My beautiful 4 month old daughter Zoe is rocking along in her little swing next me as I write this…we’re listening to Jack Johnson. (Zoe digs the mellow stuff.) And I see the breaking news article about Casey Anthony’s acquittal. Like most of you, my first reaction is disbelief and then nausea. Casey Anthony was charged with murdering her 2 year old daughter Caylee, a little muffin hardly older than my own daughter. Among the state’s evidence were web searches on Casey’s computer for “neck breaking” and “asphyxiation by formaldehyde.”
By all accounts, Casey was far more comfortable with partying and promiscuity than parenting. Her parents took the lion’s share of raising their granddaughter. But there’s many crappy parents who find their children to be an inconvenience, it doesn’t necessarily make them murderers.
Early in my journalism career, I was assigned court duty for reporting because I’d also been a pre-law undergraduate and had some knowledge of the terminology. I don’t pretend to be an expert…but I do know there’s a myriad of evidence presented in court that we don’t see in the news reports. I know there’s a strict requirement of beyond a reasonable doubt that must be observed. That said, this is a stunning verdict.
Casey’s defense cheerfully threw her parents under the bus–claiming her father had molested her and participated in the cover-up. There’s several “hot button” defense points that tend work very well, sexual abuse complaints–even unsubstantiated–and childhood abuse really sways a jury.
I don’t know what to hope for here. I do hope we’re all wrong, and that a vicious sociopath didn’t just go free. I hope she was telling the truth about her parents, because she just destroyed their lives and reputations with the molestation claims. I definitely hope this creature never has another child. And I hope we all do the same thing tonight–hug our children a little longer, look for little ones who need our time and support, and pray that Caylee’s safely back in the arms of those who sent her to this world with such hope.