My heart goes out to little Caylee Anthony. No child should die at such a young age, and under such murky circumstances…because that’s exactly what it is – murky. Nobody, not even the medical examiner, could decide the cause of death because her little body was too badly decomposed to find how she died.
Casey Anthony was on trial for the death of her daughter, Caylee Anthony. The jury was instructed to review all the evidence to decide if Casey was guilty of murder in the first degree (aggravated), child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.
The jury’s first determination was to be whether there was enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Caylee was murdered by Casey. If there was enough evidence to prove that, they then were instructed to decide if the killing was murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter, or third degree felony murder, and whether the killing was excusable or resulted from justifiable use of deadly force. (Jury Instructions in the Casey Anthony Trial on July 4, 2011 from CNN.com Blogs)
The problem with this entire case is – nobody knows what caused Caylee’s death and nobody knows why she died – beyond a reasonable doubt. If you cannot be certain, beyond a reasonable doubt, then you cannot convict. It is the way of our judicial system. Is it flawed? Yes, as there are many times when there have been instances of overwhelming evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and the person still walks away from all charges a free person – literally getting away with murder – as was the case with the O.J. Simpson trial.
I am not going to regurgitate all the drama from this story here – there are many sites on the Internet where you can read about the drama – just Google “Casey Anthony” and you’ll find them all.
I did not watch the trial in its entirety on television. I have, however, read the newspapers, the articles from reputable online news groups such as CNN.com and MSNBC News.
I have thought about the allegations of sexual abuse by Casey’s father and her brother, I have thought about how Casey responded to her mother’s reactions, I have thought about Casey’s own actions in the thirty days that Caylee was first missing and her disappearance was not reported.
If you have never been sexually abused by a person that you loved and trusted with your life, you cannot begin to understand the ramifications of what that does to one’s psyche. Even if a childhood occurrence, even if it only happened one time – the ramifications of that abuse last a lifetime. Even with counseling, even with the understanding that it was never your fault – it is ever-present, always in the back of your mind, it never goes away. It alters your outlook on life, it affects your day-to-day judgment, it affects how you handle yourself and it controls your actions – intentionally or unintentionally.
You can not begin to understand how it becomes almost second nature to lie about it. It is easier to deny and suppress and lie about it than it is to come face-to-face with it and deal with it as a family.
If you do come out and tell the other parent what is happening, the outcome can go in one of two ways. The parent believes you, leaves the other parent, and removes you from the family home and ensures that you are never harmed again. All too often, unfortunately, it is something that is just unfathomable for the other parent to believe about their life mate, their partner, the love of their life. So the brunt of the anger and disbelief is directed at you, the child, and you are berated and beat down and accused of lying and being the most horrid of children to even think about destroying the other parent’s life with such vile lies. If that is the case, you crawl back into your shell as it becomes crystal clear that the other parent is never going to willingly, publicly, admit that they believe you. You are left feeling as though you are the black sheep of the family, unloved, an afterthought on the fringes of the family unit.
You deal with it in whatever way works for you. Some move out of the family home and never return. Others bury it deep in the back of their minds and never think about it again and go on with life as though nothing happened. Still others scream and cry and demand that you listen and that the problem be dealt with. Others turn to prostitution or drugs to make the pain subside.
Then there are those like Casey who do a little of everything. She pushed the disbelief of her mother into the back of her mind and went on as though nothing happened. She tried to act in a way that she thought all 20-something women should act – she shopped, she partied, she had boyfriends, she enjoyed life.
There are so many aspects of this story that are unknown to the public, to the attorneys and police officials themselves – that may never come to light. They are locked tight within a dysfunctional family that has closed ranks and will grieve in their own way for the loss of this little girl, for the tragic turn that all of their lives have taken as a result of past actions.
I cannot, in all good faith, sit here and say that I think Casey is guilty of murdering her daughter implicitly. Do I think she had something to do with the death of her daughter? Definitely. Do I think she masterminded her death in cold-blood to have a life free of responsibility so she could party and do whatever she wanted? No. Do I think that Caylee’s death may have been an accident? Yes.
There is something that wiggles in the back of my mind…the fact that dad was an ex-cop – the fact that he abused Casey as a child…just makes me feel as though he has had more to do with this entire case than is being brought to light. I believe that Caylee’s death was accidental, and I also believe that George forced Casey into going along with the elaborate kidnapping and disappearance story. George would know just how long it would take for a small child to decompose to the point that the cause of death would be impossible to decide. George would know a lot about forensic evidence given his background as an officer.
I do not fault the jury for doing their job. They did exactly as they were instructed to do. If they could not charge Casey with the crimes she was accused of beyond a reasonable doubt then they could not charge her at all. They cannot base their decision on emotion. They can only base their decision on the facts presented to them. The prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Casey killed her daughter.
The murder of Caylee Marie Anthony will forever be a mystery to everyone but those involved in her death. And those people will forever be haunted by their actions. They can hide behind their daily lives and go about life as though nothing has happened. But they will know, and it will eat them up inside. They will also have to answer for their actions to their Higher Power. That, is not for us to decide, lest we be judged ourselves.