We all wondered what tact defense attorney Jose Baez would take in his opening statements in the Casey Anthony murder trial. It was a multiple choice test. Would he:
- A. Argue that Caylee lost her life in a tragic accident?
- B. Blame someone else for Caylee’s death?
- C. Explain away all of Casey’s behaviour as the result of incestuous child abuse and poor parenting?
Baez didn’t chose one of those options, he picked D: All the Above. He claimed that in the first three to three and a half minutes, he would give the answers that would explain everything. After five minutes, he was still grinding out his preamble, listing points of fault with the state’s case. Finally, seven minutes into his presentation, Baez dropped his bombshell: Casey never reported her child missing because she was never missing. Caylee died on June 16 in the family swimming pool.
Personally, I think that bomb was a dud. I might have believed it in the summer and fall of 2008. But Baez waits until trial day to reveal this bit of information. Does that mean he allowed his client to sit in jail for more than two years so that he could get more publicity and have his big moment on the national stage?
Baez then moved on to shred Casey’s family to pieces. He spoke of “stories of a family that is incredible dysfunctional. You will hear about ugly things, secret things, thing that people don’t speak about. He proceeded then to speak of them: George’s inappropriate touching of his 8 year old daughter; putting his penis in 13 year old Casey’s mouth; and additional acts of sexual abuse by her brother, Lee.
His client, he said, was raised to lie because of that incestuous abuse. So on June 16, when Caylee drowned in the swimming pool, George Anthony threw his very own daughter under the bus. He was responsible for the duct tape around Caylee’s skull. He was having an affair. He attempted suicide over guilt for what he had done.
Casey, he said, was guilty of nothing but going into denial.
And what of the hapless city utility worker, Roy Kronk? Roy did not kill Caylee, he said, but he is morally bankrupt. He found the body somewhere that summer, held onto it for several months and then dumped it where he would know to find it in December 2008.
How did Casey react to the day’s events? Throughout the State’s straight-foward presentation, she sat with a pouty mouth, tearing up at appropriate moments, shaking her head at others. When Baez started talking, she cried on cue when he mentioned her child abuse, she held her head high. When opening statements wrapped up, the first witness took the stand: George Anthony. Casey never looked full-on at her father. She turned her head in his direction when he spoke, and in the attorneys’ direction when questions were asked, but for the most part, she kept her eyes downcast, looking back and forth as if at a tragically boring tennis tournament.
At the end of court yesterday, I was left with one big question: Is Casey really that good of an actress or has she repeated her fantasy timeline to the defense team so many times that she now believes her own lies?
Today, I can’t help but wondering what the jurors were thinking as they fell asleep last night. Will they see through the smokescreen erected by the defense? Or will they find justice for Caylee Marie Anthony?
Diane Fanning is the author of the only book about the Caylee Anthony story, Mommy’s Little Girl.