|Casey Anthony's Great Escape|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27)||Jun 27, 2012, 1:04 PM|
In the hours following Casey Anthony's frenzied release from jail, her defense team executed a movie-like getaway plan, complete with decoy vehicles, a helicopter chase and a stop at an all-night Steak 'n Shake for her first meal.
The July 17, 2011 scene was broadcast all over the country. Casey Anthony was scheduled to be released from jail at midnight and swarms of media and avid-trial watchers—most furious at the woman dubbed the most hated woman in America -- camped outside in the dark, harshly illuminated by TV lights.
What the public didn't see is what was going on inside the jail, now detailed in defense attorney Jose Baez's book "Presumed Guilty, Casey Anthony: The Inside Story," set to be released on July 3.
"She was wearing a dark pink polo shirt with jeans and some funky tennis shoes that had two-colored laces," Baez wrote. "'Hey,' I said. 'Hey,' Casey said. Looking at her sneakers, I said, 'What the hell is that all about?' 'They don't exactly have a shopping mall here at the jail,' she said."
Ten days earlier, Anthony had been acquitted of charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter for the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony. She was convicted of lying to law enforcement. Since she had credit for time served, the maximum sentence the judge could give her for the conviction was 10 days, which he did.
Baez and his team spent those 10 days crafting an escape plan for Anthony, a way to get her from the jail to the airport where a private plane would be waiting to whisk her away.
"There were too many crazies who were convinced she had killed Caylee while she danced the night away, and I feared for her safety," he wrote. "In addition to avoiding an army of media, we knew we were going to also duck the surveillance of a half dozen helicopters."
The plan was to get Anthony into a car as quickly as possible before driving across the street to attorney Cheney Mason's building that had a multilevel garage. There, they planned to have one car block the garage's entrance while a small fleet of cars waited inside.
Anthony and Baez would get into another car and all of the cars would leave the garage and head in different directions, leaving followers unsure of which vehicle Anthony was in.
"As soon as we walked out that door, I heard screams, the way teenagers screamed for Justin Bieber at one of his concerts," Baez wrote, describing the moment they exited the jail. "I'm certain they were yelling 'Baby killer' and the like, but after going from total silence to the sound of insanity, neither one of us could make out a single word they were saying."
They got in the car and headed for the garage where they quickly switched vehicles, which was not as smooth as Baez had hoped.
"I opened the door, grabbed Casey's hand, pulled her out, and I was so hopped up with adrenalin, I forgot she was there and slammed the car door on her leg before she could even get out of the car," he wrote.
'"Owwwwww," she yelped," Baez wrote. "'Oh, I'm so sorry,' I said. 'I'm really sorry.'"
The vehicles took off from the garage and the plan worked, shedding all of their pursuers except for one helicopter.
Casey Anthony's Great Escape
A half-a-dozen helicopters over the airport prevented them from going there directly. They went to a lake, parked in a wooded area and waited until the helicopter trailing them gave up and left.
"We drove around, and I had no idea where we were, but Casey did," Baez wrote. "'You know about three blocks up on the left, do you know who lives there?' she asked. 'Zanny?' I blurted out. We cracked up laughing. 'Don't make me punch you,' she said."
Baez was referring to Zenaida Gonzalez, the fictional nanny Anthony claimed had taken Caylee.
With time to kill, the group went to an all-night Steak 'n Shake where Anthony had her "first meal of freedom" – a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate milkshake.
Anthony and Baez eventually made it to the airport and took off for St. George Island, an island on the Florida panhandle near Panama City. The defense team had rented a house on a secluded beach.
Since it was the middle of the night, the small airport was closed and the plane had to land based on the flashing lights of a car waiting for them below.
"Meanwhile I said to myself, 'Oh my God. After all this, I'm going to die in a f*****g plane crash with Casey Anthony. This is a blogger's dream come true,'" Baez joked.
That night, Anthony climbed up the roof where a "wound up" Baez was sitting and "took photos of her first sunrise of freedom."
When the secret location was discovered by the press, Baez had Anthony moved immediately.
"I had one of my investigators drive Casey to New York," he wrote. "While the entire national media was searching for her in Arizona and California, she was within walking distance of all of their offices."
Early in the book, Baez also discusses his belief that Anthony suffers from "serious mental health issues," which he realized after her elaborate stories led investigators on a wild-goose chase before being exposed as lies.
"She gave such vivid details from her imagination," Baez wrote. "This was a bit more than just lies."
Baez described Anthony as someone who was not "playing with a full deck." He wrote that he still wonders if calling in a mental health expert early on in the case may have affected the outcome. He did not call one to the jail because public records would show that the expert visited and Baez feared the visit would lead people to believe he was pursuing an insanity defense.
Baez also takes aim at a number of people in his book, including Anthony's mother Cindy Anthony, Nancy Grace and prosecutor Jeff Ashton.
Baez was shocked when Ashton did not attend Anthony's sentencing.
"I can think of nothing worse to do to your team, and all I have to say about that is that Jeff Ashton, you're a coward," he wrote.
Baez also had harsh words for Anthony's mother Cindy Anthony. He described his thoughts the day she called him and urgently requested that he meet her behind a church. She wanted him to deliver a message to her daughter about where to plant a rose bush for Caylee's birthday.
"Oh my God. The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree," Baez thought to himself. "That poor girl. This is whom she has for a mother."
Baez called Nancy Grace, who coined the Anthony nickname "Tot Mom," a "quack" when he described appearing on her show.
Anthony has been in hiding since she was acquitted last summer. She is on probation in Florida for a check fraud conviction, but the court ordered her location to be kept secret because of death threats she has received. Her probation ends Aug. 21, 2012.