October 15, 2008 in Nation/World

Florida mother accused of murder

Orlando Sentinel
 
Associated Press photo

Casey Anthony, mother of missing 3-year-old Caylee Marie Anthony, arrives at her lawyer’s office in Kissimmee, Fla.
(Full-size photo)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Casey Anthony was indicted Tuesday on seven charges in the disappearance of her missing daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony, including first-degree murder.

She also was charged with one count of aggravated child abuse, one count of aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

The decision came after an Orange County grand jury heard more than six hours of testimony from a half-dozen witnesses, including Anthony’s father, George Anthony.

Caylee Marie’s body has not been found, but the indictment indicates that prosecutors believe they can prove at trial that her mother killed her. The first-degree murder charge carries a possible death penalty if she is convicted.

“The investigation contains intricate forensics that are on the cutting edge of science,” State Attorney Lawson Lamar said after the indictment was unsealed. “We are used to complex forensics and are ready to manage this evidence at trial.”

To win a grand jury indictment, prosecutors had to demonstrate only probable cause that Anthony committed the crime. Proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard for a criminal trial.

Anthony, 22, has been the main suspect for months in the disappearance of her daughter, who was reported missing July 15. The mother told detectives that she last saw Caylee in mid-June when she left the girl with a baby sitter.

When Anthony returned later, both the child and the baby sitter were gone, she said. Authorities have not been able to find the nanny, and they question whether she exists.

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