ORLANDO, Fla. May 25, 2011 — -- Casey Anthony looked wistfully at her one time boyfriend Tony Lazzaro as he described in an Orlando court today how their burgeoning relationship began on Facebook just weeks before her daughter Caylee disappeared.
Lazzaro was the last of eight witnesses to testify in the second day of Anthony's first degree murder trial. Ex-roommates and a group of women who worked at a nightclub that Anthony frequented also testified. Prosecutors entered into evidence several photos of Anthony at the nightclub, creating a veritable scrapbook of Anthony's clubbing during the month that her daughter was missing.
Anthony, 25, faces a battery of charges related to the disappearance and death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. She faces first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravated child abuse and providing false information to law enforcement. She is facing the death penalty if convicted of the most serious charge.
Lazzaro, a college student and party promoter in 2008 when Caylee disappeared, said Anthony was a "pretty girl" and said that the two "hit it off." He said he would sometimes play hooky from school and hang out with Anthony in the early days of their romance.
"[We] stayed in my bedroom," Lazzaro said.
Photos of the couple submitted into evidence show a beaming Anthony sitting on his lap at a nightclub days after Caylee disappeared, although authorities had not been alerted that the girl was missing.
Lazzaro said Anthony never said Caylee was missing and her disposition never changed.
Lazzaro testified that on one of their first meetings, Caylee and Casey Anthony went to the pool at his apartment building. He said that Anthony disciplined Caylee like "any mother would do" when she got too close to the pool.
Witnesses Testify Casey Anthony Was a Party Girl
The testimony came a day after the bombshell claim by Anthony's lawyer who abandoned the story that Caylee had been kidnapped by a babysitter and said Caylee drowned on June 16, 2008 in the family pool. The lawyer said that Anthony hid that fact in a bizarre emotional quirk that was the result of alleged sexual abuse by her father.
Lazzaro was about to say that the two became close enough that she shared secrets about her family, but when defense lawyer Jose Baez started to ask whether those secret involved Anthony's father, Judge Belvin Perry cut off questioning on that point. Anthony's defense team claims that she was sexually abused by her father, George Anthony, and brother, Lee Anthony. Lazzaro has previously stated in a deposition that Anthony spoke of being physically abused by her father.
Casey Anthony moved in with her boyfriend and his roommates in the month that her daughter Caylee vanished, partying with them, even competing in a hot body contest, while telling them Caylee was at Disney World and a beach with her babysitter, witnesses testified.
"She seemed like a fun party girl, someone that would probably get along well with our group of friends," said roommate Roy "Clint" House of his first meeting with Casey Anthony.
The prosecution questioned the roommates along with women who worked as "shot girls" at a bar frequented by Anthony. The testimony appeared intended to depict Anthony as a woman who exhibited no remorse over Caylee's death or disappearance, and instead reveled in no longer having to care for Caylee.
The prosecution does not have a cause of death for Caylee and its case will consist largely of circumstantial evidence that includes Anthony's behavior during the days after Caylee died and forensic evidence of human decomposition in Anthony's car.
Casey Anthony would frequently cook for the three men and do laundry, the men testified. She'd party with them at night, helping to promote the club two of them worked with called Fusion.
"She would come home sometimes and be drunk," said Cameron Campana, one of the roommates.
They said that Anthony competed in the hot body contest at Fusion four days after Caylee died or disappeared. Prosecutors also admitted as evidence photos of Anthony at the club with the roommates and women who worked handing out shots at the club. The women described Anthony as nice and said that she acted as a manager of the "shot girls."
"She always made sure that we were OK, that we were taken care of and that we weren't in harm's way at all," said Jamie Realander.
Erica Gonzalez testified that Anthony compared how protective she was with them with how she mothered her daugther, Caylee.
"She was normal…she was like us…she had a great time. She was always happy. She always treated everyone with kindness," said Erica Gonzalez.
The three former roommates said that they never heard Casey Anthony talk to 2-year-old Caylee on the phone or to Caylee's alleged babysitter once she moved into the roommates' building called Sutton Place Apartments.
The roommates said that Anthony never appeared anxious and said that Caylee was with a nanny. When Casey Anthony got a phone call, she'd take it outside of the apartment.
"When she started staying with us regularly, we stopped seeing Caylee," House testified.
Remnants of the toddler's things, a Pink Panther DVD and book, littered the apartment, Campana testified.
Another roommate, Nathan Leziewicz said that Anthony claimed to work as an event coordinator for Universal Studios, but the roommates never saw Anthony get ready for work and tickets to a "Batman" movie premiere that Anthony promised never materialized.
Casey Anthony's elaborate stories about working at Universal Studios and having a nanny were determined to be false, according to the prosecution.
A neighbor of the Anthony family said that Casey Anthony borrowed a shovel from him two days after Caylee was last seen alive.
"She said she wanted to borrow a shovel to dig up a bamboo root," said Brian Burner.
Burner also said he noticed that Anthony backed her car into the garage on June 16, 2008, the day the defense claims Anthony drowned.
Casey Anthony's Father Denies Sex Abuse Allegations
In Tuesday's stunning opening statements, Casey Anthony's defense attorney Jose Baez tackled the most difficult question during his opening statement: How Casey Anthony could go for a month without reporting her daughter missing.
"How in the world can a mother wait 30 days before ever reporting her child missing? That's insane, that's bizarre... The answer is actually relatively simple. She never was missing," Baez said. "Caylee Anthony died on June 16, 2008 when she drowned in her family's swimming pool."
Baez also claimed that Casey Anthony's father, George Anthony, found the body in the backyard pool and indicated that he helped dispose of the body. The defense lawyer even suggested George Anthony planted evidence to implicate his daughter and deflect suspicion from himself.
"What makes this case unique is the family that it happened to. You will hear stories about a family that is incredibly dysfunctional, you will hear about ugly things, secret things, things that people don't speak about," Baez said.
The claim in her lawyer's opening statement was the most remarkable moment in a day of startling accusations and revelations that included charges of incest, claims that the man who found the girl's body put it there, and that Casey Anthony faked having a job and a nanny for two years while living with her parents.
George Anthony, the first witness called in the trial, denied the defense team's allegations that he ever abused his daughter, Casey Anthony. He said that Tuesday's opening statements were the first time he ever heard about Caylee's alleged drowning.
"When I heard that today, it hurt really bad. If I would have known something happened to Caylee, I wouldn't be hear today," George Anthony testified. "I would have done everything humanly possible to save my granddaughter if what was stated prior really happened."
Casey Anthony wept as defense attorney Baez described her and her family. Anthony's defense team alleges that she was sexually abused by her father and brother and hid her daughter's death like she hid the secret of her alleged sexual abuse.
"On June 16, 2008, after Caylee died, Casey did what she's been doing all her life, hiding her pain, going into that dark corner and pretending that she does not live in the situation that she's living in... 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," Baez said.
George Anthony denied those abuse claims.