Casey Anthony Trial Revisited

I’m just going to have to be honest and admit that I am fascinated by the Casey Anthony trial. The State of Florida seems to have a very solid case, while defense attorney Jose Baez is flopping around like a fish on a pier, gasping for a break that will never come. He is outclassed, and he knows it. It is difficult to know if he’s always this bad or if he’s setting up Casey’s appeal on the basis of ineffective counsel.

A good example of his ineptness happened yesterday when he was questioning Dr. Arpad Vass, a research scientist and anthropologist who studies human decomposition. He was attempting to discredit Vass by making him out to be something he isn’t. So he brought up a Wikipedia page on Dr. Vass, which said he was a “chemist”. Dr. Vass quickly and comprehensively denied ever posting anything to Wikipedia on any subject. Baez quickly backed off.

But this is the level its come to. Baez is doing his legal research on Wikipedia! If there was ever a more sorry attempt to discredit a witness, I haven’t seen it.

Maybe I’m being to hard on Baez. He has an incredibly difficult job: he’s defending a woman who cold-bloodedly killed her two year old child. As someone who is furious at the way people jumped to conclusions about the Enron defendants, I try very hard to be objective and neutral. But every time I try to buy into Baez’s absurd and logically inconsistent theory I remember that Casey Anthony waited 31 days to report her child missing. And she didn’t even report Caylee missing: Casey’s mother reported her missing after Casey kept evading, prevaricated, and lied. If it were up to Casey Anthony, Caylee still would not have been reported, lo these three years later.

The defense proffered a theory that Caylee died on June 16 in a tragic drowning in the family’s swimming pool and George Anthony helped cover it up. If this happened, why did George Anthony drive around Orlando with “Help Find Caylee” signs on his car? Why did he ask her over and over again, when they were alone, if she had any new info about the nanny that supposedly took Caylee? Why didn’t he come clean when his daughter was thrown in jail, and then accused of capital murder, which carries a death penalty? Why didn’t Casey just come clean to Detective Melich when he questioned her at Universal Studios? Why did she give the names of fake people if Caylee drowned? If Caylee drowned, why didn’t she show any sadness, since several friends testified that she seemed utterly normal? There are a thousand of these types of questions – simple, logical questions. But there are no answers forthcoming.

Sheila and I have talked on this blog about psychopaths, such as Joran Van Der Sloot. We’ve shivered with horror thinking about how cold, flat and utterly smooth these monsters are. But I think in Casey Anthony, the ultimate psychopath has been revealed. She’s got every bullet point characteristic of a psychopath, but one thing that I keep going back to is Det. Melich’s questioning of her at Universal Studios. She led him down a hallway and then said, “I don’t work here.” And then upon finding a conference room to use, Melich used every technique in the book: he was kind, he was pushy, he tried to give her an out by insinuating that it was an accident, etc. And she continued to spin lies.

I don’t think I could ever lie to a police detective. I think I’d be way too nervous. But she was just ice. That fascinates me.

I am enjoying watching her stone-faced performance at trial to try and figure out what she’s thinking as the evidence is demonstrated in clear, scientific terms. I think a small part of her still hopes that her imaginary world will come through and somehow save her. I literally get that folkloric prickle on the neck when I see her grim face at the defense table. I already know what she’s capable of. I just want her kept away from society for the rest of her life, whether its via the death penalty or life in prison.

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  1. Yeah, she’s an ice queen. Terrifying, really. I’ve been fascinated by the trial, too. She is one of those people who looks at other people (including her own child) as objects. Either helpful to her or in her way. She’s missing some chip in her brain – something huge.

  2. Cara Ellison says:

    Did you see any news reports about her diary? She wrote something like (I’m paraphrasing here): I don’t regret my actions, I don’t feel sad. I trust my own judgement, etc. The defense says it was written in 2003 – long before Caylee went missing. But the prosecution counters that the journal it was written in wasn’t even produced until 2004. I believe the prosecution. And I believe she wrote that passage about killing Caylee. It is absolutely bone-chilling.

  3. Wow, no, I haven’t seen that. Will look it up.

    In other psychopath news – Joran van der Sloot’s trial is heating up – he met the victim’s father this morning in court, I believe.

  4. Cara Ellison says:

    Oh wow, that must have been a horrible meeting. I read that he stabbed two people in prison in April. He’s just a rabid animal and needs to be put down!

  5. Horrible psychopath. At least the truth is out now. I think he’ll be behind bars for a long long time. I wish they at least could resolve the Natalee Holloway case, you know? What a botched investigation. It seems insane that they could not nail this guy for the crime. Do you know of any books yet about that case? I’d love to read a really good book about the ins and outs of that Aruba investigation.

  6. Cara Ellison says:

    I don’t know of any good books about the Aruba investigation. You’re right though, that is a great subject for a book. Natalee Holoway’s parents have been so raw and hurt, all over the news begging for information… I wish we knew for sure what happened to that poor girl.

    Did you ever read Ann Rule’s book about the murder of Anne Marie Fahey in Delaware? That was truly gripping. Horrible, but gripping.

  7. I haven’t read that Ann Rule book – what’s the title of it?

    Also, here’s a pretty interesting podcast about psychopaths – It’s a bit long (it’s a This American Life program) but REALLY interesting.

  8. Cara Ellison says:

    The book is “And Never Let Her Go.” It’s gripping.

    I’ll listen to the podcast while I run tonight.

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