The prosecution says that they are about halfway through their case. So? How do we think they are doing so far?
They have presented all their evidence rebutting Casey’s initial police statements – the ones where she informed the police that she hadn’t called them when her daughter first went missing, because she was “looking on her own”, using her vast “other resources”. The prosecution had no idea that the defense was planning to just concede this point – that Casey had lied and really wasn’t looking for her daughter – so the prosecution’s questioning of all the “31 Days” witnesses and the queries of “Did she tell you her daughter was missing? Ask for your help? Did she seem upset, depressed, worried?” All fell rather flat and not quite as damning as they would have been had the defense been maintaining that Casey had been diligently searching for Caylee.
The prosecution has also presented Casey’s family members – and if Casey thought that her family was going to lie for her and cater to her every whim once again, well….she was sadly mistaken. Her father denied that he had ever molested her, her mother didn’t back up the defense story that she left the ladder up against the pool the last time she swam with Caylee on the 15th, and her brother didn’t mouth creepy “I Love You’s” to her from the stand.
So let’s rate the cases to date – all ratings being out of a total score of 5.
“31 Day Witnesses” – Cameron Campana, Nathan Leziniewicz, Clint “Roy” House, Maria Kissh, Jamie Realander, Erica Gonzalez, Tony Lazzaro
So, the prosecution couldn’t use these witnesses to rebut Casey’s police statements, since she is now abandoning the position that she spent the 31 days searching for her daughter – although the prosecution was able to show that she had a pretty good time in those 31 days. She wasn’t grieving for her daughter – she was shopping and renting movies. This may be evidence of callousness, but is it evidence of murder – or is it, as the defense claims, Casey living in an alternate reality – one brought on by sexual abuse?
These witnesses actually allowed the defense to score a few points of their own – every one of them maintained that from what they saw, Casey was a great mother – always attentive, loving and never abusive, towards Caylee. It does present a dichotomy – to see Casey causally walking arm in arm with her boyfriend through a Blockbuster the very day she claims her daughter drowned, while this same boyfriend testifies that Casey loved her daughter, that Caylee adored Casey, that Casey always had Caylee’s backpack filled with flash cards and movies and coloring books for her.
So who did these witnesses help? The prosecution – in their portrayal as Casey the party girl – who had no regard for for her daughter’s death – or the defense in their portrayal of Casey as a loving mother?
The Physical Evidence (car, gas cans, shovel)– George Anthony, Brian Burner, Tony Lazzaro, Simon Birch
I still don’t understand the gs can evidence. But as we move further and further into the testimony, I’m beginning to think that my lack of understanding isn’t due to any shortcomings on my part – but has more to do with Baez and his “style” or “lack of style” in defending this case. I liken the gas can evidence and my problems with it to another thing I keep being confused about – the trunk of the car. On one hand, Baez wants us to believe that there’s a smell in the car. He pressed Cindy and George to say “yes, the car smelled liked death”. But then again, he tries to get witnesses to say there wasn’t a smell in the car. I’m still not quite sure, at this point, what the hell his strategy is – is he trying to say that there was a smell in the car, and that George – or Roy Kronk – had Caylee in the trunk, or is he trying to say that there was nothing buy a garbage smell in the car, and Caylee was never in the trunk at all?
I’m quite sure that my confusion with the gas cans stems from the same problem – Jose Baez advancing so many confusing theories, that the point gets lost and we end up being not quite sure exactly what point he’s trying to make.
I have the same problem with the shovel. Since Caylee wasn’t found buried in the back yard, what the hell difference does the shovel make?
The only witness who make any sense and advance anyone’s case with regards to the physical evidence – was Simon Birch. I had some problems with his testimony – like why he didn’t immediately call the police to tell them about the smell in the car – especially after he saw the car on television being processed. It seems to me that if the smell had been so overpowering and so unforgettable, once he saw that the car was associated with a missing child something would have clicked in his head and he would have hopped on the phone. If you couple this failure with the fact that he couldn’t quite remember if he actually saw the pizza box in the bag, or if that’s just something he saw on TV, his testimony is a little more questionable. But, still, his dual experience with garbage and dead bodies lends a lot more credibility to his statements than Cindy’s “excited utterance” of “It smells like there’s been a dead body in the damned car!’
So, in the physical evidence testimony, the prosecution scores for Simon Birch, the defense scores one just because there really is no physical evidence
The Friends and Lovers – Tony Lazzaro, Melissa England, Ricardo Morales, Troy Brown, Lassen Donav, Dante Salati, Matthew Crisp, William Waters, Amy Huizenga
Casey had lots of former lovers – I mean, do we really think she actually knows for certain who Caylee’s father is? And they weren’t always of great character – Ricardo Morales sold photos of Casey and Caylee, and for a pittance, really. It’s no wonder she latched on to Tony Lazzaro, who seems to have been the best of a bad lot. All of her friends did get up on the stand and say that Casey was a good mother, although Ricardo managed to sneak in the “Caylee had a bruise under her eye” tale, although there’s a stipulation to counter that.
Of Casey’s acquaintances, Melissa England seems to have hurt her the most – with her testimony about Casey admitting that she is “Such a good liar”. I wonder about that statement, and what it really means. When someone is living in n alternate reality, as Jose Baez would have us believe Casey is, do they really acknowledge the falsity of that reality – or do they live it minute to minute, day by day, never really understanding that their construct is false? This is why a diminished capacity defense would have been more sensible – we would be able to have a psychiatrist on the stand to explore and explain Casey’s world to those of us not living in her alternate world.
Amy hurt Casey, as well. We could chalk her bitterness up to her being pissed that Casey robbed her blind, but the jury doesn’t even know about this – and never will, since Casey pleaded guilty to those charges, and they can’t be mentioned here. Amy was sent a text message by Casey in which Casey acknowledges the smell her car was giving off – and offering a lame attempt to explain it, and She testified about Casey’s offers to have Amy move into her parent’s home with her – explaining she was taking over the mortgage. I still think Casey had plans to off her parents at some point.
Casey’s text messages to Tony after her mother called the police on her were also damaging – and began to show the jury the self centered attitude she had – when she complained that “OMG I JUST NOW can take a shower” and her horrible experiences with having to drive around all night with the cops – what a inconvenience.
Through the friends and lovers the prosecution began to paint a picture of the self centered attitude of Casey – not just through the 31 days Caylee was missing, but as a normal attribute. Yes, they said she was a good mother – but what resounded more – that she was a good mother – or “OMG I’m such a good liar”?
The Family – Cindy Anthony, George Anthony, Lee Anthony, Mallory Parker
The family has been an enigma since day one – especially Cindy. It was hard to know which way they were flapping in the wind at any given time in the last three years. And as we’ve watched preliminary hearings, we’ve seen defiance, scorn, evasiveness and even hostility from George, Cindy and even Lee.
The way they seemed to stand behind what most people perceived as a baby killer, led to the mass protestors at their home, complete with signs and even live children being used as visual aids by these protestors to voice complete bewilderment of the Anthony’s support for their daughter – and seeming lack of compassion for the granddaughter they claimed to have adored.
What we got on the stand, perhaps due to the theory the defense was offering, was a completely different George and Cindy. George continued to resist Baez – but it was understandable once we heard the defense’s opening statement. George wasn’t going to co-operate with Baez in vilifying him. But George was mostly believable in his denials to the state that he ever molested his daughter, and he was believable in his statements regarding the smell in the car, and although his greetings to Casey of “Hi, Gorgeous!” were odd and questionable, the way he and Cindy seemed to defer to their daughter and her crazy self serving and self centered demands and complaints explained away much of his deference. The videos and phone calls seemed to point out exactly how tightly Casey had George and Cindy wrapped around her finger – and made her statements to others about them seem all the more outlandish.
Lee was clearly a reluctant witness – not saying one single word more than was necessary, but he still repeated Casey’s statement that the reason she wasn’t allowing the family to see Caylee was because “Maybe I’m jut a spiteful Bitch.”
Mallory, Lee’s fiancee, was offered by the state only to further the time line and testify about the search for Casey during the infamous 31 days – her cross examination helped the defense much more than her direct helped the state – when she testified that the relationship between Casey and Caylee was “amazing.”
All in all, though, Cindy’s breakdown on the stand when she described that first night she learned that her daughter was missing was absolutely the highlight of the state’s case so far. And during her cross examination, when Baez went down the list of Casey’s imaginary friends, her imaginary job and her alternate reality fantasy world – the entire viewing audience saw nothing but a broken down, duped, gullible woman, who was still grieving for the loss of her precious grandchild, and was slowly understanding the extent to which her daughter’s evilness had extended – something she had never even considered before she walked into the courtroom.
The Detectives – Rendon Fletcher, Adriana Acevedo, Reginald Hosey, Yuri Melich, Charity Beasley, Awilda Mcbryde, Christine Narkiewicz, Gerardo Bloise
The heinous crime of Yuri Melich being a BLOGGER!! (Oh the horror – but come on, “Dick Tracy Orlando” is still a cool handle), could in no way diminish the powerful taped interviews he conducted with Casey. You could feel the frustration and exasperation he was experiencing after being led on one wild goose chase after another – bring driven around town to empty apartments, old folks homes and apartments that were one street away from friends and acquaintances of Casey’s. The traipse to the back side of Universal Studios was the last straw, and the jury couldn’t help but hear in his voice the last ounce of patience he could muster as he offered Casey one escape hatch after another – including that her child had drowned, which Casey dismissed.
That one of the interviews occurred at Universal Studios, with it’s sectioned off “fantasy lands” only made the interview more surreal – knowing that on that one particular day Universal Studios was hosting a bizarre and frightening new “land”on it’s back lot – “CaseyVille”.
For Melich alone, never mind all the other detectives who came in and out of the investigation, the prosecution scored big. His ability to question Casey more than one time, and even interview her after he knew that everything she was saying was a lie – without unholstering his weapon and shooting her, is a testament to his professionalism and poise. Because I would have.
The defense’s claims that the police were fools for believing Casey in the first place – rang hollow and silly. Although they get one point for bringing up “Dick Tracy Orlando”, just because I’m happy I got to hear such an awesome handle.
The Scientists – Karen Lowe, Michael Vincent
The “hair and air” scientists are the only ones, so far, who have testified. Both of these applications of science are “novel” and untested. But Baez’s lack of skill as a litigator is most apparent in his cross examination of these witnesses. It seems as if he is most familiar with assassinating people rather than science and methods and technology, and his questioning is both underhanded, disingenuous and misleading.
The way he completely misrepresented the Gates case and Michael Malone’s part in it has me looking at Baez, and his tactics, in a completely new light. If he would perpetrate such a fraud on the judge and the opposing attorneys – then what would he lie and misrepresent to the jury?
The defense gets no points. In fact, I would really like to take all their points from earlier rounds away, because now I have no confidence in what Baez has presented to the jury.
So, what do you think? Have there been “highlights” for you that I have missed? Do you disagree with anything that has been a highlight for me? Do you think the prosecution is doing better (or worse) than what I’ve presented here? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.