The trial against Casey Anthony was filled with dark twists and turns. We take a look back at five of the most shocking moments.
No. 1: Drowning defense and sexual abuse claims
The Anthony defense team set the trial’s unpredictable tone early. In his opening statement, lawyer Jose Baez claimed that Casey’s two-year-old daughter Caylee had died an accidental death. “She never was missing. Caylee Anthony died on June 16, 2008, when she drowned in her family’s swimming pool,” he said. Baez alleged that Casey’s father, George Anthony, found the little girl’s body in the pool, then confronted Casey, telling her she’d go to go to jail for child neglect. George denied that he was at the family home when Caylee died.
“This family must keep its secrets quiet,” Baez continued, before dropping another bombshell allegation: that George had sexually abused Casey when she was an eight-year-old. George denied that claim as well. Baez also asked an FBI analyst if a paternity test had been conducted on Casey’s brother, Lee Anthony, to determine if he was Caylee’s father. The jury was sent away and the FBI analyst said Lee had been tested and the results ruled him out as a possible father.
No. 2: Zanny the nanny
Casey’s web of lies surrounding Caylee’s disappearance came unraveled, and she was found guilty on four counts of lying to police. One of her biggest fabrications was Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, the fictitious name of a nanny she claimed had kidnapped Caylee. A real woman named Zenaida Gonzalez is now suing Anthony for defamation.
No. 3: Chloroform search controversy
Casey’s mother Cindy surprised many when she testified that she -- rather than Casey -- was the one who’d searched the Internet for the word “chloroform” on the family’s home computer. (Prosecutors had been trying to persuade the jurors that Casey knocked Caylee out with chloroform before she duct-taped her mouth and nose.)
Cindy claimed that she searched online for “chloroform” while researching the word “chlorophyll.” She said she believed chlorophyll was on the plants in the family’s backyard and was responsible for the fatigue one of her dogs experienced after eating certain leaves.
One prosecutor pointed out that Cindy’s work schedules showed she was at work during the days the searches were made, but Cindy maintained that she might’ve been home, claiming she actually left work early a couple times during that particular week.
No. 4: Mental competency time-out?
At one point, the trial grinded to a halt, perhaps because Anthony’s defense team expressed concern that she was “not competent to aid and assist in her own defense,” the motion from her lawyers said. Anthony was subsequently examined by three psychologists and determined competent to proceed.
No. 5: Not guilty verdict
The biggest shocker of all? Many followers of the trial were stunned when the jury acquitted Anthony on charges of murder in Caylee’s death. The Tot Mom’s whereabouts are now a closely guarded secret out of apparent concerns for her safety.