Photo Credit: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT
Our collective jaws dropped around the iVillage offices as the verdict was read: Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. They dropped again after she received her sentence at a July 7 hearing -- though sentenced to four years in prison, Anthony will actually be released from jail on July 13, 2011
Of the seven counts against her, Anthony, 25, was found not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter. She was found guilty on all four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer, for which she was fined $1,000 and one year in prison for each count. Since Anthony has already served nearly three years in an Orlando prison, Judge Belvin Perry worked with prosecution and defense lawyers, along with the department of corrections, to determine Anthony’s actual release date after applying credit for time served and good behavior. Though the date originally projected was closer to the end of the summer, it turns out that Anthony will be a free woman on July 13.
For seven weeks we have been watching the trial as the case unfolded. Caylee Anthony disappeared in June 2008, but it wasn’t until July 15 -- a full month later -- that she was reported missing by Cindy Anthony, Casey’s mother. She called 911 saying, "I found my daughter's car today and it smelled like there's been a dead body in the damn car."
Throughout the trial, prosecutors painted Anthony as a hard partyer and presented evidence of premeditated murder: Besides Internet searches for chloroform on the Anthonys' home computer, traces of chloroform and signs of human decomposition were found in Casey Anthony’s trunk. The defense shot back that the forensics on this evidence were shaky, and introduced an alternate scenario: Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool, and out of panic, Anthony’s father, George, got rid of the body and Anthony covered it up.
Pressing on over the holiday weekend, defense attorneys argued against the state’s case, and ultimately the jury delivered a not guilty verdict.