Casey Anthony, the mother on trial for the murder of her daughter, was acquitted Tuesday on the charges of first-degree murder, manslaughter of a child and aggravated child abuse, is to be released from the Orange County jail on Wednesday.
Although a jury found her “not guilty” on the first three charges, she was convicted on four charges of lying to law enforcement officer, Yuri Melich. She was sentenced to one year per count and fined $1,000 per count by Judge Belvin Perry Jr. on Thursday.
On July 16, 2008, the day Casey’s 2-year-old Caylee Marie Anthony was reported missing for 31 days, Casey gave a sworn statement to Melich that she was employed by Universal Studios, had left her little girl with a babysitter named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, informed imaginery fellow employees Jeffrey Hopkins and Juliet Lewis that Caylee was missing and that her daughter called her on the babysitter’s phone a day prior. Investigators have since discovered these were false allegations and there is no nanny.
Defense attorney Lisabeth Fryer – prior to Judge Perry imposing sentencing – argued that there was an issue of materiality and a violation of double jeopardy on the latter three counts, saying it’s “one criminal act with a single intent” and the lies are “part of the same continuous act.”
“Are you saying that Miss Anthony did not have time to pause, reflect and form a new criminal act?” inquired Perry, chief judge of the ninth circuit court.
“Yes,” replied Fryer. And added, “There must be a separation of time.” Fryer asserted the lies were told on the same day and there was no break in time between each of Casey’s lies.
Lead Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick refuted Fryer and the defense’s argument, saying, “There is temporal breaks in between lies … The lies occurred over three separate statements,” including the ones that were not charged for, adding the litany of times when she lied, at 1 a.m., 4 a.m. and 1 p.m. and that countless false statements were provided by the delinquent.
Burdick, who arrived with colleague Frank George, but no Jeff Ashton for unknown reasons, said Casey intentionally misled law enforcement on a “wild goose hunt.”
“As a result of those four separate, distinct lies, law enforcement expended a great deal of time, energy and manpower looking for young Caylee Marie Anthony,” Perry said.
Casey already served three years of time equaling 1,043 days in the Orange County Jail, therefore the court will allow her to be released on July 13, 2011.
The State of Florida attorneys filed a motion on Wednesday that will fine Casey for $4,618 in tax costs in investigation, prosecution and reserved jurisdiction. She is to pay $20 payments per month beginning Feb. 15, 2012.
Judge Perry granted her the right to appeal, but she must file for it within 30 days.
Prior to handing down the sentence, Perry questioned if the defense still requested him to reserve file for motion on the death penalty. Ann Finnell, death penalty specialist, was in attendance, but Attorney Cheney Mason exclaimed they will withdraw the motion.
Crowds of protesters stood in front of the Orange County Courthouse with signs and security was tight around the courthouse with law enforcement officers on foot, bicycles and even on horseback.
It is unknown what Casey will do upon release, whether she will be going back home with her parents, George and Cindy, some speculate, or, as others suggest, will leave the state.
One protester, Mary Stratton, held a sign Thursday that reads,”Mommy, why did you kill me?” in purple paint with two painted hand prints of a child and said the verdict was “disgusting” because Casey “got away with murder.”
She advises that when Casey leaves jail, she “moves out of Florida, so we don’t have to worry about our own children,” and that “she better have security.”
Mary, a mother of two, was present alongside her 5-year-old, who came equipped with all her princess merchandise, including a chair.