on that day,” Lee Anthony said.