Closing arguments begin in Casey Anthony trial

Closing arguments begin in Casey Anthony trial

July 3rd, 2011 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Casey Anthony looks on after the rebuttal testimony is over, ending the presentation of evidence in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Friday, July 1, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008. (AP Photo/Red Huber, Pool)

KYLE HIGHTOWER,Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Prosecutors told jurors Sunday during closing arguments in the Casey Anthony murder trial that the woman killed her 2-year-old daughter Caylee because the child prevented her from having a relationship with a club promoter.

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton also said Anthony worried Caylee was getting to the age where she would have told Anthony's parents that the woman was spending her days and nights with her boyfriend - not going to work and leaving Caylee with a nanny.

"Casey is very bright," Ashton said. "Her lies are very detailed. ... But when Casey wants to do what Casey wants to do, she finds a way."

Ashton's arguments are expected to last through Sunday morning. The defense will give its closing argument Sunday afternoon, and then the jury will begin its delibrations.

The case has played out on national TV since Caylee's disappearance in the summer of 2008 and continued through her mother's trial.

Prosecutors contend Caylee was suffocated with duct tape by a mother who loved to party and shop and who crafted elaborate lies to mislead everyone from investigators to her own parents. Defense attorneys countered that the toddler accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool, and that her seemingly carefree mother in fact was hiding emotional distress caused by alleged sexual abuse from her father.

However, jurors heard previously that a medical examiner never determined precisely how Caylee died, and that Casey Anthony's DNA was not found with her daughter's skeletal remains when they were found in December 2008. The defense team never offered firm proof of how the girl died, either, and never offered any evidence that Casey Anthony was molested by her father, George, who has firmly denied the claim.

The trial has been broadcast across the country. Captivated observers have traveled from distant states and camped outside the Orlando courthouse, jockeying for coveted seats in the gallery to witness the unfolding court drama.

Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. She could face a possible death sentence or life in prison if convicted of that charge.

Anthony also is charged with aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to law enforcement. The child abuse and manslaughter charges each carry a 30-year prison term if convicted.

The burden of proof falls to prosecutors. They relied on a highly circumstantial case, focusing on what they called the lies told by Casey Anthony in the 31 days after Caylee was last seen alive. They also heavily focused on an odor in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car, which the prosecution's forensics experts said was consistent with the smell of human decomposition.

No physical evidence ever linked Casey Anthony to traces of chloroform found in the trunk, though, and Judge Belvin Perry ruled that the jury would not get to smell air samples taken from that trunk.