Casey Anthony Case Update: Casey Anthony Will Not Testify; Defense Rests

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Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel / Getty Images

Krystal Holloway, also known as River Cruz, testifies during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, June 30, 2011

When Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. asked defense lawyer Jose Baez if he had any more live witnesses, Baez said he did not. Perry asked if the defendant would testify, and he said she would not. Perry asked Casey Anthony directly if she understood the implications of her decision and had arrived at the decision not to testify on her own, he said she had, and the defense rested its case.

Earlier, the defense started their last day of testimony by calling Krystal Holloway to the stand. Holloway, who has been described in the media as George Anthony’s mistress, testified about conversations that the defense hopes will place doubt about Casey’s guilt in the minds of the jury.

Holloway testified that she met George, Casey Anthony’s father, during the search for Caylee in October 2008. She recalled a conversation around Thanksgiving of that year in which she claims George told her Caylee’s death had been an accident. “He said it was an accident that snowballed out of control,” Holloway testified. “I was in shock. By the time I looked up, his eyes were full of tears. I didn’t elaborate. I didn’t ask him anything further.”

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Jose Baez, Casey’s lead defense lawyer, claimed in his opening statement that Caylee drowned in the family pool and that George disposed of the body. George has repeatedly denied such accusations. In cross examination, prosecutor Jeff Ashton accused Holloway of sensationalizing her involvement, and Holloway admitted that the National Enquirer paid her $4,000 for her story.

After Holloway’s testimony, the jury was excused, and both sides argued vehemently about instructions Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. would give the jury concerning her testimony. The prosecution argued that case law in Florida stipulated that the jury should consider Holloway’s testimony only under the context of George Anthony’s credibility as a witness. Although Baez strongly objected, Judge Perry instructed the jury that they were not to consider Holloway’s testimony in their determination of how Caylee Anthony died.

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After Holloway’s testimony, Baez called the entire Anthony family in succession to ask about how they buried family pets that died over the years. Beginning when the family lived in Ohio, Baez asked George, Cindy and Lee about nearly every family pet by name and whether the animals had been wrapped in blankets with duct tape before they were interred.

Baez clearly hoped to draw a link between members of the Anthony family and the duct tape found on Caylee’s body. Yet, the only real impact of the testimony may have been to paint a portrait of a dysfunctional but fairly normal family. When their pets were sick, they took them to the veterinarian. Like thousands of other families, if the pet died or had to be euthanized, they held small ceremonies and buried the pets in the back yard. The stories serve as a reminder that, despite the intrigue and sensational aspects of this case, at its heart is a family that has suffered a great loss and must ensure their grief in the theater of a nationally televised trial.

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Proceedings continue this afternoon, where the defense is expected to conclude its case. There is no word yet on whether Casey will testify, and Baez is holding his cards close to the vest. Either way, stay tuned — and check out the video below for background info on the trial.

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