After three days of hearings, Circuit Judge Belvin Perry reserved his ruling on the motions to suppress statements that Casey Anthony made to police prior to her actual arrest and information gained during jailhouse talks with family members. Anthony herself was in the Florida courtroom during the proceedings, according to the Orlando Sentinel, watching and listening as her brother, father, and mother took the stand to answer questions about the circumstances surrounding the 24-year-old’s possible involvement in the disappearance of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony in June 2008. Anthony’s defense was hoping to get a ruling that barred the testimonies by law officials and family members about information that the defense believes may have been gathered illegally.
Anthony’s brother, Lee, admitted that he might have lied to his sister to get information, according to CNN, but he maintained that he did not attempt to elicit information at the behest of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. He also said that his sole intent was to get information that might help find his niece, Caylee.
George Anthony, Casey’s father, told the court that police mentioned several times that they could not ask his daughter questions without her lawyer present and even suggested that she communicate via letters.
Cindy Anthony testified that her daughter had been handcuffed after the elder Anthony had called 911 to report that her granddaughter had been missing for a month. The defense noted that the younger Anthony had not been read her rights.
Orange County Sheriff’s detective Yuri Melich testified that the Sheriff’s office had not sent anyone into the jail to elicit information from Casey Anthony, nor was George Anthony approached to talk to his daughter under a “false pretense.” Melich also testified that in the handcuffing incident, Anthony was only handcuffed about five minutes before a police officer was instructed to release her. They had only handcuffed her, he said, because her mother had called 911 three times and was threatening to have her arrested for theft to try to force her to tell where Caylee might be (she had just learned that her granddaughter was missing). Melich said the then 22-year-old woman was not read her rights and was released because she was not placed under arrest and was being treated as the mother of a missing child.
The 911 incident would soon be the stuff of national headlines and much talked about on current affairs programs like “In Session” and “Nancy Grace.” Law enforcement would continue their search for Caylee Anthony even after they were convinced that her mother had somehow caused the death of the child. Casey Anthony was arrested for the murder of her daughter in October 2008. Less than two months later, the badly decomposed remains of Caylee were found about a quarter-mile from her grandparents’ house outside Orlando.
Final arguments on the motions will be heard on Monday, March 7.
Casey Anthony’s trial is scheduled to begin on May 9.
Anthony Colarossi, “Casey Anthony hearing: Proceedings end with judge reserving ruling on key motions,” OrlandoSentinel.com
Anthony Colarossi, “Testimony in Casey Anthony hearing shows family tension after Caylee Anthony disappeared,” OrlandoSentinel.com
“Casey Anthony’s brother: ‘Maybe’ I lied to Casey,” CNN.com