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Casey Anthony free, but in another kind of prison

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A real-life whodunit

Anthony’s high-profile murder trial offered a real-life whodunit involving a mother accused of using chloroform and duct tape to end the life of her toddler daughter. From the start, the case defied easy explanation. At trial, everyone who knew her testified that Casey was a loving, caring mother.

Even more inexplicable was Casey’s seeming carefree conduct during the 31 days following Caylee’s death before Cindy’s 911 call. Casey stayed with her boyfriend, went to night clubs, took shopping excursions, and got a tattoo that proclaimed “Bella Vita,” beautiful life in Italian. At the same time, she was telling her mother and her friends that Caylee was being cared for by a nanny, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez. The problem was, the nanny didn’t exist. It was all a lie.

Prosecutors sought the death penalty, but they lacked any direct evidence demonstrating how Caylee died. They also lacked any direct evidence linking Anthony to the death.

Caylee’s remains were not discovered until six months after her death. By then the body was a skeleton.

Because of the high level of media coverage of the gruesome case, a jury was selected in Clearwater, Fla., and sequestered in an Orlando hotel for the duration of the trial. After 11 hours of deliberations, the jury found Anthony not guilty of any involvement in Caylee’s death. But the panel convicted her of four misdemeanor counts of lying to police.

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