Thursday, May 26, 2011

Casey Anthony tears up as moments with daughter are described during murder trial

Casey Anthony, center, sits at the defense table with her attorneys Cheney Mason, left, and Lisabeth Fryer at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee. If convicted she could face the death penalty. (AP Photo/Red Huber, Pool)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A central Florida mother charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter wiped away tears Thursday as her ex-boyfriend described to jurors affectionate moments Casey Anthony shared with her toddler.

Anthony Lazarro testified under questioning from Anthony's defense attorney that she taught Caylee how to swim and regularly displayed affection for her daughter.

Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death. She has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have offered strikingly different portrayals of Anthony.

Prosecutors have gotten witnesses to testify that Anthony never seemed upset during the time Caylee disappeared. Defense attorneys have coaxed witnesses to testify that Anthony was a loving mother.

Caylee was last seen June 16, 2008. Prosecutors said Caylee died from three pieces of duct tape being placed over her mouth and nose, while the attorney for Anthony, 25, has claimed the toddler accidentally drowned in her grandparents' pool.

One of the grandparents' neighbors, Brian Burner, testified Wednesday that Anthony asked him two days after the girl was last seen if she could borrow a shovel to "dig up a bamboo root." She returned the shovel about an hour later, he said.

Burner also said he remembered seeing Anthony's white car backed into the garage on the night of June 16.

About a month before that, Anthony met Lazzaro during

a party. They soon became romantically involved and she moved into an apartment he was sharing with four other people.

Lazzaro and his ex-roommates testified Wednesday that they met Anthony's daughter several times and then at some point in early June, they never saw her again.

When they asked about Caylee, her mother told them she was with her nanny at a theme park or going to the beach.

Lazzaro and the roommates said Anthony's demeanor never suggested anything was wrong. She would cook, clean and help out around the apartment, they said.

"She was a regular 22-year-old girl," said Cameron Campana, a club promoter who was a college student at the time. "Peppy. She seemed normal."

Another roommate, Nathan Lezniewicz, said Anthony liked going out and having a good time.

"She was not an introvert by any means," he said.

He echoed their sentiments and also identified Anthony in several nightclub party photos, including a "hard body contest" in which Anthony danced in a short skirt. Prosecutors also showed jurors surveillance videos of Anthony and Lazarro going to the video store and shopping at JC Penny after the time Caylee was believed to be missing.

"She was the way she was every day -- happy," Lazarro said.

Defense attorney Jose Baez got Lazzaro to describe more tender moments between the mother and daughter, including Anthony using educational "flash cards."

Anthony also once became startled and scolded her daughter for getting too close to the edge of the pool at Lazzaro's apartment complex, he said.

Maria Kissh, a girlfriend of one of the roommates, described riding in Anthony's car along with her roommates. Under questioning by Anthony's attorney, she said neither she nor any of the other passengers smelled any odor.

Prosecutors have said they believe Caylee's decaying body had been stored there, and the girl's grandparents noticed a foul odor when they picked up the car from a towing lot.

Prosecutors also called two women who worked at a nightclub where Casey helped Lazzaro promote parties. They both said she helped coordinate and manage "shot girls," special waitresses who sold shots of alcohol to patrons.


Hilarie Burton Georgina Grenville Zhang Ziyi Brittany Murphy Adrianne Palicki

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