While the state spent much of the day Wednesday questioning roommates and employees of Casey Anthony's ex-boyfriend Anthony Lazzaro, they finally called Lazzaro himself to the stand just after 3 pm. His testimony portrayed Casey as carefree and happy during the months they were together, including the 31 days that her daughter Caylee was missing.
Lazzaro recounted meeting Casey Anthony through Facebook in May 2008 and then inviting her to a friend's birthday party, where they hit it off and soon began to see each other regularly. During the first couple of weeks of their relationship, he said Casey brought Caylee to his apartment a few times and they took her to the pool on June 2.
Still, he never saw Caylee again after a trip to the mall on June 13, and it was the weeks that followed that prosecutor Frank George focused on in his direct examination. He showed a picture of Lazzaro and Casey at an event he was promoting at Fusion Ultra Lounge that night, the first night Casey stayed over at his apartment.
George then moved on to play surveillance video from a Blockbuster on June 16—just hours after the defense claims Caylee Anthony drowned—when Lazzaro described her demeanor as happy and “having a grand old time.” He testified that she never cried that night, acted scared or nervous or even mentioned that anything had happened to her daughter.
Lazzaro said he skipped classes the next day to spend it in his bedroom with Casey, and there was again no change in her demeanor and no indication that anything was wrong. On June 18, he went to class and he assumed she went to work, but she essentially lived at his apartment from that point on.
Showing more photos of Casey at Fusion, George asked Lazzaro about the night of June 20 when she participated in a “hot body contest.” Again, he testified that she did not say anything about her daughter being missing or kidnapped, that she was searching for her or that she needed help.
Lazzaro detailed the afternoon of June 23 when Casey ran out of gas and he helped her break into her parents' shed to get gas cans. She told him it was okay, he stated, because it was her shed. When she told him she ran out of gas again in the Amscot parking lot on June 27, he testified that she said her father would take care of the car so they left it there.
George showed surveillance video of the two shopping at JC Penney later that day and then another photo of them at Fusion taken that night. Lazzaro said she again did not mention her daughter being missing or show any change in demeanor at the time.
Lazzaro's direct examination also highlighted more of Casey Anthony's alleged lies. He testified that he saw her Universal Studios identification badge with her picture on it and that she talked to him about specific people she worked with—at a job even her attorney acknowledged she no longer had—including a man named Jeff and a couple of women. She allegedly also told him that her parents would soon be moving out of their house and leaving it for her.
On cross examination, defense attorney Jose Baez immediately attacked the relevance of the photos and videos the prosecution had shown. At the time the pictures were taken, he asked, did Casey say anything about having murdered anyone or planning to murder anyone? Did she mention killing Caylee? Did she borrow duct tape or weapons at the parties at Fusion? Was she hiding a gun in her dress? Did she buy chloroform at JC Penney? Or steal a box-cutter from Blockbuster? The answer to all of those questions was, “No.”
Baez asked Lazzaro in more detail about the day he and Casey took Caylee to the pool. Lazzaro testified that Casey appeared to be a loving and attentive mother, and—after being shown his September 2008 statement to authorities to refresh his recollection—he said he only saw Casey raise her voice at Caylee to keep her from getting too close to the pool. She did “what any other mother would do,” he said.
Baez asked if Casey had ever shared any secrets with Lazzaro about her father abusing her, but the prosecutors objected before he could respond.
Returning to the first time Casey ran out of gas, Lazzaro testified that he was about two feet from the trunk of the car while Casey filled the tank and he did not smell any odor coming from it. He also said he could see the lining of the trunk when Casey opened it to put in the gas cans and she never did anything to keep him from getting close to the car.
Lazzaro's cross examination will continue Thursday morning.
Other witnesses called on Wednesday afternoon included Brian Burner, the man who loaned Casey a shovel on June 17, 2008—who acknowledged that he has no idea what she used it for—and two “shot girls” who worked for Lazzaro at Fusion selling drinks. They both testified that Casey was like a big sister to the shot girls, protecting them and looking out for them. Erica Gonzalez told the jury that Casey even made a connection between taking care of them and taking care of her daughter. Still, though this was during the weeks that Caylee was missing, neither Gonzalez or fellow shot girl Jamie Realander testified that they ever saw Casey sad or acting like anything was wrong.