I am beginning to wonder if Casey Anthony and José Baez could pull off the impossible.
Not exoneration from the jury but a death sentence from the judge.
As satisfying as that may be to the multitudes who have posted comments on our coverage of this trial, we do not have executions by democracy, and if found guilty, Casey does not qualify for the needle.
This case demonstrates everything that is wrong about capital punishment.
The criminal-justice system is too imperfect, too haphazard, too dependent on the relative skill of attorneys and too wrapped up in emotions to be killing people.
Is Casey worse than Richard Adams, the Lake County father of 8-year-old Kayla? In 1998 he bashed the 48-pound girl repeatedly with a board for soiling her pants. Then he punched her so hard in the abdomen he shredded her liver against her spine. Then he cracked her skull with another blow. As she lay on the ground, he finished up by stomping her to death.
He buried her body in Ocala National Forest. One of his defenses was that he had a toothache.
Adams was spared the death penalty and is serving life in prison.
Eric Patrick Fletcher shook his baby to death in Port St. Lucie. He got less than five years.
Abuse by Michael Dubisky left his 4-month-old son blind, suffering from cerebral palsy, seizures and other problems. The boy died six years later. Dubisky left prison shortly thereafter.
Alexandra Tobias of Jacksonville shook her baby to death for interrupting her on a computer game. She got 50 years.
In Florida's history, only one woman has been sentenced to death for killing her child.
Ana Maria Cardona ofMiami starved and tortured her 3-year old toddler before finishing him off with a baseball bat and dumping his emaciated 18-pound body. Her 1992 death sentence was overturned, and a second judge imposed a second one earlier this month.
Remember the case of Susan Smith in South Carolina? She claimed a black man kidnapped her children. It later was learned she drowned them, one 3 years old and one 14 months, so she could have a relationship with a man. In other words, the children were infringing on her lifestyle. Does that sound familiar? She will be eligible for parole in 2024.
Casey has a cold heart and a sociopath's skill for lying. But in the world of monsters who kill their children, the accusations against Casey Anthony hardly stand out.
A death sentence for the murder of a child requires premeditation or aggravated child abuse.
The main evidence of premeditation in this case consists of computer searches Casey apparently made three months before Caylee's disappearance for terms such as "chloroform."
That's suspicious and interesting but hardly so irrefutable it warrants jabbing a needle in her vein.
Given the state of decomposition of Caylee's body, there is no evidence of how she died, so there is no evidence that her death was so heinous or cruel as to warrant a death sentence.
All I know at this point, beyond a reasonable doubt, is that Casey had something to do with her daughter's death, disposed of the body and behaved very badly afterward.
Prosecutors initially had no intention of seeking the death penalty. They ruled it out in March 2009. But a month later, they put it back on the table.
My guess is that this was simply strategy. Threaten death and accept a plea bargain for life in prison.
The defense obviously would not go along, and so here we are.
I am not on the jury. But this case seems to be going badly enough for Casey that you almost wonder whether the defense is salvaging a death case for the prosecution.
My guess is that still won't happen.
The evidence so far indicates Casey probably is guilty of aggravated manslaughter of a child.
That's enough to put her in an orange jumpsuit, eating bologna sandwiches for a long, long time. That's where she belongs, not strapped to a gurney.
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