BT 329 & TalkTalk 329
The Casey Anthony Trial: Where are they now?
It’s been more than two years since the Not Guilty verdict that stunned the US – but what’s happened since to this real life drama’s major players…
George and Cindy Anthony
When Casey Anthony stood in Orlando’s Orange County Courthouse to hear her fate a nation held its breath. As news of her murder acquittal hit TV channels on July 5, 2011, more than one tough news anchor broke down in tears over what many saw as lack of justice for Casey’s two-year-old daughter Caylee.
How has life moved on for the characters that captured America’s imagination two summers ago?
After walking free from court Casey, then 25, was released from prison shortly after and later had two of her convictions for providing police with false information overturned. After this the woman who’d been portrayed by her critics as a ‘party girl’ who got a tattoo of the Italian phrase ‘Bella Vita’ or ‘life is good’ just weeks after Caylee’s disappearance, pretty much vanished from public consciousness.
She was pictured for the first time since her trial in March this year just two months after filing for bankruptcy claiming she had debts of almost $800,000 and just a thousand in the bank. There was also a report in notorious tabloid the National Enquirer around the same time claiming Casey was pregnant again by a mystery wealthy man. One group of concerned citizens apparently started a petition to force her to be sterilised.
Casey says she has been unemployed since her daughter’s death and now relies on donations from strangers and her former lawyers. She says she’s opposed the idea of selling her story to raise funds.
In a telephone interview with Piers Morgan around a year after her acquittal she told the CNN host: ‘Obviously I didn’t kill my daughter. She was my greatest accomplishment.’
Judge Belvin Perry
Cindy and George Anthony:
It was a phone call from Caylee’s grandmother Cindy to emergency services in mid-July 2008 that started the chain of events that saw her daughter Casey charged with murder.
A regular presence in court with husband George, Casey’s father, in a candid chat with US TV host Dr Phil a few months after the case was wrapped up it was revealed that the couple disagreed over whether their daughter had in fact killed Caylee.
Initially estranged from Casey, by summer 2012 the pair had supposedly reconciled according to People Magazine, including a morbid pact where they both wear necklaces containing Caylee’s ashes.
George, who attempted suicide in January 2009, had to deal with allegations from his daughter’s defence team that he not only covered up the death of his granddaughter, but also sexually abused Casey for many years. In fact the defence case said her dysfunctional childhood was supposedly what led to her carrying on as normal after Caylee’s disappearance. DNA tests were even carried out to rule out George and Casey’s brother Lee being Caylee’s biological father, but he has never been prosecuted.
Following his interview with Casey’s parents, Dr Phil revealed: ‘They question themselves every minute of every day. What did we fail to see? What could we have done differently?’
The 56-year-old Florida prosecutor concluded a high-flying 30-year career in the courts with the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, retiring after the case to work part time in a law firm and write a book of his experiences working on it. Ashton’s book, ‘Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony’, sought to shed new light on the death of Caylee, how the case was built against her mother and why he believes she was found innocent in a jury verdict that left him stunned. It was published in November 2011 and inspired Prosecuting Casey Anthony starring Rob Lowe.
Ashton went on to run for Florida State Attorney in 2012 and won.
Casey Anthony’s lead defence lawyer published his own book about the case, Presumed Guilty, in July 2012, and two years on says he’s ‘still haunted’ by the unsolved mystery of Caylee’s death.
In Baez’s book he criticises the police for never having investigated George, the case judge Belvin Perry Jr for releasing the names of the jurors after the trial and also reveals he shed a tear when the hardback version became a New York Times bestseller.
He now has a ‘dream office’ in Coral Gables, Florida, and helps to support his former client financially.
Judge Belvin Perry:
In his first interview since the Casey Anthony case, Chief Judge Perry told America’s Today Show in June that ‘there were two sides’ to her and that she was ‘very manipulative’.
‘There was the public persona that she wanted the jury to see and there was that side that she showed when the jury wasn’t there,’ he revealed.
He also claimed feeling ‘surprise’, ‘shock’ and ‘disbelief’ when the not guilty verdict was read out in court as he believed ‘there was sufficient evidence to sustain a verdict of murder in the first degree.’