UPDATED 2:15 p.m. Casey Anthony escaped the death penalty today after she was cleared of the murder of her two-year-old daughter Caylee.
The 25-year-old Florida mother was found not guilty of drugging her toddler, suffocating her and dumping her body in the nearby woodland.
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See a gallery of photos of the trial here.
During the proceedings of the Casey Anthony trial, prosecution and defense attorneys presented vastly different accounts of how Anthony’s daughter, Caylee, had died.
For the first time, prosecutors said Caylee Anthony died from three pieces of duct tape being placed over her mouth and nose while a defense attorney for the mother claimed the toddler drowned in the family pool and the little girl’s grandfather covered up the accident.
The defense also says Anthony is so disturbed from childhood trauma that she blocked out the death of her daughter. Anthony’s childhood trauma includes sexual abuse by her father and similar abuse attempted by her brother, according to the defense.
Casey Anthony is charged with first-degree murder but has pleaded not guilty to the crime. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death.
An autopsy was never able to conclude a cause of death for Caylee.
LIVE UPDATES FROM EARLIER IN THE TRIAL BELOW:
From the trial on Tuesday, July 5
After deliberating for less than 11 hours in two days, jurors have now reached a verdict, which will be released at 2:15 ET.
If convicted of first-degree murder, CaseyAnthony could get a death sentence. Anthony could also be acquitted or convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter.
From the trial on Monday, July 4
Prosecutors argued Monday morning that Casey killed her 2-year-old daughter because she interrupted her carefree partying and love life. In their rebuttal closing argument, the prosecution said the defense’s assertion that Caylee’s death was an accident made no sense.
Judge Belvin Perry separated the main jury of seven women and five men from five alternates and sent them into the deliberation room just after noon on Monday. The jurors did not return a verdict by the time the judge released them for the evening just after 6 p.m. The alternates are being sequestered in a separate area of the Orlando courthouse.
The jury received the more than 400 pieces of evidence in the jury room that have been presented by both sides in the case since the trial began in late May. If jurors request to view any of the video evidence, the jurors will be brought into open court, because equipment for video viewing is not available in the deliberation room.
From the trial on Friday, July 1
Indefinite recess called by judge
The judge called an indefinite recess Friday morning so the defense could take depositions of witnesses the prosecution plans to call during its rebuttal case. Lead defense attorney Jose Baez said the state had failed to disclose all the information a computer expert and forensic anthropologist planned to testify to.
From the trial on Thursday, June 30
Final witnesses called
The defense called its final witnesses Thursday, which did not include Casey Anthony. When the defense rested, experts said it may have left lingering questions and failed to deliver on promises it made at the outset to explain how the toddler died. The prosecution can now call witnesses as a rebuttal to the defense’s argument.
From the trial on Wednesday, June 29
George Anthony breaks into tears; talks about suicide
The defense may have been dealt a blow when Casey Anthony’s father started crying Wednesday while telling jurors about his suicide attempts six weeks after his granddaughter’s body was found. George Anthony wrote a suicide note that said he was trying to overdose because he had unanswered questions about what happened to Caylee. He denied allegations that he covered up Caylee’s drowning.
Casey Anthony expressed no emotion as her father cried, though earlier in the day she had been crying during other testimony.
A grief expert also testified it is possible for a young person dealing with a death to exhibit the same behavior Casey Anthony did in the weeks after Caylee had been killed.
From the trial on Tuesday, June 28
Search leader invokes fifth amendment
The trial finished its 30th day Thursday, with former search leader Joseph Jordan using his constitutional right against self-incrimination to avoid answering a question during testimony. Jordan invoked the fifth amendment after being asked a question about Caylee Anthony’s remains.
Judge Belvin Perry later ruled that he would instruct attorneys to disregard that Jordan took the Fifth.
From the trial on Monday, June 27
The trial resumed Monday after Saturday’s session ended abruptly due to an undisclosed legal issue. Anthony’s attorneys asked for a mistrial and asked that she get a mental evaluation, but the judge ruled she was competent to continue.
From the trial on Saturday, June 25
Session ends abruptly due to legal issue
Saturday had been planned as an extended weekend workday, but Judge Belvin Perry ordered a recess due to a legal issue. Perry made the announcement after nearly an hour of discussions with lawyers both in and out of the courtroom.
From the trial on Friday, June 24
Casey Anthony cries; her mother questioned about Caylee’s clothes
Casey Anthony’s mother, Cindy, returned to the stand Friday, and was questioned about a pair of shorts found with the remains of her granddaughter, Caylee, in December 2008.
Casey Anthony wiped away tears while a video of her playing with her daughter was played for the jury.
From the trial on Thursday, June 23
Casey Anthony’s mother says she searched for chloroform
Casey Anthony’s mother surprised prosecutors Thursday by testifying that she had conducted Internet searches on chloroform. Cindy Anthony’s testimony directly contradicted prosecutors’ theory that her daughter was the one who made the Internet searches.
Chloroform is a chemical compound that can knock someone unconscious and is also found in human decomposition.
Cindy Anthony said she had searched for chloroform while looking up information on chlorophyll, a green pigment found in plants that she believed her dogs may have been eating.
From the trial on Wednesday, June 22
FBI analysts don’t bolster defense’s argument much
The trial was a half day because Judge Belvin Perry had to attend a judge’s meeting.
Attorneys spent several hours questioning FBI analysts, including Maureen Bottrell, a geologist and forensic examiner who inspected nearly two dozen pairs of shoes from the Anthony home. Bottrell said she found nothing on Anthony's shoes that matched the soil from the woods where Caylee's remains were found. But Bottrell also said the absence of soil on shoes doesn’t mean the person wasn’t at the scene.
The defense also called Madeline Montgomery, a forensic toxicologist, who said she found no evidence of various drugs in Caylee's hair when she tested the items. Montgomery said a drug given to someone who then died soon after wouldn’t show up in the hair anyway.
From the trial on Tuesday, June 21
Caylee may have been in the woods for a much shorter period
Forensic botanist Jane Bock testified that Caylee Anthony’s skeletal remains could have been in the woods for as little as two weeks when they were discovered in December 2008, a much shorter time period than prosecutors said they had been.
But the defense team also suffered a setback when Judge Perry ruled that a defense DNA expert could not testify about decomposition evidence found in Anthony’s trunk until after a hearing is held.
From the trial on Monday, June 20
Court recesses early
Judge Belvin Perry recessed for the day at 11 a.m. because he said attorneys for both sides were wasting the court’s time. Perry’s decision came after a half-hour argument by the attorneys about evidence defense lawyers may have failed to disclose.
From the trial on Saturday, June 18
Caylee’s autopsy called ‘shoddy’; Baez told again he’s in ‘contempt of court’
A renowned forensic expert called the autopsy done on Caylee “shoddy.” The expert said that the duct tape prosecutors claim suffocated the girl was not applied until after the child’s body decomposed.
Defense attorney Jose Baez was told he was in “contempt of court” Saturday after he tried to question a forensic anthropologist — in front of jurors — about an opinion that had not been shared previously with the prosecution. Judge Belvin Perry said Baez would face sanctions after the trial was over.
From the trial on Friday, June 17
A fight breaks out; forensic expert testifies about trunk
Punches were thrown early Friday morning as people scrambled to get in line for a ticket to watch the murder trial from the courtroom. No arrests have been made.
Timothy Huntington, a forensic expert specializing in entomology, testified about the insects in the trunk of Anthony's car and at the scene where her daughter Caylee was found.
From the trial on Thursday, June 16
Defense calls its first witness
The defense called its first witness Thursday in its attempt to prove why Caylee Anthony is dead. Gerardo Bloise, an Orange County Sheriff's Office crime scene investigator, testified that there were no stains on Anthony’s pants.
FBI DNA examiner Heather Seubert testified that said she found no blood or DNA in the trunk of Anthony's car, or blood on any of Anthony's clothes.
The defense contends that Caylee was drowned in her grandparents’ swimming pool, and her body was disposed of by her grandfather.
The prosecution, which says Caylee was suffocated by her mother with duct tape, has presented all its evidence.
From the trial on Wednesday, June 15
Prosecution rests its case
Prosecutors finished presenting their case Wednesday morning after introducing several new items into evidence, including two cans that contain a portion of the trunk liner from Anthony's car. The judge also read the definition of “bella vita,” the words of the tattoo Anthony got on her back while Caylee was missing. The words mean “beautiful life” in Italian.
From the trial on Tuesday, June 14
Tattoo artist testifies; Anthony questioned about Caylee’s remains
Lawyers said that Casey Anthony might take the stand Tuesday. Prosecutors questioned their final witnesses, who included a crime scene investigator and the artist who tattooed “Bella Vita” on Anthony in the weeks after her daughter, Caylee, went missing in 2008.
The prosecution also discussed items that were recovered in the woods where Caylee’s remains were found, including Anthony’s hair, canvas bags, and duct-tape at the family's home.
From the trial on Monday, June 13
Trace-evidence analyst testified about heart stickers
The murder trial enters its fourth week Monday. Only a few prosecution witnesses remain, including a trace-evidence analyst and a tattoo artist Anthony visited in the weeks after her daughter's disappearance.
An FBI latent print examiner testified Monday that adhesive in the shape of a heart was found on a corner of a piece of duct tape that was covering the mouth of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony. Court documents in the case have stated that a sheet of heart-shaped stickers, with several missing, were found in the Anthony home.
From the trial on Saturday, June 11
Evidence that could indicate a decomposing body found in trunk
Neal Haskell, an expert in forensic entomology from Saint Joseph's College in Indiana, testified that flies and fly larvae found in Casey Anthony's car trunk were signs that a decomposing body had once been there.The flies were among the trash left in the vehicle.
Defense attorney Jose Baez tried to show that the flies could have been attracted by garbage or leftover food.
From the trial on Friday, June 10
More pictures of Caylee shown to court; Anthony cries
The testimony continued to show pictures of Caylee’s body and her tattered clothing. When a witness testified that Caylee's remains had been chewed and spread by animals, Anthony melted down in tears.
From the trial on Thursday, June 9
Pictures of Caylee shown to court; Anthony says she can’t continue
Computer forensic experts remained on the stand Thursday.
The jury and the courtroom also saw pictures of Caylee’s body as it was found in the woods. The images of the skull of the 2-year-old were pixilated. In the courtroom, they were not.
Casey Anthony cried when she saw the images, and just before a mid-afternoon break, said she was feeling nauseous. The court then adjourned for the day because Anthony was unable to continue. The judge did not tell the jury the reason it adjourned early so as not to influence them.
From the trial on Wednesday, June 8
Anthony searched for ‘chloroform,’ ‘neck breaking,’ nanny’s name; dog found human decomposition in backyard
Jurors heard more forensic evidence Wednesday, including testimony from Sandra Osborne, a police computer forensics expert, who said that retrieved search information on the computer used by Casey Anthony and parents showed a search for the word “chloroform.” The history of that search was deleted, but Osborne testified she was able to find it.
Computer forensic expert John Dennis Bradley also said someone had also conducted searches on Wikipedia for keywords including “death,” “internal bleeding,” “hand to hand combat,” “chest trauma,” “ruptured spleen,” and “neck breaking.”
Osborne said she found searches on the morning of July 16, 2008, for Zenaida-Fernandez Gonzalez, the name of the nanny Anthony previously said had watched Caylee for nearly two years. The defense has since admitted that the nanny never existed.
Osborne said there was no record of searches for that name before that date on the computer.
A person named Zenaida-Fernandez Gonzalez filed a suit in 2009 against Anthony because of the use of her name.
K-9 handler Deputy Kristin Brewer also testified Wednesday, saying that her K-9 alerted her to human decomposition in the backyard of Anthony’s home during a search in July 2008.
From the trial on Tuesday, June 7
Testimony on chloroform residue and smell of human remains presented
More arguments on forensic evidence ranging from chloroform residue detected on items in Anthony’s car to garbage found in the trunk were presented Tuesday.
Michael Rickenbach, a forensic chemist examiner with the FBI, told jurors that residue of chloroform was identified in Anthony’s car. Chloroform can be deadly if inhaled, and investigators said someone at the Anthony's home searched the Internet for the term on the family computer.
Rickenbach also told the court he detected an odor when he opened the can containing the fabric from the spare tire cover.
Orange County Deputy Jason Forgey also testified that a trained dog alerted them to the smell of human remains in Anthony’s car.
From the trial on Monday, June 6
Forensic evidence presented that supports idea Caylee died in car
Forensic and science experts testified on evidence from Anthony's car, including a hair and a stain found in the trunk, and traces of chloroform. Prosecutors are trying to prove that Anthony suffocated her daughter, Caylee, with duct tape.
A scientist who says he has pioneered a way of detecting human decomposition from air samples said that he smelled an “overwhelmingly strong” odor of human decomposition in an air sample taken from the car of 25-year-old Casey Anthony.
“I jumped back a foot or two,” Arpad Vass said of a can that contained air sampled from Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire. “It was shocking that little bitty can could have that much odor.”
Prosecutors say they are about halfway through presenting their case.
Legal experts are now saying a conviction may be likely for Anthony.
From the trial on Saturday, June 4
Hair in Casey’s trunk decomposed
Technical testimony was given by an FBI analyst who testified that a 9-inch-long brown hair found in Anthony's trunk shows signs of decomposition, and could have been ripped from the dead body of her daughter.
From the trial on Friday, June 3
From jail, Anthony said “heart is aching”
The prosecution introduced more recordings Friday of visits Anthony had in the weeks following her initial 2008 arrest.
In one recording, Anthony told her parents her “heart is aching” because she wanted to be home with them and with Caylee. Anthony also complimented the family on their efforts to find Caylee, telling them to “keep the faith.”
“You are doing a great job, mom,” Casey Anthony had said during the visit. “I know it’s hard. I know better than anyone right now. You are doing so great.”
She also talked with her parents about the day Caylee would come home, saying, “I’m going to be the crazy, overprotective mom. I won’t let her out of my sight.”
From the trial on Thursday, June 2
Anthony lied about working at Universal, told dad he was a “wonderful father”
Thursday marks the eighth day of testimony, and the halfway point in the trial.
A man named Jeff Hopkins testified Thursday that Anthony had never dated him, as she said she had done. He said he never introduced her to a nanny named Zenaida Gonzalez, who Anthony originally said had been responsible for Caylee’s disappearance. Hopkins also said she had not worked at Universal Studios since 2006, despite years of claims to the contrary.
Leonard Turtora, assistant manager of loss prevention at Universal Studios, testified that Anthony had not worked there since 2006. According to testimony, Anthony claimed to work as an event planner at Universal Studios until after Caylee was reported missing.
The prosecution also introduced recordings of conversations between Anthony and her father while she was in jail.
George Anthony told his daughter how much he loved her, and she responded, “I know that, dad. You have been a wonderful father and grandfather. I don't want you to think otherwise.”
The new recording ran contrary to Casey’s defense team’s claims that her father sexually abused her as a child.
From the trial on Wednesday, June 1
Former friend will open proceedings
A former friend of Casey Anthony was cross-examined by the defense Wednesday.
Anthony’s brother and sheriff’s deputies were also called to the witness stand, in an effort to give jurors a deeper look at the lies Casey told them while her daughter was missing.
From the trial on Tuesday, May 31
Cindy Anthony says Casey was jealous
Casey’s mother Cindy Anthony was back on the stand Monday, telling the court that she thought her daughter was jealous of her close relationship with Caylee. She said Casey denied having feelings of jealousy.
Cindy also broke down in tears as she recounted a 911 call she made in July 2008 after her daughter told her Caylee had been missing for 31 days.
Casey's brother, Lee, received permission Tuesday to attend the murder trial after the Anthony family attorney argued he should be allowed to be there. The prosecution tried to prevent Lee from attending because they said he would be influenced by the other testimony.
From the trial on Saturday, May 28
Cindy Anthony says she tried to find Caylee
Casey’s mother Cindy Anthony took the stand for Saturday’s half day hearing, testifying emotionally about her attempts to get her daughter to bring Caylee home in June and July 2008.
Cindy said her daughter at times claimed that Caylee was with a nanny, but at other times said she had Caylee with her on a business trip.
At one point during her testimony, a teary Cindy asked court officials to remove a display of her granddaughter's picture, saying that she could not remain composed while looking at the girl's image.
From the trial on Friday, May 27
Anthony may have to take the stand, had “amazing” relationship with Caylee
The fiancée of Casey Anthony's brother says Anthony had an “amazing” relationship with her daughter Caylee.
Experts are now saying that the sexual abuse allegations the defense team has made may have created a scenario in which Casey Anthony must take the stand.
From the trial on Thursday, May 26
Anthony said she was a “good liar,” fought with father about gas cans
Melissa England, a prosecution witness and friend of Anthony’s, said that during a conversation in July 2008, Anthony had made up a story about a flat tire, then proudly threw down her phone on the car dashboard and said, “Oh my G-d, I’m such a good liar.”
Anthony’s father, George, was called back on the stand. A retired law enforcement officer, George was asked to describe what happened on June 24, 2008, when he discovered the lock on his shed was broken, and his gas cans were missing.
He says he asked his daughter about the missing gas cans and about his granddaughter Caylee. George said Casey was “a little abrasive,” and said she had to get ready for work. She also told him, “Here's your [expletive] gas cans,” before giving him the cans slamming the trunk.
George said he then put duct tape on one of the gas cans because a plastic piece was missing from the can when Casey returned it
Anthony’s ex-boyfriend, Anthony Lazarro, was also called back to the stand to talk about how Casey interacted with Caylee. He said he remembers the two laughing and playing together, and Caylee would often run to her mother. “She was a great little girl. Caylee could count to 40 in Spanish. She loved 'Dora the Explorer,” said Lazarro.
Anthony started crying while Lazarro spoke about Caylee.
From the trial on Wednesday, May 25
Anthony never seemed upset in weeks after Caylee’s disappearance
Two former roommates of Anthony's ex-boyfriend testified that Anthony never appeared worried, depressed or angry during the weeks following Caylee’s death.
Her ex-boyfriend, Anthony Lazzaro, also testified that there was no change in Anthony‘s demeanor during those weeks. He said she did not indicate anything was wrong, never mentioned her daughter, and never called her.
From the trial on Tuesday, May 24
Defense makes sex abuse allegations, says Caylee found in swimming pool; prosecution says Anthony is liar
Anthony had earlier said that a babysitter kidnapped the child, but her lawyer Jose Baez now says Anthony is so disturbed from childhood trauma that she blocked out the death of her daughter.
Anthony’s childhood trauma includes sexual abuse by her father and similar abuse attempted by her brother, according to the defense.
When Anthony’s father George took the stand, he denied that Caylee had been found in the swimming pool, and denied that he had sexually abused his daughter.
One of the main themes the prosecution has relied on is that Casey Anthony is a liar, having lied to her family about where she worked and where her daughter was located, and leading the police on a wild goose chase to find Caylee.
In order to make the case that Caylee died of an accidental drowning, the defense had to admit that Anthony had lied about the existence of a babysitter.
The prosecution has also harped on Anthony’s behavior after Caylee’s disappearance. Anthony had gone out partying with friends and got a tattoo that reads “Bella Vita,” or the ”good life” in Italian, in the weeks after her daughter’s death occurred.