The state prosecutors capped off their testimony in a Fourth of July session in Orlando before sending the jurors off to determine a verdict.
After six weeks of testimony, the trial that played out like a soap opera has left all its cards face up. No more arguments will be made, and Casey’s fate rests in the hands of the 12 jurors. At 12:09 p.m. EDT in the Orange County Courthouse, the jury left the courtroom to start their deliberations.
And imprinted in their minds, as the final argument, was a striking image. Lead prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick, the last counsel to give closing remarks, held up a picture of Casey’s tattoo – one she reportedly had inked in the month after Caylee’s disappearance – that read “Bella Vita,” Italian for beautiful life. “At the end of this case all you have to ask yourself is whose life was better without Caylee?” Burdick asked. “This is your answer.”
But the biggest questions still have no answers. How did Caylee die? Why did Casey tell so many lies? And, perhaps the most burning question: who is Caylee’s father? Regardless, the known facts have been revealed, disputed, argued, rebutted, and objected to. And the jury will have to parse out fact from fiction, prosecution evidence from defense testimony.
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Prosecutors attempted to portray Casey as a party-hardy 20-something who killed her daughter to live life the way she desired – child-free. But defense attorneys have long insisted the death was an “accident that snowballed out of control,” a drowning incident in the family’s pool.
But it’s out of the lawyers’ hands now, and into those of the jury. If convicted of the primary charge of first-degree murder, meaning it was a premeditated occurrence, Casey could receive the death penalty. But the jury has the potential to convict her on seven charges in total, including aggravated manslaughter and providing false information to a police officer.
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