CRIME
07/03/2011 01:29 pm ET Updated Sep 02, 2011

Casey Anthony Trial: Guilty or Innocent? You Be The 13th Juror (POLL)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- For 32 days, a jury has sat and listened to more than 200 hours of testimony in the case of the State of Florida vs. Casey Anthony.

It will be up to those 12 men and women to determine Anthony's level, if any, of guilt.

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"Did the defense team save her from death? Probably. Did they save her from a murder one conviction? Maybe," famed Seattle attorney and legal analyst Anne Bremner said in an interview with The Huffington Post.

But in Bremner's opinion, it's far less clear whether Anthony might be found guilty of a lesser charge.

The question of who did a better job of proving their case -- the prosecution or the defense -- is far from cut and dry. Both sides raised compelling issues, which could take the jury several days to wade through.

From the start of the trial, the defense insisted Caylee's death was an accident. The 2-year-old "died on June 16, 2008, when she drowned in her family's swimming pool," Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez saidl.

Up until Baez's shocking opening statements, Casey Anthony had claimed her daughter was abducted by a babysitter. Multiple searches were conducted and, in December 2008, a former Orange County meter reader named Roy Kronk found Caylee's remains near her family home.

Prosecutors dismissed the defense's explanation and claimed Anthony killed her child by placing duct tape over her mouth. The remains were then kept in the trunk of Anthony's car for a period of time before being transported to the wooded area where they were recovered, the prosecution alleges.

Caylee's death allowed Casey Anthony to "live the good life," Assistant State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick said in court. 

To add credence to their claim, prosecutors called a slew of witnesses, including Casey Anthony's former friends and lovers.

One by one they told jurors how the then-22-year-old mother had entered a "Hot Body" contest, got a tattoo, went on a shopping spree and showed no signs of anxiety or depression just four days after the date her lawyer claimed her daughter had drowned.

While the prosecution appeared to do a good job assassinating Anthony's character, their witnesses did not describe her as a bad mother. Most, in fact, said she was a good mother and that her daughter never appeared to be abused or malnourished.

A Heartless, Cold-Blooded Killer?

Defense witness Dr. Sally Karioth, a Florida State University professor and grief expert, testified that everyone handles grief differently, and young adults are typically "reluctant grievers" who tend to drink or spend money they don't have, something she referred to as "retail therapy."

"Denial is a great tool for as long as you can make yourself believe it," Karioth said.

A key witness called by the prosecution was Simon Birch, the former manager of Johnson's Wrecker, the Orlando towing company that impounded Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire on June 30, 2008 -- roughly two weeks after her daughter died.

Birch delivered some explosive testimony when he described inspecting the vehicle four or five days after it was impounded.

"It was an odor consistent to what I have smelled in the past when it comes to decomposition," said Birch, who claimed to have been exposed to deceased bodies in the past. "The instant flash in my mind was, 'Whoa, I know what that smell is,'" Birch said.

Caylee was last seen alive on June 16, 2008. Her disappearance was reported on July 15, 2008, the same day Casey Anthony's parents, Cindy and George Anthony, retrieved their daughter's car from Johnson's Wrecker.

In infamous 911 calls, Cindy Anthony said it "smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car."

On the witness stand, George Anthony offered his own ornamental details about retrieving his daughter's vehicle. A former police detective, Anthony acknowledged he had smelled a "pretty strong odor" when he picked up the car. He testified that he was afraid of what he might find in the trunk of the vehicle and thought, "Please God, don't let this be my Casey or my Caylee [in the trunk]," he testified.

Day 11 brought Dr. Arpad Vass to the stand. A researcher at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Vass said he used a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer to analyze air samples taken from the trunk of Casey Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire. Vass said he found signs of human decomposition and a "shockingly high" level of chloroform.

Dr. Michael Rickenbach, a forensic chemist examiner for the FBI, later confirmed his analysis of the trunk liner from Casey Anthony's car and found residue of chloroform, but he also said traces of the chemical can be found in some household items.

It was also alleged by FBI forensic scientist Karen Lowe that a hair found in the trunk of Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire was consistent with hair from a dead body.

Trunk-related testimony continued on day 16, when Dr. Neal Haskell, an expert on insects, testified he found flies related to decomposition in the trunk of Anthony's car.

One Hair, One Bug, One Odor Equals Murder?

Defense witness Heather Seubert, an expert in blood serum and bodily fluids who worked for the FBI, said that she examined several key pieces of evidence, including swabs taken from items in the trunk of Anthony's car.

"All of those items were tested [for the presence of blood] and were negative," the expert testified.

In an effort to refute Haskell's insect testimony, Dr. Timothy Huntington, an assistant professor of biology from Concordia University and a forensic entomology consultant, was called to the stand by the defense.

Huntington said he inspected the same evidence that was reviewed by Haskell and only found one blow fly leg - suggesting a body did not decompose inside the trunk. The defense entomologist also pointed to research he conducted in September 2010, in which he put dead pigs into the trunks of cars to observe the decomposition process. He noted there was a large amount of fluid left inside the vehicles by the decomposing pigs, but no such stain was not found in Anthony's vehicle.

And what of the air tests? According to Dr. Barry Logan, a chemistry director at NMS Labs, in Pennsylvania, Vass' tests "lacked organization and planning." He said they were "poorly documented, and did not follow even minimal standards of quality control."

Logan also said chloroform is a byproduct of chlorinated swimming pool water.

Who Googled Chloroform?

There was a lot of time during the trial devoted to forensic searches of computers taken from the Anthony family home; specifically, there was digital information that allegedly shows someone conducted several suspicious searches on Wikipedia and other sites. Searched terms included the words "chloroform," "death" and "internal bleeding."

John Bradley, owner of SiQuest -- a Canadian software company that developed the program used by the Orange County Sheriff's Office -- testified he was asked to review evidence allegedly found in the Internet browsing history of the Anthony family's computer.

Bradley said he confirmed someone had used Google to conduct a search for the keyword "chloroform" on March 17, 2008. Bradley testified that other searches, conducted at Wikipedia, included "chloroform," "hand to hand combat," "inhalation," "chest trauma" and "ruptured spleen."

On March 21, 2008, someone used the computer to search for "how to make chloroform," according to Bradley.

Bradley said he also found searches on the computer for "making weapons of household products" and "neck breaking."

The computer searches were a key piece of evidence for prosecutors -- a virtual nail in Casey Anthony's coffin.

WATCH: (STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO)

However, Anthony's mother made a shocking revelation in court on Day 25, when she testified that she, not Casey, had conducted Internet searches for "chloroform" in March 2008.

Cindy Anthony explained she conducted the computer searches in an attempt to figure out why her Yorkshire terrier was "extremely tired all the time." Anthony also told defense attorney Jose Baez that she conducted searches for "chest injuries" and "head injuries" around that same time because a friend of hers had been in a car accident.

But did she? No, according prosecutors, who during rebuttal, presented evidence that Anthony was at work the day the searches were conducted. The revelation could prove to be highly damaging to the defense and could be seen as a misguided attempt by Cindy Anthony to protect her daughter.

Finding Caylee

Roy Kronk, the Orange County meter reader who discovered Caylee's remains on December 11, 2008, described finding the child's remains.

Kronk said he first went into the woods off Suburban drive on Aug. 11, 2008, to use the bathroom. While in the woods, Kronk said he spotted something that looked like a skull. He said he contacted authorities on three separate occasions in August, but they did nothing to retrieve the item.

When he went back to the woods on December 11, Kronk testified he took his meter reader stick and used it to lift the skull up. It was then that he realized what it was and was horrified, he testified.

Kronk's estranged son, Brandon Sparks, was also called by the defense.

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard, Sparks said he was in contact with his father in November 2008 and that he told him he had found Caylee's skull and was going to be rich. This would have been roughly one month before Caylee's remains were announced to have been found.

The autopsy on Caylee's remains was conducted by Dr. Jan Garavaglia.

Garavaglia testified that she had ruled Caylee's death as a homicide because of the delay in reporting her missing, the fact that the body was hidden in a wooded area, and the discovery of duct tape near the skull.

The medical examiner did, however, admit that she could not determine a cause of death and was unable to find any sign of trauma on the remains.

FBI agent Elizabeth Fontaine testified that she was unable to find fingerprints on the duct tape that was found on the skull, but did say she found the outline of a heart. Fontaine's testimony was an introduction to that of Alina Burroughs, a crime scene investigator from the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Burroughs testified that several books of heart-shaped stickers were found either in Casey Anthony's or Caylee's room.

Lorie Gottesman, a forensic document examiner for the FBI, testified for the defense that she did not find any evidence of a sticker or sticker residue on duct tape that was found near Caylee's remains.

In regard to the autopsy, the defense called Dr. Werner Spitz, a well-known forensic pathologist who had conducted autopsies on Nicole Brown-Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey.

Spitz said the initial autopsy on Caylee was "shoddy" because Caylee's skull was not opened up. "You need to examine the whole body in an autopsy," he said. Spitz testified that he was unable to determine a manner of death and said he believed the duct tape found on Caylee's skull was placed there after her body decomposed. If the tape had been on her skin, there would have been DNA on the tape, Spitz said.

Homicide or Accident?

Casey Anthony's mother made yet another startling revelation on the witness stand when she testified a ladder had been left leaning against the family swimming pool on the day defense attorneys say her granddaughter drowned.

"I thought it was strange ... I called [my husband], George, at work to see if he had left the pool ladder up because I also noticed that the side gate was open," Anthony testified.

According to Baez, Casey Anthony and her father, George Anthony, were home alone on the day the alleged accident occurred. The attorney said that in the early hours of June 16, George noticed Caylee was missing and that he and his daughter began a frantic search -- looking under beds and in the garage. Then George Anthony took the search outside, to the above-ground pool, Baez said.

"As Casey came around the corner [of the pool], she saw George Anthony holding Caylee in his arms," the defense attorney told the jury. "She immediately grabbed Caylee and began to cry. Shortly thereafter, George began to yell at her: 'Look what you've done. Your mother will never forgive you, and you will go to jail for child neglect for the rest of your frigging life.'"

George Anthony has denied knowledge of Caylee's death and testified that he did not dispose of his granddaughter's body. He has also denied molesting his daughter, something Baez accused him of during Day 1.

"It all began when Casey was 8 years old and her father came into her room and began to touch her inappropriately and it escalated ... She could be 14 years old, have [had] her father's penis in her mouth, and go to school and play with the other kids as if nothing [had] happened," Baez said.

During the trial Baez attacked George Anthony's character. The defense attorney questioned him about a suicide attempt and also called his alleged mistress to the stand. Anthony admitted attempting suicide but denied the affair.

But what about Caylee? Why the cover-up? According to Baez, the alleged sexual abuse, as well as Anthony's "incredibly dysfunctional" family life, was to blame.

But is it believable? Only one person knows, and she is not talking. When the defense rested their case Thursday, Casey Anthony told Judge Belvin Perry that she did not wish to testify.

"The prosecution is clearly ahead," Bremner said. "But ahead of what and to what end? Had the defense presented evidence of a drowning and of abuse, this could have been a horse race. Don't get me wrong, I would never say that the defense has any burden of proof. But once they make material evidentiary assertions, they better have the evidence. Had they, they could have been contenders."

Since there is not a defense per se, the defense will have to fall back on reasonable doubt, according to Bremner.

"They have raised a number of issues. Enough to keep the world on the edge of their seats. Was it to see if Casey would testify? Or was it a true query about whether she really did it? I think the true issue is whether this was an accident or intentional murder. And there is no evidence of a cause of death."

The veteran attorney added: "And will there ever be justice for Caylee or Casey, for that matter?"

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