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Tot Mom Judge Denies Defense's Motion For Mistrial

Before the jury arrived for the fourth day of testimony at Casey Anthony’s murder trial Friday, defense attorney Jose Baez moved to have Judge Belvin Perry declare a mistrial.

Baez’s request came after Perry granted a prosecution motion that will require him to proffer testimony from witnesses about things the defendant said to them before the jury is allowed to hear it. Baez had argued that would give the prosecutors an unfair advantage after they have had so many witnesses testify about Casey’s behavior and sexual partners and it prevent him from countering those questions.

Arguing for a mistrial, Baez said that such testimony should be inadmissible because it deals with remorse and bad character, calling the prosecution’s case so far “an attempted character assassination” that had nothing to do with the alleged crime. Perry denied the motion, stating that there is a certain line of questioning about character evidence that is admissible and the testimony so far has fallen within that.

Friday morning’s most emotional testimony came from Mallory Parker, the fiancée of Casey’s brother Lee Anthony. She testified on direct about going with Lee one night in early July 2008 searching for Casey and some text messages she exchanged with Casey where she did not mention Caylee. Under cross examination, though, she broke into tears while describing Casey and Caylee’s relationship, which she called “amazing.”

“Casey and Caylee had a very special bond,” Parker said.

The most important information for the prosecution’s case that came out of the morning’s testimony was from Simon Birch, the manager of the wrecking yard where Casey Anthony’s car was towed. He testified that there was a very strong odor coming from the vehicle when he did an external inspection a few days after it arrived. He stated that the smell was consistent with human decomposition he had encountered at least seven or eight times before in his nearly-30-year career in towing and wreckage. He said that he had experience with the odor of rotting food too and he knows the difference.

Another witness, William Waters, told the jury about shopping with Casey on July 5, 2008. He said they went to IKEA to look at furniture because she claimed she and a friend who also had kids were going to move into a house together soon and get a live-in nanny. He also testified that she told him she loved her job at Universal Studios and she had been working from home a lot. When asked by Baez, Waters said Casey did not give any indication that she was lying about those things.

The Amscot employee who reported that Casey Anthony’s Pontiac Sunfire was abandoned in the parking lot on June 30, 2008, Katherine Sanchez, testified that she walked around the vehicle on June 28 examining it and did not smell any odor, other than what she believed was the smell of food in the dumpster it was parked next to.

On cross examination, Sanchez confirmed there was a gas station at the Sam’s Club behind the Amscot and another gas station after that, so if somebody ran out of gas, there was no reason they would need someone to pick them up. It was not clear exactly why Baez wanted to establish that, but he had asked Anthony Lazzaro about the same thing earlier in the week.

Also on Friday morning, several security videos of Casey Anthony shopping between June 30, 2008 and July 15 were shown to the jury.

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