Friday 23 February 2018

Child Killer trial told of stench from boot of car

Casey Anthony in tears at the start of the third day of her first degree murder trial in Florida. Photo: Reuters
Casey Anthony in tears at the start of the third day of her first degree murder trial in Florida. Photo: Reuters
George, right, and Cindy Anthony walk back to their seats after placing a teddy bear at the memorial for their granddaughter Caylee Anthony at First Baptist Orlando in Orlando, Florida
Casey Anthony attends a hearing Tuesday, July 29, 2008 in the Orange County Courthouse where Judge Stan Strickland denied a motion to seal Casey Anthony's communications outside the jail this afternoon, choosing to side with protecting the First Amendment. Casey Anthony,the 22-year-old mother reported her daughter missing about 2 weeks ago, more than a month after the little girl allegedly disappeared. Anthony remaines in jail on child-neglect and other charges as the search for Caylee Marie Anthony continues. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel)
Casey Anthony pictured enjoying a night out while her two year-old daughter was missing reporters

The jury in the Casey Anthony murder trail is Florida has heard evidence of a foul, rotten, smell coming from the boot of the accused’s car.

Casey Anthony is on trial for the murder of her two-year-old daughter Caylee, whom she reported missing a month after she disappeared in 2008.

One witness testified about a “particular smell ... that you never forget ... foul rotten, dead.”

Prosecutors have a number of witnesses who have testified about a foul smell coming from Casey’s white Pontiac Sunfire around the time her child went missing.

The prosecution case is that this is where she hid the body of her toddler daughter, before disposing of it.

A police officer Adriana Acevedo, told the court that she had smelled a "garbage-type odour" coming from the car or the garage.

Yesterday Casey's brother Lee Anthony testified that when he met his sister at the family home on July 15, 2008, he smelled a "very potent, very strong" odour as he passed Casey's car in the garage.

In her testimony on Tuesday, Casey's mother Cindy recalled an odour that "smelled like something died in the car." She told in tears how she took Caylee's doll out of the car and cleaned it, saying, "Caylee's doll smelled like the car."

The jury also heard a 911 call Cindy made that day and was heard telling the dispatcher: "There's something wrong. I found my daughter's car today and it smells like there has been a dead body in the damn car."

Last Friday, Casey's father George Anthony told the court about finding maggots in the trunk of the car, coupled with a horrifying stench. "I was very concerned about the odour," George, a former police officer, told the court. "I had smelled something like that some years prior and I was concerned."

The father testified that he believes it was the odor of a decomposing human body and said, "That particular smell, whenever you smell it, it's something that you never forget. It's a very distinct odor."

The trial has gripped America and divided the nation. While Casey Anthony partied, entered a hot body competition and got a tattoo in the summer of 2008, no one knew her child was missing. Members of the Anthony family had not seen Caylee in weeks and were wondering where the child was and when Casey Anthony was going to bring her back home.

The tragic details of what happened to little Caylee are unfolding in a Florida courtroom in front of a jury that had to be brought in from Clearwater, Florida because there has been so much press attention in the Orlando area. The prosecution alleges an intentional murder and is seeking the death penalty against Anthony.

Witness Melissa England spent time with Anthony over the Fourth of July weekend in 2008 and stated that at one point Anthony was talking on the phone. When Anthony hung up, she said, "Oh my God, I am such a good liar," England testified.

Two wildly different theories about the death of Caylee Anthony were offered during the opening of the murder trial. On the one hand, the prosecution, promising to “tell the story of a little girl called Caylee,” says the child was overpowered and killed by her mother, who then tossed her dead body – wrapped in a Winnie the Pooh blanket – into “swampy woods” near their home. Not so, according to the defence: Caylee was never a missing child, and was never murdered. She actually drowned in a tragic accident in the family swimming pool on June 16 2008.

“The fact of the matter is that this is an accident that snowballed out of control” said defence lawyer, Jose Baez. “This is not a murder case. This is a sad, tragic accident.” He claimed that George Anthony, the father of the accused, had held Caylee’s dead body in his arms on the day of her death, immediately blaming his daughter for what had happened. Baez also alleges that George Anthony sexually molested his daughter, and said this explained her behaviour in the days after Caylee’s death, when she attended a number of parties, and got a tattoo. “She went back to that deep ugly place called denial to pretend nothing is wrong”, Baez said. “She acted as if it never happened”.

After the court finished on the opening day of the trial, George Anthony and his wife Cindy issued a statement denying Baez’s claims. “George and Cindy Anthony are shocked and appalled that the defense would resort to lies about them in today’s opening statement”, it said. “The only result achieved by the defense in this statement was to further hurt this grieving family”.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Linda Bardick said Caylee’s body had been dumped in the woods like “a piece of trash”. She outlined, day by day, the wild, inappropriate behaviour of Casey Anthony in the month after Caylee’s disappearance and suggested a motive for the murder: the accused resented her child. “Caylee’s death allowed Casey Anthony to live the good life. At least for those 31 days [in which Caylee was missing].

Bardick also told the jury of records from the accused’s computer which indicated an internet search for words like “chloroform, alcohol”, “household weapons”, “neck-breaking” and “self-defense”. Burdick said no user other than Casey Anthony could have made these searches.

Casey Anthony’s ex-boyfriend Anthony Lazzaro also gave evidence and said she had shown no signs of depression or sadness after her daughter had disappeared. On June 16, the last day Caylee had been seen, Lazarro said he and Casey Anthony had rented a video and spent the night at his apartment. The following day, they stayed in bed. Anthony seemed happy there and had given no indication anything was wrong. A few days, later, he said, she had taken part in a “hot-body” contest at a local nightclub.

The trial is expected to continue for six more weeks, during which the jury will be sequestered to avoid influence from information available outside the courtroom.

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