Heaven knows Cindy Anthony has given us a lot of reasons to criticize and even dislike her.  But when she took the stand in the murder trial of her daughter, I was flooded with nothing but empathy.
After writing ten true crime books, I know how difficult it is to be the loved one of a murder victim.  I’ve learned to that being the loved one of a perpetrator is a heavy burden as well.  Cindy is unfortunate to be filling both those roles at once.  The horror of walking in Cindy’s shoes was never more apparent to me than while I was watching her testimony on Saturday.

Cindy looked like a woman who had been through an emotionally exhausting ordeal and knew the worst was yet to come.  She cried when she described her granddaughter Caylee’s bed.  Her tears seemed sincere expressions of grief not the acidic tears of self-pity we’ve seen so often from her daughter.

She broke down again when describing Caylee’s playhouse.  Her uncontrollable anguish prompted Prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick asked if she needed a break.  The judge granted the request.  During that time of no audio, we witnessed tears of rage from Casey Anthony.  We could not hear what she said, but her ire was apparent.  From the hostile and sullen looks she’d cast at her mother, it was obvious the target of her anger was her mother.

When court resumed, with Cindy back in the stand, Linda Drane Burdick asked, “After June 15 of 2008, did you see your grandaughter Caylee again?”

Cindy’s voice quavered as she answered: “No, Ma’am.  I did not.”  Cindy swayed in her seat and looked as if she might pass out,

The state later asked her how long she continued to search for the real Zanny.  Cindy admitted she never stopped looking until six weeks earlier.  I know it sounds ridiculous, on the surface, that she had continued tilting at that windmill; but I could understand the desperation of a mother wanting to avoid the ugly truth about her own daughter.

The looks Casey gave her mother were the thing that really elevated my empathy for Cindy.  I put myself in her shoes and imagined my daughter looking at me the way Casey looked at Cindy.  That thought was nauseating and disturbing.  The hatred shooting from Casey’s eyes in Cindy’s direction is the stuff of every mother’s nightmare.

And as Dr. Lillian Glass wrote: “For the first time, when Cindy walked off the stand without looking at Casey,she literally walked away from Casey and her lies forever ”

Perhaps now, Cindy Anthony has her focus in the right place–on finding justice for her granddaughter Caylee.

Question to my readers: I’ve recieved some harsh criticism for calling for Justice for Caylee.  They say that it is ridiculous and fatuous phrase–you can’t get anything for a dead person.  What do you think about that opinion?  Is it all about justice for Caylee?  Or do you think the critics are right?
As currently planned, I will be on Nancy Grace this Tuesday night talking about this case–8pm Eastern on HLN.
If you missed my appearance on Justice with Judge Jeanine, that segment of the show is now online.