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Casey Anthony trial: Her father spoke of 'accident,' alleged mistress says

Testifying before the defense rested in the Casey Anthony trial, George Anthony's alleged mistress says he tearfully described Caylee's death as 'an accident that snowballed out of control.'

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Casey Anthony listens to testimony during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse on Thursday, June 30, in Orlando, Fla.

Red Huber/AP

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Several weeks before police found the skeletal remains of two-year-old Caylee Anthony, the toddler’s grandfather told his alleged mistress that Caylee’s death was “an accident that snowballed out of control,” the alleged mistress testified on Thursday.

The testimony came on the 13th and final day of the defense case in the month-long murder trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida mother accused of killing her daughter.

Shortly after that testimony the defense rested after announcing that Ms. Anthony would not take the stand.

The alleged mistress, Krystal Holloway, who volunteered to help search for Caylee, said she and George Anthony – Casey’s father and Caylee’s grandfather – had an intimate relationship in 2008.

She said she was surprised when Mr. Anthony made the statement concerning an accident. At the time, George and his wife, Cindy, were leading a national effort and making media appearances based on an assumption that Caylee had been kidnapped and was still alive.

Ms. Holloway said George Anthony’s comment was made during a quiet conversation at her home around Thanksgiving 2008. “We were talking about his daughter and I mentioned that I didn’t think he could raise somebody that was capable of harming her child,” Ms. Holloway told the jury. “That’s when he said it was an accident that snowballed out of control.”

She said the comment shocked her. “I was caught off guard by it, and when I looked up he had tears in his eyes,” she said.

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In an effort to verify the relationship, Defense Attorney Jose Baez introduced as evidence a copy of a text message apparently sent by George Anthony to Holloway. It said: “Just thinking about you. I need you in my life.”

The message was sent on Dec. 16, five days after Caylee’s remains were found in the wooded area.

In testimony on Tuesday, George Anthony repeatedly denied ever having an affair with Holloway. In addition he denied making any statement about Caylee’s death.

“Did you tell Krystal Holloway that Caylee’s death is an accident that snowballed out of control,” Defense Attorney Baez asked George Anthony on Tuesday.

“That conversation was never there. I never confided in any volunteers,” he said.

“You never told Krystal Holloway while the two of you were being romantic that this was an accident that snowballed out of control,” Mr. Baez asked.

“I never did.”

Casey Antony is charged with first-degree murder in the death her daughter, Caylee. Prosecutors say the mother drugged her daughter with chloroform and then pressed duct tape over her nose and mouth and suffocated her on June 16, 2008. They say Casey hid the body in the trunk of her car for several days before dumping it in a wooded area a quarter-mile from the family home. The remains were discovered on Dec. 11, 2008.

Casey Anthony’s lawyers maintain that the child accidentally drowned in the family’s swimming pool. They say both George and Casey Anthony found the body and tried to cover up the death.

George Anthony has denied any knowledge of how his granddaughter died and says he played no role in the disposal of her body.

Also on Thursday, members of the Anthony family were asked if they followed a certain routine when burying family pets that had died.

Cindy Anthony testified that the family had a special place in the backyard where deceased dogs and cats are interred. She said generally the animal was buried with a favored blanket or toy, and then placed in a garbage bag sealed with tape.

Investigators found Caylee’s skeletal remains partly in a cloth laundry bag and two plastic garbage bags. They also recovered a Winnie the Pooh blanket and pieces of duct tape.

George Anthony denied any knowledge of how the pets were buried. He also denied any knowledge of pieces of duct tape used to hold up posters at a command center for the Caylee search.

The duct tape at the command center was the same distinctive brand of duct tape that investigators found with Caylee’s remains.

“When you found out that your granddaughter was found with a blanket in plastic bags and with duct tape, did you tell law enforcement that that is the way you used to bury your pets,” Baez asked.

Assistant State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton immediately objected. The judge sustained the objection.

Ashton began his cross-examination. “Mr. Anthony, have you ever taken a dead pet and thrown it in a swamp,” he asked.

“No,” he replied.

After Cindy Anthony testified about how various pets had been buried, Assistant State Attorney Linda Burdick began her own cross-examination.

“I take it you did not euthanize your own pets with chloroform,” she asked.

“No, I did not,” Cindy Anthony said.

And did you put duct tape on any of the animals’ faces, she asked.

“No.”

“This is something your family did for years that your children were aware of,” Burdick asked.

Cindy Anthony replied that George had positioned a dog made of stone in the back yard that marked the graves.

“Was Casey present when the dogs were buried,” the prosecutor asked.

Cindy was not sure for two of the animals, but believes she was present for the burial of at least one.

“By the time [Casey] was a senior in high school, she was aware of the burial and method of burial in the yard,” the prosecutor asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Cindy said.

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