Broward criminal lawyer William Moore has been following the Casey Anthony saga since it began last summer. A little girl, Caylee Anthony, was not quite three years old when she disappeared. The girl’s grandmother reported her missing in July after she could not extricate information about Caylee’s whereabouts from her daughter Casey.
For months, the news media has reported on this story. Casey was arrested in connection with Caylee’s disappearance in October. She was charged with the first-degree murder of her daughter. Making the case more problematic for the prosecution, however, was the fact that Caylee’s body had not been located. According to Broward criminal attorney Moore, not have her remains makes it more difficult to prove that she is even dead. Additionally, it makes forensic research difficult for detectives and the state’s expert witnesses. The information found on or near human remains can lead to a conviction – or an exoneration – in murder cases.
Caylee Anthony’s remains were eventually located very near to the Anthonys’ home in December. Casey Anthony maintains that she left her daughter with a baby-sitter by the name of Zenaida Gonzalez and that she had not seen the girl since. Gonzalez has filed a civil lawsuit against Casey Anthony for defamation, saying that the accusations “ruined” her entire life. She says she has never met Casey Anthony or Caylee and that she certainly was not entrusted with the toddler to care for her.
Initially, the State Attorney’s Office indicated that it would not seek capital punishment for the murder of Caylee Anthony. However, that was shortly before Caylee’s remains were found. Now, prosecutors have backtracked from their earlier position: they stated this week that they will seek the death penalty for Anthony.
The news comes as a surprise to many familiar with the case. Few women ever face the death penalty in the United States, making Casey Anthony’s case unusual and even more likely to attract media attention. Prosecutors say the death penalty is necessary. In a filing with the court, they stated that the “aggravating circumstances” of Caylee’s death make the death penalty a more viable option.
Bob Jarvis, a professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, believes prosecutors may be pushing for the death penalty for leverage. Anthony has been unwilling to plead guilty. He believes that even if she is convicted by a jury, they will not be inclined to execute her. “We don’t execute women in Florida. Juries find it very difficult to send young women to death row,” Jarvis said.
Read moreFollow Up: Death Penalty Sought for Casey Anthony