Casey Anthony Trial: Did Her Mom Lie About Computer Search for Chloroform?

Judge says jury could begin deliberating on Sunday.

ByJessica Hopper
July 01, 2011, 10:29 AM

July 1, 2011 — -- The prosecution in the Casey Anthony murder trial presented evidence that questioned the truthfulness of Cindy Anthony's testimony in her daughter's first degree murder trial.

Earlier in the trial, Cindy Anthony stunned prosecutors when she said she was responsible for searches for chloroform on the family computer in March 2008, months before little Caylee Anthony disappeared.

The prosecution had argued in its opening statement that it was Casey Anthony who had searched for chloroform 84 times as well as "neck breaking" and "household weapons."

The chloroform searches are part of the prosecution's circumstantial case against Casey Anthony who is accused of murdering Caylee and could face the death penalty if convicted. The prosecution argues that Casey Anthony killed her daughter with chloroform and duct tape placed over her nose and mouth.

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The computer search allegations are also key to proving premeditation. Casey Anthony cannot be convicted of first degree murder and face the death penalty without proof of premeditation.

Testimony in the month-long trial ended today and Judge Belvin Perry scheduled summations for Sunday. The jury could begin deliberating Casey Anthony's fate as early as Sunday and are expected to work through the Fourth of July.

In today's testimony, computer use records shown to jurors indicated that Cindy Anthony was at work during the time she claimed to have searched for chloroform from home. Computer records revealed that someone using Cindy Anthony's username was logged on to her computer at the hospital where she worked for nearly nine hours on March 17, 2008 and March 21, 2008, the days computer searches for chloroform were done by someone in the Anthony family home.

Cindy Anthony's one time supervisor at the hospital where she worked as a nurse testified that she oversaw Cindy Anthony's time sheets for their accuracy and would never falsify a time sheet and it would be illegal for Cindy Anthony to have falsified them.

Cindy Anthony previously claimed that she'd searched for chloroform because she suspected her smallest dog might be getting poisoned from eating bamboo leaves in the backyard. Her search started with "chlorophyll" and spiraled to "chloroform," she said.

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Computer expert Kevin Stenger from the Orange County Sheriff's office testified today that he found no reference to chlorophyll in searches done on the Anthony family's desktop computer in March 2008. The only reference to dogs was a search for fleas, he said. References to bamboo referred to furniture and a tiki bar.

Cindy Anthony had also said that a pop up with the words "neck breaking" was on her screen when she claimed she searched for chloroform.

Stenger said that someboy searched for "neck breaking" and it did not come from a pop up.

"This is not a result of a pop up, but the result of a human being entering neck breaking into a Google search box," Stenger said.

Cindy Anthony claimed that she'd also searched for things relating to hand sanitizer after a work colleague told her that the substance was possibly dangerous to young children, she told jurors. She said her worries about hand sanitizer led her to search "alcohol," "acetone" and "inhalation."

Stenger said there was no search for sanitizer.

It's unclear if Cindy Anthony's testimony about conducting the computer searches will be impeached by Judge Belvin Perry and the jury will be instructed to disregard that testimony.

The prosecution's rebuttal was halted this morning when defense attorney Jose Baez objected to the testimony of the witnesses.

Judge Perry angrily scolded Baez and called a recess before ever bringing the jury into the room.

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Baez argued that the prosecution was presenting new opinions in their rebuttal case that have not been previously disclosed in reports submitted to the defense.

"They can't decide to ambush the defense after the defense has rested their case with new opinions," Baez told the judge.

A frustrated Judge Perry allowed Baez to take depositions of the witnesses.

"We'll be in recess subject to call...remember you all can take as much time as you want, but you got jurors back there and they have been sequestered and there are real problems and there are imaginary problems and I hope this is a real problem and not an imaginary problem," Perry said.

This is not the first time that Perry has reprimanded the attorneys. Earlier in the trial, he accused both Baez and prosecutor Jeff Ashton of engaging in "gamesmanship."

Perry has also previously threatened Baez with contempt of court.

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