Trials & Litigation

Casey Anthony Guilty of Providing False Info, Acquitted of First-Degree Murder and Manslaughter

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After deliberating for 10 hours, a Florida jury has reached a verdict in the first-degree murder case of Casey Anthony, who was accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008.

She was acquitted of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse, but found guilty of multiple counts of providing false information, according to CNN’s This Just In blog and an ABC News Live feed.

Anthony, 25, had faced a possible death sentence in the Orlando case, if convicted of first-degree murder, CBS News’ Crimesider blog noted.

A sentencing hearing on the lesser charges on which Anthony was convicted is set for 9 a.m. Thursday, CNN reported.

The government had urged the five-man, seven-woman jury to look at the big picture when deciding the case. But it appears they were persuaded, at least in part, by defense attorney Jose Baez, according to a lengthy Christian Science Monitor article earlier today recapping the trial.

“Don’t speculate,” he urged the panel. “Don’t guess. It has to be proven to you beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”

Another post details the little-known defense attorney’s background.

While Anthony’s behavior after her daughter’s disappearance raised questions, the prosecution couldn’t point to direct evidence that she had chloroformed the toddler and suffocated her by putting duct tape over her mouth and nose, as the government contended. The defense contended that Caylee’s death was an accident and that she had drowned in a family swimming pool.

“There should be no mystery before you now. If you have questions, then it was not proved,” Baez argued.

An Associated Press article also recaps the evidence in the case.

Anthony sobbed, smiled and embraced her defense team after the verdict was announced.

It appears that she now faces a small fraction of the potential decades of prison time that she could have received if convicted of the more serious charges. Another This Just In blog post says Anthony faces a maximum of four years in prison for the four counts of of giving false information to law enforcement.

Earlier coverage: “Judge Plans to Sequester Out-of-County Jury for 6-8 Weeks in Casey Anthony Murder Trial” “Casey Anthony’s Dad the Villain as Defense Tells of ‘Ugly Secrets’ and Cover-Up” “Did Casey Anthony’s Car Smell Like Death? Judge Allows Novel Odor Evidence” “Lawyers for Casey Anthony Question Her Competency, Cite Death Penalty Ruling”

Last updated at 6:22 p.m. to link to subsequent post.

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