Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder Trial of Casey Anthony

Closing Arguments


The prosecution stuck to its strategy. Casey Anthony was an habitual liar who had killed Caylee and then covered up the murder because she had wanted to be free. They recapped the presentation of their evidence, but were unable to prove how Caylee had been killed.

J. Cheney Mason
J. Cheney Mason

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton appealed to the jurors' emotions. "We can only hope the chloroform was used before the tape was applied, so Caylee went peacefully without fear," he said. "But go she did, and she died because she could not breathe. She died because she had three pieces of duct tape over her nose and mouth. She died because her mother decided the life she wanted was more important."

"When you have a child, that child becomes your life," he said. "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."

By the end of the trial, the defense had all but abandoned the theory that Casey Anthony had been abused by her father, who had flatly denied it on the stand, and focused instead on creating reasonable doubt in the juror's minds. The defense called the prosecution's case a "fantasy." "Fantasy searches, fantasy forensics, phantom stickers, phantom stains ... and no real, hard evidence," he said.

In his closing statement, Baez argued, "The one question will never be answered, the key question, it can never be proven and that is, 'How did Caylee die?' That is why we are all here. There's no dispute that she's passed on. The key question as it related to all manslaughter, child abuse, and murder charges is how did she die? Those questions were never answered."

"She had no motive. Casey treated Caylee well. She loved that child." No witnesses, he reminded jurors, ever testified that Casey Anthony had been anything other than a loving mother."

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