The ongoing trial of 25-year-old Casey Anthony, accused of the heinous murder of her sweet and innocent three-year-old daughter Caylee Marie, a child who went missing in mid-2008, took an unexpected turn in court today, June 23, as Casey’s mother made a plausible and reasonable explanation for searches on a home computer for dastardly items, particularly chloroform. The prosecution is seeking to prove that Casey, employed as a “shot waitress” in a Florida tavern, put the toddler to sleep with chloroform, then taped over Caylee’s mouth, so that the sleeping girl died of suffocation. The body was later found in a somewhat remote wooded area, in a plastic bag with duct tape found on the decomposed remains.
Casey’s mother, Cindy Anthony, who has been involved in the case since she called police to report the missing child, testified that she had been the one to make the computer searches. She said that at one point, prior to the absence of Caylee, she had suspected that a family pet, her small dog, was being poisoned resulting from eating leaves in the backyard of their home. Her search originally was for chlorophyll, then went on one thing leading to another, to “chloroform.” Investigation bears out her story. She recalls searching for “alcohol,” “acetone,” “peroxide,” and even “inhalation.”
During the period in which she had the concerns about the dog, Cindy Anthony was also concerned about substances found around the home, in hand sanitizers for example, that might be injurious to small children. She indicated that a friend from work – Mrs. Anthony was working as a nurse at the time – had told her that many such substances were dangerous for young children. Since she didn’t have access to a computer at work, Mrs. Anthony often did such internet searches from the family’s desktop computer, in the home. She specifically mentioned the website druglibrary.org, which she said she viewed “all the time.”
Cindy Anthony’s testimony shed new and different light on the case, which could include a sentence of death for her daughter, Casey. During the prosecution’s examination of deemed-relevant facts, stains and smells from Casey’s car were connected to the child’s disappearance. Cindy Anthony described the Pontiac Sunfire, usually driven by Casey, as a family-bought car. She said the “few little stains” had been in the vehicle when they picked it up from a tow yard.
Also, now, as the defense has begun its testimonies, evidence about hair found at the scene of the discovery of the young Caylee was discussed, and the point was made that that evidence has been ruled inadmissible earlier in the trial.
There have been a number of speculations as to the facts, objective or extenuating, leading to the death of Caylee Anthony. In the end it may be that the allegations of the child’s mother, Casey Anthony, of ongoing abuse from her father, and at the hands of her brother, played an inescapable role in the disappearance. Claims that the child drowned in a small swimming pool have been made. Claims have surfaced too that it was George Anthony, Cindy’s father, Caylee’s grandfather, who played the decisive role in the murder.
Speculation that a lifetime of paternal abuse had an overwhelming effect, beyond Casey’s control, may sway the jury. Did he constantly berate Casey as an unfit mother? Did he make accusations that he was the baby’s father, and that any decisions as to the baby’s care were his sole responsibility? Did his vehement need to control the lives of his daughter and granddaughter bring Casey into such confusion and trepidation that she saw herself acting on impulses she hardly understood?
Or was the child killed by someone other than the baby’s mother, someone able to wield such pressure that those involved made efforts to conceal the murder, or to give the child’s death the appearance of a gruesome homicide at the hands of an unknown killer?
The jury will have to keep their minds, and perhaps their hearts, open during what will be the final days of this trial that has held the attention of so many, for so long.