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Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Prosecution Lays out Case for Death Penalty

Casey Anthony April 30, 2010 (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Red Huber)

ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS/WKMG) In a disturbing twist on a top 5 list, the prosecutors in the Casey Anthony murder trial laid out their justifications Thursday for seeking the death penalty against the young mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008.

PICTURES: Casey Anthony Personal PhotosPICTURES: Caylee Anthony: A Life Cut Short

Two of the factors seem easy to confirm: that the victim was younger than 12 and that she was in the custody of her mother at the time she was killed. While Caylee was clearly 2-years-old at the time of her death,  the whereabouts of Caylee at the time of her death are disputed by the defense. Anthony claims she left Caylee with a babysitter.

The last three could be harder for the prosecution to prove. The first is that the murder was committed during the commission of another crime, in this case aggravated child abuse, of which she is also charged. But in order for that to go into effect she would have to be convicted of the abuse charge to prove the aggravating circumstance.

Caylee Anthony (Personal Photo)
The other two are similarly dependent on aggravation factors and what evidence is presented in trial. The first factor being that the killing was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel. The second being that the crime was cold, calculated and premeditated.

PICTURES: Casey Anthony Personal Photos
PICTURES: Caylee Anthony: A Life Cut Short

Evidence of these aggravators could be, if proven, the duct tape found on Caylee's skull, the high levels of chloroform found in the trunk of Anthony's car and the fact that Anthony was seen with her boyfriend, arm-in-arm renting a movie at the same time the state argues that Caylee was dead or dying.

These justifications were required by Judge Belvin Perry before he ruled on Tuesday that the state could pursue the death penalty.

Anthony's daughter, Caylee, was reported missing in July 2008, a month after Casey claims to have last seen her daughter. Caylee's remains were found five months later in a wooded area near the Anthony family's east Orange County home.

Anthony has pleaded not guilty to murdering Caylee and her trial is set to start in May 2011.

CBS Affiliate WKMG contributed to this report.

MEDIAPICTURES: Casey Anthony Personal Photos
PICTURES: Caylee Anthony: A Life Cut Short
MORE ON CRIMESIDER

May 11, 2010 - Casey Anthony Can Face Death Penalty, Judge Rules
April 1, 2010 - Casey Anthony Update: Officer Suspended for Allegedly Passing Notes
March 22, 2010 - Casey Anthony, Accused Baby Killer, Declared Indigent Despite $200,000 Pictures Payoff
March 19, 2010 - Casey Anthony Received $200K from ABC News - But is out of Cash, Says Defense
December 21, 2009 - Casey Anthony Could Face Death Penalty in Caylee Anthony Murder Trial, Judge Rules
December 11, 2009 - Casey Anthony Lawyers Seek to Block Death Penalty
November 20, 2009 - Casey Anthony Defense: Meter Reader Roy Kronk Killed Caylee Anthony
November 9, 2009 - Book 'Em: Mommy's Little Girl -- Casey Anthony and her Daughter Caylee's Tragic Fate
October 21, 2009 - Police Interrogations: Questioning Casey Anthony
October 19, 2009 - 911: Where's Caylee Anthony?
September 30, 2009 - Duct Tape in Caylee Anthony Murder Case Contaminated by FBI
September 25, 2009 - Heart-Wrenching Caylee Anthony Evidence Destroyed, FBI Docs Show
August 24, 2009 - Casey Anthony's Defense Revealed

  • Carlin Miller

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