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Casey Anthony Update: Defense Argues Against Death Penalty, Questions Heinousness of Crime

Caylee and Casey Anthony. (Family Photo) CBS

Caylee and Casey Anthony
Caylee and Casey Anthony. (Family Photo)

ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS) In May, prosecutors in the Casey Anthony murder case submitted to the judge their top five arguments for why they should be allowed to seek the death penalty.

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

Now, the defense is attempting to knock those justifications down with a top three list of their own, including an argument questioning whether Caylee Anthony's death was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel."

In papers filed with Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Friday, Casey Anthony's defense reiterated earlier arguments questioning the constitutionality of the three aggravating factors that prosecutors use in their argument, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

Their first argument deals with the prosecution argument that the capitol offense - murder - was committed while committing an additional felony - aggravated child abuse - and asks if examining whether an aggravating factor might be too broad.

Casey Anthony (WKMG)

The defense then questions, according to the paper, whether Caylee's death was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel," as defined by the death penalty statute.

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

Finally, the defense asks that prosecutors be prevented from using the "[the cold, calculated and premeditated aggravator] as an aggravator to support the decision to execute Miss Anthony," the paper reported.

Casey 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.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Casey Anthony Murder Case

  • Carlin Miller

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