I followed the Casey Anthony trial rather closely and I must admit that I sometimes found my support flip-flopping at various times between the prosecution and defense. I pulled for the prosecution when Jeff Ashton spouted scientific mumbo-jumbo as expertly as a chief science officer or CEO of a biotech company. And I nearly applauded while Jose Baez chewed up George Anthony like a hound dog gnawing on a ham bone (Get it? Hound dog…George Anthony…oh, well…).
But it didn’t take long to see the lug nuts begin to fall off the wheels of this car. Nope, not long at all. And when they did Casey Anthony bailed out. And now she’ll soon be free to roam about the country.
Me? Well, I waited and watched for the hard evidence to be introduced. Yep, I was drooling, waiting for the good stuff. You know, stuff like DNA, fingerprints, a witness, something written by the defendant, trace evidence, impression evidence, a statement, a fingernail, bloodstains…well, you get the picture. The stuff that would nail a baby-killer to the wall. Heck, even circumstantial cases like the Scott Peterson case have a little evidence show up in court now and then. But not this case. Nope, the proof was just not there. Not even close.
Oh, there was there was plenty of stuff, just not good, solid evidence. And what a shame, because somewhere, lost in all the back-biting, name-calling, running around, lying, cheating, stealing, grandstanding and showboating, was a tiny, beautiful, little girl who died. And rarely did anyone in this case seem to think about her. No, it was all about ME, ME, ME.
Actually, this car started its journey with only three wheels in place, because the police left the right rear tire in the garage when the first-responding deputy failed to listen to Roy Kronk when he first reported his finding of the skull. Sure, we all know that deputies wear shiny, brown shoes and the sheriff will definitely fuss if those shoes are dirty, but to not walk into the woods when you KNOW you’re just a few blocks from the “Anthony House…” Yeah, that Anthony house… There’s more, but we’ll get to that later.
Then comes the prosecution’s case. Jeff Ashton was definitely the wizard behind the curtain for most of the trial. His science was spot on and he’d done his homework. He’d studied the evidence (what little he had) and he was ready for court. Hell, he was ready to take on the world. BUT…no matter how well-prepared and how knowledgeable Jeff Ashton was at the time of trial, he just may have blown the entire case in a matter of seconds by doing something that more than likely angered the jury. Sure, juries are supposed to render a verdict based on facts, but sometimes it happens…an attorney does something so despicable that those twelve human beings switch sides in mid stream. And that just may have happened in this case.
You see, while Jose Baez was delivering a pretty powerful and compelling closing argument, prosecutor Jeff Ashton was busy laughing like a teenage boy who’d just passed gas in a room full of his friends. And Jose Baez, obviously tired of Ashton’s childish behavior, pointed him out in open court by calling him, “This laughing guy right here.”
Juries don’t miss that sort of thing, especially when a child has been killed and her mother is on trial for the murder. And, the sitting jury is in the position of sending the defendant to the execution chamber. Nope, that’s not exactly a laughing matter. So, shame on Mr. Ashton for doing so.
It’s certainly easy to play Monday morning quarterback, saying what the police and prosecution should and shouldn’t have done to win this case. And there are many theories floating around about what went wrong (other than the “laughing man” theory), but to be fair to the police officers who spent countless hours collecting evidence, etc., we won’t go there. In fact, we weren’t there so we CAN”T go there.
What I will say is this…I like to work a case in a specific style. I like to list all my suspects and then begin the process of eliminating everyone who could not possibly be the killer. Then, as the innocent people begin to dwindle away you’re only left with one person…The Murderer.
Sometimes, though, tunnelvision rears its ugly head and investigators focus all their attention on what they think is the obvious solution to a particular case.
Remember, what looks like a duck may not be a duck, even if it’s quacking. Detectives should ALWAYS take a moment to look at the big picture.
After all, sometimes there’s an entire family of ducks waiting to cross the road.
– In case you’re wondering, I did call this one early on. I told my wife prior to closing arguments that Casey would be found not guilty on all counts with the exception of lying to police. Laughing Guy cemented my prediction during the closing arguments.
* By the way, word is out that Prosecutor Jeff Ashton will be retiring this Friday. Coincidence?
Casey Anthony cries after receiving the news that she’s been found not guilty of murdering her daughter, Caylee.