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Casey Anthony Trial Underway; Florida Mom Accused of Killing 2-Year-Old Daughter

First Posted: 05/09/11 05:04 PM ET   Updated: 07/09/11 06:12 AM ET

One of the most momentous trials in Florida history began in Clearwater this morning as dozens of potential jurors filed into the Pinellas County Courthouse for the start of Casey Anthony's first-degree murder trial.

The start of Anthony's trial comes nearly three years after the search for Anthony's two-year-old daughter Caylee captured the nation's attention. Some 1,500 to 1,800 people scoured the area near Anthony's home, making it one of the largest searches ever for a missing child.

Caylee was last seen on June 16, 2008, and her remains were found in December 2008 near her family home. Casey Anthony has long maintained her innocence and claims her daughter was abducted by a babysitter.

"We are about to begin jury selection the case of the state of Florida versus Casey Anthony," Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry said at the start of the hearing. "This is a criminal case."

Anthony cried as Perry read the charges against her, which include capital murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and misleading law enforcement. The prosecution, Perry told the jury, is seeking the death penalty.

About $500,000 has already been spent in the Anthony case and officials estimate her trial will cost Florida taxpayers an additional $360,000. Roughly 600 journalists from around the world have requested media credentials, leading to speculation that coverage of the trial will even outweigh that of O.J. Simpson's 1995 murder trial; which, at the time, was often referred to as the "Trial of the Century."

Anthony, who has spent much of the past three years incarcerated in the Orange County Jail in Orlando, was transferred to the Pinellas County Jail today for the jury selection phase of her trial.

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  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Casey Anthony goes over paperwork during a break on the final day of arguments in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Assist. State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick presents the final portion of rebuttal at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 5, 2011

    Casey Anthony stands for the arrival of the jury at the start of the second day of jury deliberations in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Spectators in the courtroom listen to the rebuttal presented by Assist. State Attorney Jeff Ashton on the final day of arguments in the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton gives the final rebuttal in the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Judge Belvin Perry listens as Assist. State Attorney Jeff Ashton present rebuttal on the last day of arguments in the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Casey Anthony with her attorney Dorothy Clay Sims on the last day of arguments in Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Cindy Anthony, wearing bracelets in tribute to her granddaughter Caylee Anthony, listens during the final day of arguments in the trial of her daughter Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Defense attorney Cheney Mason presents a burden of proof chart during closing arguments of the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Jose Baez points and yells in the direction of the prosecution table during his closing arguments in the Casey Anthony murder trial in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Judge Belvin Perry called a sidebar during the arguments to deal with the outburst. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder charges in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted on the charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    George Anthony listens to closing arguments in the murder trial of his daughter, Casey, in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday, July 3, 2011. Casey Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Casey Anthony reacts while listening to the state's closing arguments in her murder trial in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty, if convicted.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton presents closing arguments for the state in the murder trial of Casey Anthony in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Casey Anthony gestures during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, has plead not guilty in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Spectator Matthew Bartlett is taken away by sheriff deputies on a contempt charge for his obscene gesture toward assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton during Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Casey Anthony, 25, has plead not guilty in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Lee Anthony testifies during the murder trial of his sister Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse on June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Anthony's defense attorneys argued that she didn't kill her two-year-old daughter Caylee, but that she accidentally drowned.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Krystal Holloway, also known as River Cruz, reacts when questioned about transcripts from her police statements during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, June 30, 2011. Holloway claims to have had an affair with George Anthony, Casey's father.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 29, 2011

    George Anthony reacts during his testimony in the murder trial of his daughter, Casey, in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Casey Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Casey Anthony sits in court at her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Lee Anthony, right, returns to his seat next to his mother Cindy Anthony after he testified in the murder trial of sister Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    An aerial photo showing the location where Caylee Anthony's remains were found is projected on a courtroom monitor in the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Roy Kronk, a meter reader for Orange County, testifies during the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Tuesday, June 28, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found Caylee Anthony's remains, testifies in the murder trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    Defense attorney Jose Baez, left and Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton, center, look over evidence with witness Dr. Kenneth Furton, a forensic chemist, during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, June 27, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    Casey Anthony, left, listens to her attorney Anne Finnell before the start of court in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, June 27, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    Jason Forgey, a canine handler for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, testifies during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Monday, June 27, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows a portion of a Powerpoint presentation entered into evidence at the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 27, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Cindy Anthony testifies during her daughter Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony is charged with killing her daughter, Caylee in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Casey Anthony sits at the defense table during a recess during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, June 23, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Evidence is lined up in front of Dr. Barry Logan, an analytic chemist, as he waits to testify on day 26 of Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Anthony is charged with killing her daughter, Caylee.

  • Casey Anthony Trial Photos

    An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows a photograph entered into evidence during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Judge Belvin Perry on day 26 of Casey Anthony's 1st-degree murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial Photos

    A picture of computer reports from the Anthony desktop computer is shown on a courtroom monitor on day 26 of Casey Anthony's first degree murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008. (AP Photo/Red Huber, Pool)

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Casey Anthony talks with her attorney Jose Baez, left, during a recess in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Cindy Anthony listens in court during the trial of her daughter Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial Photos

    An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows a photo entered into evidence in the trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Dr. Michael Sigman testifies about air samples during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Maureen Bottrell, a forensic geologist for the FBI, testifies in the trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Judge Belvin Perry, center, holds a sidebar conference with attorneys in the Casey Anthony murder trail in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2011. An infuriated Perry warned the Anthony defense and prosecution today that he is getting fed up with games being played during the course of the trial. Court was recessed early without explanation.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton listens to Judge Belvin Perry's directions during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 20, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Defense attorney Jose Baez, second from right, and his client Casey Anthony listen to assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton talk to Judge Belvin Perry, not pictured, before the start of court at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 20, 2011. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Casey Anthony enters the courtroom for the 22nd day of her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 20, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial

    During forensic expert Dr. Spitz's testimony, Casey Anthony turns her head away when photos of the skull of her daughter, Caylee Marie, were shown at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 18, 2011

    Forensic expert Dr. Werner Spitz testifies in the trial of Casey Anthony, talking about autopsy results of the remains of Caylee Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 18, 2011

    Chief Judge Belvin Perry expresses deep frustration at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011, that defense attorney Jose Baez attempted to elicit critical testimony from William Rodriguez, testimony that had not been disclosed to the prosecution earlier. Perry may end up punishing Baez with a contempt finding, but he reserved ruling on that matter. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 18, 2011

    Casey Anthony, right, consoles her attorney Jose Baez after Chief Judge Belvin Perry expressed deep frustration that defense attorney Jose Baez attempted to elicit critical testimony from William Rodriguez, testimony that had not been disclosed to the prosecution earlier. Perry may end up punishing Baez with a contempt finding, but he reserved ruling on that matter. at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    Casey Anthony is shown at the defense table before the start of court in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    Dr. Tim Huntington, forensic entomologist, testifies during the murder trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    An evidence photo showing trash found in the trunk of a car is held by an attorney during the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    George Anthony listens to testimony during the murder trial of his daughter Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 16, 2011

    Casey Anthony, with her attorney Cheney Mason, during day 20 of her first-degree murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, June 16, 2011.

This morning, Perry instructed the pool of roughly 400 potential jurors that Anthony's trial will take place in Orlando. The jury will be sequestered and the trial will last an estimated six to eight weeks. Perry said the court is "mindful of the enormous inconvenience" it will be imposing.

The rest of the morning -- and on into the afternoon -- was spent identifying jurors who want to be excused for personal hardship reasons.

"They want to know if there is any reason the individual couldn’t sit there for X number of weeks," Anne Bremner, a Seattle attorney and legal analyst, told The Huffington Post.

"The folks who are self-employed or have some kind of a physical disability will typically be let go up front, so that will weed out a lot of people."

Bremner added: "They will probably find a lot of people, [because of] this economy, can't serve because they are not going to be able to support their families."

Jurors who pass through to the next stage will be questioned about their knowledge of the case to determine how much, if any, pretrial publicity they have been exposed to.

"They always say jury selection but I think they should call it serial elimination," Bremner explained. "Each side is trying to get rid of the people who have strong opinions against their side. They have got to do questioning and these days a lot of people also do research on jurors. They look at Facebook and they Google them they try to find out more about that person."

Potential jurors will also be questioned about their stance on capital punishment. Any individual who is unwilling to recommend a death sentence would automatically be excluded.

"With a death penalty case you have to have a 'death-qualified jury,' which means they are willing to give the death penalty under appropriate circumstances," Bremner said. "They need to weed out people who have opinions on the death penalty that could compromise the trial for both sides."

Court officials want to have the jury of 20 people, 12 jurors and eight alternates, selected by Friday. Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to being Monday morning.

Bremner said that while it is not impossible to have a jury in place by Friday, she is skeptical that it will actually happen.

"It will be really tough, especially with a case like this that has had such widespread publicity," she said.

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