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Updated: 11/18/2011 01:42:30 PM PDT
SAN FRANCISCO - A man convicted in the 1998 murder of a 9-year-old boy was found hanging in his death row prison cell on Thursday in an apparent suicide at a Northern California prison, officials said. Brandon Wilson, 33, was pronounced dead at San Quentin State Prison, according to Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Wilson did not share his cell with another inmate. Authorities did not immediately release details on how he might have hung himself. A San Diego County jury sentenced Wilson to death in 1999 for murdering 9-year-old Matthew Cecchi the previous year in a park restroom in Oceanside, California.
Wilson is the 19th death row inmate to commit suicide since California reinstated capital punishment in 1978, according to the Department of Corrections. That means more condemned inmates have died of suicide than the 13 prisoners who have been executed in the state since 1978, prison officials said. There are 719 inmates on death row in California.
Updated: 07/07/2011 08:56:30 AM PDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A court official says Casey Anthony is going to be released from jail next Wednesday (July 13, 2011) following her conviction for lying to authorities who were investigating the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
Anthony was sentenced to four years in jail earlier Thursday, but she is receiving credit for the time she has already served as well as good behavior. She has been in jail for nearly three years. Anthony was acquitted of murder in the death of her child Tuesday.
Updated: 07/07/2011 08:45:17 AM PDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A judge sentenced Casey Anthony on Thursday to four years for lying to investigators but says she can go free in late July or early August because she has already served nearly three years in jail and has had good behavior.
Book$ & Million$!
July 6, 2011
Don't be surprised if Casey Anthony walks out of jail a free woman after her sentencing Thursday, legal experts say. A jury on Tuesday found Anthony not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter in the 2008 death of her daughter Caylee. With Tuesday's not guilty verdict on murder charges behind her, Anthony -- and the thousands riveted by every twist in the case -- now turn their attention to Thursday when the 25-year-old will learn her fate.
Many legal experts believe Anthony will be freed on time-served because she has already been jailed for about three years. "I would be surprised if she doesn't walk out of the courtroom Thursday," said an Atlanta defense lawyer. "She has served so much time already. I don't think the judge will make her serve any more time. The real question now is, what will she do next."
The Orange County Corrections Department said in a statement Wednesday its policy is to "release a jury-acquitted inmate from the courthouse under normal circumstances. However, due to the high profile nature of this case and intense, emotional interest by the public, appropriate measures will be taken to release the acquitted into the community in such a manner so as to preserve the safety of the acquitted individual and the public."
July 5, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. - Casey Anthony has been found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. The jury declined to convict her of either first degree murder or manslaughter. The jury found Casey Anthony guilty on four counts of providing false information to law enforcement.
Clutching the hand of her defense attorney Jose Baez, Casey Anthony began to sob as the verdict was read. The rest of her defense team stood beside her, also clutching hands. She thanked Baez as she was swarmed by the defense team. Her parents, Cindy and George Anthony, left the courtroom as Judge Belvin Perry read further instructions to the jury and did not join their daughter in the courtroom. Casey Anthony, who sat grim faced throughout the six weeks of testimony, beamed happily as she was fingerprinted in the courtroom for her conviction of providng false information to law enforcement.
July 3, 2011
As Casey Anthony alternately cried, glared and shook her head, prosecutors in her capital murder trial told jurors in closing arguments Sunday that evidence in the case points to only one conclusion -- that she murdered her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. "When you have a child, that child becomes your life," prosecutor Jeff Ashton told the seven-woman, five-man jury. "This case is about the clash between that responsibility, and the expectations that go with it, and the life that Casey Anthony wanted to have." Prosecutors allege that the Orlando woman used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious before putting duct tape over her nose and mouth to suffocate her. She left Caylee's body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it, they allege.
In his closing argument, Ashton outlined the state's case against Casey Anthony, touching on her many lies to her parents and others, the smell in the trunk of her car, identified by numerous witnesses as the smell of human decomposition, and the items found with Caylee's skeletal remains in December 2008. He started with the lies, telling jurors that Casey Anthony "maintains her lies until they absolutely cannot be maintained any more" -- and then replaces it with another lie. "Call it Casey 3.0, the new version," Ashton said. Ashton disparaged the defense's theory in the case -- that Caylee drowned June 16 in the Anthonys' above-ground pool, and that Casey Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked upon finding the child's body and covered up her death. George Anthony has denied that scenario ever happened.
The defense's arguments, Ashton told jurors, "require you to suspend your common sense," likening them to "a trip down a rabbit hole" into a world where men who love their granddaughters find them dead and yet do nothing; cover up an accident; and where "a man who buries his pets will take the granddaughter who is the love of his life and throw her in a swamp. This is the world the defense invites you to occupy."
Ashton detailed the numerous stories Casey Anthony told her parents and others after Caylee was last seen on June 16, 2008, and the lies she told police after Caylee's grandmother, Cindy Anthony, reported her missing 31 days later. During those 31 days, Casey Anthony's friends and acquaintances testified she was shopping, hitting nightclubs and staying with her boyfriend, but did not tell them Caylee was missing. If they asked her daughter's whereabouts, they said, she often said Caylee was with her nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez. Police were never able to find the nanny, and she along with several other people Casey Anthony spoke of, are believed not to exist. Authorities did find a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez but she denied ever meeting the Anthonys.
Ashton also went over items found with Caylee's remains, including a Winnie the Pooh blanket that matched the little girl's bedding at her grandparents' home, one of a set of laundry bags, with the twin found at the Anthony home, and duct tape he said was a relatively rare brand. "That bag is Caylee's coffin," Ashton said, holding up a photograph of the laundry bag as Casey Anthony turned her head to the side, pressed her hand to her mouth and closed her eyes. He theorized that after putting Caylee's body in the trunk of her car, Casey Anthony attempted to bury it in her parents' backyard, asking a neighbor for a shovel. She may have put the body down in the yard, explaining two cadaver dogs' alerting in the same area of the yard. But perhaps, Ashton said, digging a grave was too much work for Casey Anthony, and so she put the body in the woods instead.
Ashton denigrated the defense's efforts to point suspicion at Roy Kronk, the former Orange County, Florida, meter reader who discovered Caylee's remains in December 2008. Defense attorneys have suggested Kronk found the body months earlier, but hid it, placing it in the spot where it was found before notifying authorities.
"You can look at photographs of that body and tell that body has been there for a very, very long time," Ashton said. He noted that Kronk tried three times to report something suspicious at the location in August, but gave up after being "blown off" by the police. If he had really wanted the reward money, as the defense had suggested, all Kronk had to do was approach the media staked out in front of the Anthony home, Ashton said, but he did not.
Posted: 07/01/2011 01:30:08 AM PDT
Updated: 07/01/2011 09:19:33 AM PDT
ORLANDO, Fla.—Casey Anthony's defense team rested its case Thursday in her high-profile murder trial without her testimony and some experts believe the strategy raised more questions than answers to support her claim that her 2-year daughter (pictured left) died in a tragic accident. The jury also saw a note from a failed suicide attempt by Casey Anthony's own father, who wrestled with questions about what happened to his granddaughter. Casey Anthony claimed he helped her dispose of Caylee's body after she drowned. At different parts of the note, George Anthony wrote: "Casey does not deserve to be where she is" and "She (Caylee) was found so close to home. Why?"
The prosecution began its rebuttal on Thursday afternoon. Closing arguments will follow and the jury could begin deliberating by this weekend. If convicted of first-degree murder, the 25-year-old could receive the death penalty.
Her attorneys never produced any witnesses bolstering the claim made in last month's opening statements that Anthony had acted without apparent remorse in the weeks after her daughter's death because she had been molested by her father as a child, resulting in emotional problems.
"If you do not at least present facts to support that argument, the jury is going to think you have no credibility," said Tim Jansen, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in Tallahassee. "When you promise the jury something and don't deliver it you severely handicaps your client's case and you undermine your credibility with that jury."
Instead, the 13-day defense primarily focused on poking holes in the prosecution's contention that Anthony killed Caylee in June 2008 by covering her mouth with duct tape. Prosecutors said the woman dumped Caylee's body in the woods near her parents' home and then resumed her life of partying and shopping. Their case relied on circumstantial and forensic evidence, and it did have holes: Prosecutors had no witnesses who saw the killing or saw Casey Anthony with her daughter's body. And there was no certain proof that the child suffocated.
The prosecution began its rebuttal Thursday by walking through the door opened on Wednesday by the defense when it allowed parts of George Anthony's suicide note to be admitted. The note included George Anthony (pictured left) asking questions about the death of his granddaughter. Several members of the jury were glued to their monitors as the prosecutor projected the letter for them to read. "Who is involved with this stuff for Caylee?" George Anthony wrote at one point in the letter to his family in January 2009.
The defense said in its opening statement that Caylee drowned and that George Anthony, a former police officer, helped her cover up the death by making it look like a homicide and dumping the body near their home, where it was found by a meter reader six months later. George Anthony has vehemently denied any involvement in Caylee's death, the disposal of her body or molesting his daughter.
Florida A&M law professor Karin Moore said she was "confused" throughout the case by the defense's approach. "The defense could have attacked George Anthony weeks ago on cross-examination during the state's case, but waited until late in the trial," she said. "I think they waited too long to ask the big questions and got themselves in trouble."
The defense's final witnesses Thursday included Krystal Holloway, a woman who claims she had an affair with George Anthony that began after Caylee disappeared. She said he told her in November 2008 that Caylee's death was "an accident that snowballed out of control." George Anthony has denied having an affair with her but admitted visiting her home on several occasions.
They also recalled George Anthony to ask if he had supplied duct tape he used to put up posters of his granddaughter when she was missing. He said he couldn't remember. Lead defense attorney Jose Baez also asked him if he buried his pets after their deaths in plastic bags wrapped with duct tape. Anthony said he had on some occasions. Prosecutors have contended Caylee's body was disposed of in a similar manner. Under prosecution questioning, he said he had never thrown their carcasses in a swamp.
Caylee was last seen in mid-June 2008. For the next month, Casey Anthony (pictured left) avoided her parents, telling her mother and her friends that Caylee was with a baby sitter named Zanny. Casey's parents soon got a notice that their daughter's car had been towed. George Anthony and the tow lot operator both said the Pontiac Sunfire smelled like death. Prosecutors played a tape of a frantic 911 call made by Anthony's mother, Cindy, reporting her granddaughter missing. She tells the operator, "It smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car."
Casey Anthony then told detectives that Caylee had been kidnapped by the nanny, and a massive search was launched. Over the next several weeks, hundreds of volunteers scoured central Florida for any clues to Caylee's whereabouts. Meanwhile, numerous photos surfaced of Casey Anthony drinking; some of them allegedly taken in the month after Caylee disappeared.
Caylee's skeletal remains were reported in December 2008 by a municipal meter reader. A key part of the defense case was trying to discredit the meter reader, Roy Kronk, saying that he had actually discovered the body in August.
Saturday, Jun 30, 2011 - 3:15 pm PT
Casey Anthony's defense rested Thursday in her capital murder trial without calling her to testify, ending weeks of speculation about whether she would take the stand in her own defense. Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. questioned Anthony to ensure the decision not to take the stand was hers. She answered, "Yes, sir," or "yes" to his questions.
Anthony's defense team is trying to discredit the prosecution theory that the Orlando woman rendered Caylee unconscious with chloroform, duct-taped her mouth and nose, and stored the child's body in her car trunk for a few days before dumping it in the woods. The defense says Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that Anthony and her father panicked and covered it up. George Anthony has denied those claims.
O.J. Simpson Verdict: Not Guilty!
Description: The trial received extensive media coverage. The media coverage was itself at times controversial; the issue of whether or not to allow any video cameras into the courtroom was among the first issues Judge Ito had to decide, ultimately ruling that live camera coverage was warranted. Ito would be later criticized for this decision by other legal professionals, and Ito himself, along with others related to the case (Marcia Clark, Mark Fuhrman, Kato Kaelin) were said to have been influenced to some degree by the media presence, and the publicity that came with it. The trial was covered in 2,237 news segments from 1994 through 1997. The Los Angeles Times alone covered the case on its front page for more than 300 days after the murders, and the Big Three networks' nightly news broadcasts gave more air time to the case than to Bosnian War and the Oklahoma City bombing combined. The media outlets served an enthusiastic public; one company put the loss of national productivity from employees following the case instead of working at $40 billion.