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Two attorneys discuss the evidence in Casey Anthony’s upcoming trial with reporter,Tony Pipitone

November 20, 2008

Tony Pipitone, a Local 6 News reporter, has been investigating the Caylee Anthony murder case.  He’s the reporter that studied Casey’s cell phone pings and determined there were 4 dead times that she could have been anywhere-and taken Caylee’s body anywhere.  In the following exchange, he presented questions to two attorneys, former assistant state attorney, Elizabeth Rahter, and an experienced defense attorney, Cheney Mason, about the KNOWN evidence the prosecution will be presenting at trial.

“First, the venue. Where the trial should be held,” Pipitone said. “From the defense side, is it in your interest to move this trial out of the county?”

“Well, it may very well be. But what county would you move it to that hasn’t been saturated with this story,” Mason said. “Prosecutions usually — almost without exception — oppose a change of venue.”

“Elizabeth, would you oppose it?” Pipitone asked.

“Yes, I would make the same arguments he made. You can’t go anywhere,” Rahter said.

Mason said seeking a change of venue could undercut another possible defense strategy, the demand for a speedy trial.Anthony was indicted Oct. 14, meaning the state has 175 days — until April 7 — to start her trial, unless Anthony decides to waive her right.

“As a defense attorney, do you want a speedy trial in a case like this, where there’s no body?” Pipitone said.

“That’s an interesting question. Without the body, the state’s going to have an enormous burden, and I don’t think they can prove the case,” Mason said. “I would certainly give strong consideration to moving on to trial without delay.”

“As a prosecutor, why would you even go to a grand jury without a body and force yourself to try this case?” Pipitone asked Rahter.

“It’s a lot better to deal with witnesses while they’re fresh. And the problem with a lot of murder cases is they take years to try, and if you wait that long then their memories start to fade,” Rahter said.

“They thought that by bringing an indictment, charging first-degree murder, which could potentially lead to the death penalty that that would be coercive enough to cause this defendant to start talking,” Mason said.

“It’s the first day of your speedy trial, Elizabeth. No medical examiner, no body. What do you have?” Pipitone asked.”So you’re missing a key witness, and so you deal with it. You work around it,” Rahter said. “You have Cindy (Anthony, Casey Anthony’s mother), who smelled the dead body and said it smelled like a dead body. You have George (Anthony, Casey Anthony’s father), who used to be a deputy, and says it smelled like a dead body. You have K-9 dogs that alerted on the car. And so there’s a dead body. The question is: How many dead bodies does Casey Anthony drive around in her car?”

Mason said it’s very difficult to prove a murder case without a body.”There’s absolutely no evidence other than somebody saying they think they smelled what smelled like a dead body,” Mason said. “What if they’re right? What if there is a dead body? Does that prove there’s an unlawful killing? The answer is no, because every homicide is not murder. This child could have accidentally died any number of ways, and they’ll never be able to prove without a body or a confession.”

Pipitone said the state does have scientific evidence that it could use, including chemicals indicating a decomposing human body were found in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car.

“They’re going to have to present evidence to convince the court that such tests are generally accepted by the scientific community. And since you’ve called me, I’ve inquired. I’m not aware of a single case that’s been admitted anywhere,” Mason said.

“So this is hocus pocus science?” Pipitone said.

“Yes. I’d just have to agree with that,” Mason said.

“How can I put this person on trial for her life when the scientific evidence has not been used anywhere else?” Pipitone asked Rahter.

“They have to show that it’s accepted in the scientific community. It’s hard, a high hurdle in Florida to pass,” she said.”So that’s going to be tough for the prosecution?” Pipitone said.”Yeah, but it’s helpful that it’s corroborated,” Rahter said.

A hair pulled from the car trunk was consistent in length and color with Caylee’s hair, showing signs of decomposition, Pipitone said. DNA tests reveal the hair came from Caylee or any of her maternal ancestors, from her mother to her great-grandmother, Pipitone said.”Is that not evidence of death?” Pipitone asked Mason.

“I don’t believe it necessarily is. They can certainly argue it, but I don’t think it proves it’s a death. It’s proving it’s an old hair with some tissue that has decomposed,” Mason said.

“He’s good. He’s tearing apart the state’s case here, and basically says there is no case,” Pipitone said.

“Every case is circumstantial,” Rahter said. It has to be caught on videotape, right? Otherwise, it’s circumstantial. Right? So here you have the smell of a dead body, you have chloroform in the trunk, you have somebody who’s continually covering stuff up, making up lies, spewing stuff forth and somebody that’s missing. You prove it like every other case.”

“Without the body, the state is really in a hole,” Mason said. “Really, really bad without the body.”A challenge but not impossible, the former prosecutor said.

When you read this, it does make you wonder if the prosecution can pull this off without a body or a confession.  I’m hoping there is more that we don’t know and it will come out at the trial.  Remember, the grand jury quickly came to the conclusion there was enough evidence.

You can read the full report here  It’s about half way down the page:

10 Comments leave one →
  1. friendlymom permalink
    November 20, 2008 6:56 pm

    Mystery, I too pray that they have enough. As you mentioned, the grand jury seemed to feel the evidence was supportive enough to charge the evil monster with Murder 1. Let’s all pray that justice is served.

  2. Stephanie permalink
    November 20, 2008 7:15 pm

    When I watch interviews like this on different cases, I think the defense easily can prove reasonable doubt. But again its not all or even close to all the evidence.

    I think the state will be able to show Caylee is not with us any more with all the evidence they have. If you take just one or even 5 pieces of evidence the state would probably not win a conviction. But if you take all of the evidence in its whole, which I think will last much longer then the interview; I think they can win a conviction. We all just have to stay positive and keep praying for justice for Caylee.

    I am wondering what the defense is thinking about doing with Casey taking the stand. The jury is not supposed to hold it against her if she doesn’t take the stand. However, Casey does have a lot to answer for. But, if she takes the stand there is always cross.

  3. itsamysterytome permalink*
    November 20, 2008 8:02 pm

    I don’t think the defense would put her on the stand. I would be very surprised. The jury would see how cold and unemotional she is.

  4. itsamysterytome permalink*
    November 20, 2008 8:03 pm

    I am praying, friendly mom!

  5. Stephanie permalink
    November 20, 2008 8:09 pm

    Mystery I don’t see them putting her on the stand either. Again though she has a lot to anwer for and the only way she can do that is taking the stand. I don’t see it happening but I don’t know how the defense can get her story in any other way.

    BTW even though I do think they can win a conviction on murder, I think the least they will find her guilty on is 2nd if its given. I think the state put the lower charges in as a safety net. Then you add, which they better not drop, fraud charges. She will be found guilty of enough felonies to be kept locked up for a long time.

  6. itsamysterytome permalink*
    November 20, 2008 8:16 pm

    I agree with you about the conviction. And I would bet the fraud charges are what they’re counting on to keep her behind bars.

    I wonder who the defense will call as witnesses–the only people really supporting Casey are her parents–and they’re being called to testify for the prosecution. Maybe they will have to put Casey on the stand.

  7. niecey456 permalink
    November 20, 2008 10:30 pm

    Casey would be bad for her defense, as soon as she started the wild stories it would do her in. I’ve noticed one thing through all of this and that is Jose Baez seems to have a problem with the Anthony women’s mouths, but then he’s overloaded his a time or two as well. I really hope they televise this trial, because expressions go along way.

  8. Kari permalink
    November 20, 2008 10:52 pm

    I’ll tell you what, if I was her lawyer, she would take the stand! Heck, she is a consummate actress, I’ll bet she could get the jury feeling sympathetic…
    Look at how poor Amy believed in her, even that story about Amy sleep-walking and hiding her own money…

    Not that I’m hoping she gets sympathy. I’d really like to see her conscience-smitten and sobbing, begging for forgiveness, from God and her mom and everyone. But that’s not likely, either.

  9. Stephanie permalink
    November 21, 2008 5:37 am

    Kari I think you are right Casey is the consummate actress. Even though we have all seen her coldness I think she can put out whatever emotion she wants.

    The big question is always will they put the defendent on the stand. I would think there would be no way the defense would put her on the stand. However they have to tell Casey’s story. They will be able to get some of Casey’s story out of her family. But those 31 days she talked to her family was all lies. Then you have after Caylee was reported missing. But, what good is that going to do, of course she was busted and needs to cover up, more lies. IMO they need someone during the 31 days to say she was distraught about Caylee and scared Zanny would hurt Caylee. Often defense attorney make it sound like they are putting their client on the stand then don’t. Until I see Casey on the stand I have serious doubts she will take the stand. I am just curious how the are going to pull this off without Casey on the stand.

  10. November 22, 2008 2:39 am

    It would be defense suicide to put her on the stand, the prosecution would chew her up, and she may be a good and a fast liar, but that is what would do her in. It won’t be like the police interview,she would be on the stand, a packed court room full of people who despise her,she would not hold up.

    The trial should be televised,FL. allows cameras in the court room, so no special permission would have to be granted.

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