Casey Anthony: When Not Guilty Doesn’t Erase the Guilt

The only time that life can be seen in black and white, is upon the screen of sitcom’s past.

The real world is chock full of an array of possibilities, of definitions, of choices. In short, nothing is simply black or white, right and wrong are not easily defined, and even the truth can fall into obscure shades of grey.

The Casey Anthony spectacle will stand as a testament that truth and justice can be just as obscure and the laws of our land are just as imperfect as the creatures that devised them.

We may never know exactly what occurred during the summer of 2008, but we know the outcome well: Caylee, an adorable 2-year-old little girl, was killed.

31 days would pass before her disappearance would be reported.

6 months would pass before her broken body would be found.

3 years would pass before her story would find closure.

In that time span, the story has played out in the media like the Lifetime movie that it will undoubtedly become. Passions have flared, and a case that once seemed an inevitable open or shut issue has become as polarizing as the OJ Simpson trial.

The verdict of “Not Guilty” rang out across the world. And we all took a step back.

“Not guilty?” we asked. “Surely the evidence was clear,” most of us thought.

Surely she was guilty…right?

And here is when we see the vibrant colors of the world fade into grey.

As Juror #2, who has decided to remain anonymous, explained to the St. Petersburg Times, “Everybody agreed if we were going fully on feelings and emotions, she was done.” He went on to say, “I just swear to God… I wish we had more evidence to put her away. I truly do … But it wasn’t there.”

This has been the most perplexing, and for most, the most damning component of this case.

Consider the timeline:

Casey left her parents home with her daughter in June of 2008. It would be the last time that the child would be seen alive. Casey returned home alone, and for the next 31 days, would offer differing explanations as to why the child was not with her; including the invention of a baby sitter who was later found not to exist, and citing a job that she did not work at.

During those 31 days she found time to patronize nightclubs, frequent the home of her boyfriend, shop, and even acquired a new tattoo stating Bella Vita, loosely translated as “Beautiful Life.”

As Bobby Williams, the artist who tattooed the infamous phrase testified, “She didn’t seem upset about anything…she seemed pretty happy.”

Her 31 days of happiness would end following the recovery of her vehicle, which had been towed, by her parents. Disturbed by her daughter’s inability to produce the child, and frightened by the stench emanating from the car, Cindy Anthony called the police.

Said Cindy Anthony in a call placed to the police in July 2008, “I can’t find my granddaughter. There’s something wrong. I found my daughter’s car today and it smelled like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.”

5 months later, on December 11 the body of little Caylee Anthony was found badly decomposed; duct tape entangled in her hair, wrapped inside of her favorite Winnie the Pooh blanket.

Decomposition would make it impossible to conclude exactly how the toddler died. Leaving the burden of proof upon both the prosecution and defense to reconstruct what transpired to the best of their abilities.

While the prosecution focused on forensic evidence, without a cause of death or a motive, they quickly learned that even with all signs pointing one way, reasonable doubt could derail a first degree murder conviction.

The defense was tasked with offering an explanation of the blatant lies and lack of visible distress following her daughter’s disappearance. They proposed that there was no disappearance, and advised that little Caylee had accidentally drowned on June 18, 2008. They then went on to implicate Casey’s father as the person who found the body and disposed of it, in an effort to cover up the accident. They also alluded that years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father was the reason behind Casey’s odd antics.

As NY Times writer Frank Bruni recently penned, “Juries are supposed to presume the innocence of even the vilest defendants. Evidence must outweigh emotion. And in the end there simply wasn’t enough lucid, specific proof that Anthony had murdered her little girl”

Many have displayed outrage at the verdict, while others have lamented over the seemingly lack of justice that little Caylee received. In all honesty, we will probably never know the full details of what transpired.

But remember this: Casey has been tried by a jury, tried by the media, tried by the world. Yet in the end, if the old saying is correct, “Only God can judge.”

If so, Lord help her soul.


(written by C. Smith♦)

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