June 30, 2011 -- Casey Anthony stood today and told the judge and jury in her first degree murder trial that she will not testify in her own defense against charges that she murdered her daughter, Caylee.
Judge Belvin Perry asked the Florida woman, "Have you had ample time to discuss this with your attorneys, that is the pros and cons of testifying or not testifying?…Has anybody used any force or pressure in making you arrive at that decision and the decision is your decision freely and voluntarily?"
To those questions, Anthony stood up and simply replied, "Yes sir."
After Anthony's statement, defense attorney Jose Baez rested the defense team's case.
Casey Anthony, 25, is accused of murdering 2-year-old Caylee and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The prosecution expects to start calling rebuttal witnesses this afternoon. Then there will be closing arguments by both the prosecution and defense. Judge Perry will likely charge and instruct the jury over the weekend. The jury could begin deliberating Saturday or Sunday and could work through the holiday weekend.
The defense ended their testimony this morning with the parents and brother of Casey Anthony. They asked each family about how they buried their pets and each family member gave conflicting answers. Some of the families pets were buried in towels wrapped in clear tape, others in blankets and others in plastic bags.
It appeared the defense was attempting to draw a comparison to how Caylee's remains were found in December of 2008 and how the Anthony family buried their pets.
The quiet rest to the case didn't match the shocking opening statements made by the defense when Baez argued that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool on June 16, 2008 and that George Anthony, Casey Anthony's father, helped hide the body. They said that Casey Anthony hid her daughter's death in the same way she hid sexual abuse at the hands of her brother and father.
George Anthony has adamantly denied those claims. Throughout the defense's case, they attempted to undermine George Anthony's integrity. Their first witness today was a woman who claimed to have had an affair with him during the search for the missing toddler. She testified that while people were still searching for Caylee, Casey's father indicated to her that his granddaughter might be dead from "an accident that snowballed out of control."
The woman, Krystal Holloway, took the stand and said that she began an intimate relationship with George Anthony in the summer of 2008 that continued until August 2009. George Anthony has denied these claims.
Holloway, who also goes by River Cruz, was a volunteer helping in the search for Caylee. Caylee disappearance was reported on July 15, 2008, 31 days after she was last seen alive. Her remains were found on Dec. 11, 2008.
Holloway said that in November 2008, a month before Caylee's remains were found, George Anthony confided to her that he thought an accident might have occurred and that Casey Anthony lied to try to cover up what really happened to Caylee.
"He had said it was an accident that snowballed out of control. I was in shock and by the time I looked up his eyes were filled up with tears. I didn't elaborate. I didn't ask him anything further," Holloway said.
Upon cross examination, Holloway also added, "He just said that I really believe that it was an accident and it went wrong and she tried to cover it up."
Holloway admitted on the stand that in her original sworn statement to law enforcement she said that she did not have an affair with George Anthony. She said that she lied because she didn't want George Anthony to get into trouble and the media to come after her.
The defense is hoping that Holloway will bolster their theory that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool in the summer of 2008 and that George Anthony knew about the accident and helped dispose of the body.
Earlier this week, George Anthony denied an affair with Holloway. He laughed off the accusation. He admitted to texting her, writing her a letter and visiting her home. He said that Cindy Anthony, his wife, was aware of his visits to Holloway's home.
"I did go there just to console her because she had confided in me that she had a brain tumor and that she was having medical issues," he said. "I never had a romantic affair with Krystal Holloway or River Cruz."
One of the text messages sent to Hollloway said, 'I need you in my life." George Anthony said he sent several text messages to Caylee search volunteers saying similar things.
George and Cindy Anthony displayed little emotion during Holloway's testimony.