ORLANDO, Fla.— Casey Anthony briefly wept Sunday as prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments that she murdered her 2-year-old daughter Caylee to reclaim the carefree life she had before the girl was born.
Prosecutors portrayed Anthony as a young mother who killed her daughter because she got in the way of her love life.
“Something needed to be sacrificed, that something was either the life she wanted or the life thrust upon her. She chose to sacrifice her child,” prosecutor Jeff Ashton said during his 90-minute argument.
Defense attorney Jose Baez said the prosecutors’ case was so weak they tried to portray Anthony as “a lying, no-good slut” and that their forensic evidence was based on a “fantasy.”
Prosecutors contend Caylee was suffocated with duct tape by a mother who then crafted elaborate lies to mislead investigators and her parents. Defense attorneys countered that the toddler accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool, and that her mother in fact was hiding emotional distress caused by alleged sexual abuse from her father. Her father has denied that claim.
Judge Belvin Perry ruled Sunday morning that there was no evidence of such a claim and that the defense could not allude to it in closing arguments.
The jury is expected to begin deliberating after the defense finishes its closing argument. Perry said those deliberations will continue Monday on the July Fourth holiday if necessary.
The case has played out on national TV since Caylee’s disappearance in the summer of 2008 and continued through her mother’s trial, with spectators traveling from all over the U.S. to jockey for coveted seats in the courtroom gallery. Anthony, a single mother, was 22 when her daughter died.