Thursday, July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony sentenced to four years, could be out in weeks

Casey Anthony to be freed next week

Anthony is sentenced to four years for lying about daughter Caylee's death, but will be freed because of time already served
    Casey Anthony
    Casey Anthony talks to lawyers at her sentencing hearing in Orlando, Florida. Photograph: Joe Burbank/AP
    A Florida judge has sentenced Casey Anthony, the young mother cleared of murdering her two-year-old child, to the maximum four years in prison for lying to police about the circumstances of her daughter's death. But Anthony, 25, who appeared relaxed, laughing and winking in court, will be freed from jail next Wednesday because of the time she has already served while awaiting trial. Outside the Orlando courthouse, demonstrators protested against Tuesday's verdict which found Anthony not guilty of murdering her daughter, Caylee, whose body was found in late 2008 with duct tape covering her nose and mouth in woods six months after she disappeared. Anthony falsely claimed to police that the child had been abducted by a nanny, who turned out not to exist, initially prompting a nationwide hunt for Caylee. She also lied about working at the Universal Studios theme park and her movements during the time of her daughter's disappearance. The judge, Belvin Perry, sentenced Anthony to the maximum one year in prison on each of four convictions for lying to police, to be served concurrently. But as she has already been in prison for about three years, and with credit for good behaviour, she will be released next week. Anthony was also fined $4,000. At her trial she claimed that Caylee drowned accidentally in the family swimming pool and that she panicked and dumped her corpse in the woods with the help of her father, who denied the allegation. Prosecutors alleged that Anthony murdered the child with chloroform and duct tape, and then drove around with the body in the boot of the car before dumping it, because taking care of Caylee interrupted her social life. Anthony's acquittal of murder, manslaughter and child abuse charges has been widely attacked on the television talk shows that followed the six-week trial in detail. The CNN host Nancy Grace, who has greatly increased her audience with highly partisan coverage of the trial, said of Anthony's acquittal: "The devil is dancing tonight." The Fox News host Bill O'Reilly also denounced the outcome of the trial. "I am so angry about this verdict," he said. But some of the jurors have defended their decision. Jennifer Ford, a 32-year-old nursing student, told ABC News that jurors were not persuaded of Anthony's innocence but that the prosecution provided insufficient evidence to convict her. "I did not say she was innocent. I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be," she said. "We were sick to our stomach to get that verdict. We were crying, and not just the women." Ford said that the failure of prosecutors to offer a firm explanation of how Caylee died undermined their case. "If you're going to charge someone with murder, don't you have to know how they killed someone or why they might have killed someone, or have something where, when, why, how? Those are important questions. They were not answered," she said. An alternate juror, Russell Huekler, said that the hostile public reaction to the verdict was unfortunate.More...

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