Casey Anthony released from prison - HISTORY
Year
2011

Casey Anthony released from prison

On this day in 2011, Casey Anthony is released from jail in Orlando, Florida, 12 days after being acquitted on charges that she killed her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. The Casey Anthony trial riveted Americans, many of whom were stunned when a jury found the 25-year-old not guilty in her young daughter’s death.

Caylee Marie Anthony was last seen alive with her mother on June 16, 2008, leaving the Orlando home they shared with Casey Anthony’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony. Casey Anthony waited 31 days to report her daughter missing, and when questioned by police in mid-July, she told them a nanny had kidnapped her daughter, along with a series of other statements which later proved to be untrue. On October 14, 2008, Anthony was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and lying to police. On December 11 of that year, Caylee Anthony’s skeletal remains were found in a wooded area less than a mile from George and Cindy Anthony’s house.

When the case went to trial in May 2011, the prosecution charged that Casey Anthony killed Caylee by giving her chloroform, covering her mouth with duct tape and later disposing of her body in the woods. Prosecutors argued that Anthony was motivated to commit murder so she could live a carefree, party-girl lifestyle, and they showed the jury photographs of her carousing with friends during the time her child was missing. The defense argued Caylee Anthony had accidentally drowned in her grandparent’s swimming pool, and her death had then been made to look like a homicide by a panicked Casey and her father George. Acknowledging that Casey Anthony had provided false information to the police, her lead attorney, Jose Baez, claimed she had been sexually abused by her father and trained to lie all her life. George Anthony took the witness stand and denied the allegations against him; Casey Anthony never testified during her trial.

Because Caylee Anthony’s body was badly decomposed by the time it was discovered, experts were unable to determine the exact cause and time of her death. Additionally, there were no witnesses or direct physical evidence to link Casey Anthony to the crime. On July 5, 2011, after deliberating for less than 11 hours, a jury found Anthony not guilty on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. They did convict her on four lesser counts of providing false information to law enforcement officials. The case had been heavily discussed on cable television and Twitter, with Casey Anthony generally being portrayed unfavorably by commentators, and many Americans reacted with shock and outrage to the verdict.

On July 7, Belvin Perry Jr., chief of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Orlando, gave Anthony the maximum sentence—a four-year jail term—for lying to police and sending them on a “wild goose chase.” However, with credit for time served and good behavior, Anthony, behind bars since 2008, was released on July 17 as a crowd of protestors waited outside.

In the aftermath of the case, lawmakers in several states began drafting laws in memory of Caylee Anthony which would make it a felony for a parent or legal guardian not to promptly report a missing child.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Flight 800 explodes over Long Island

Shortly after takeoff from New York’s Kennedy International Airport, a TWA Boeing 747 jetliner bound for Paris explodes over the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 230 people aboard. Flight 800 had just received clearance to initiate a climb to cruise altitude when it exploded without ...read more

Superpowers meet in space

As part of a mission aimed at developing space rescue capability, the U.S. spacecraft Apollo 18 and the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 19 rendezvous and dock in space. As the hatch was opened between the two vessels, commanders Thomas P. Safford and Aleksei Leonov shook hands and ...read more

Disneyland opens

Disneyland, Walt Disney’s metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism, opens on July 17, 1955. The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million ...read more

Wheeler visits South Vietnam

Gen. Earle Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducts four days of conferences and inspections with U.S. commanders in South Vietnam. This was an effort to assess the progress of the South Vietnamese armed forces and to discuss future strategy. Upon his return to ...read more

Joe DiMaggio ends 56-game hitting streak

On this day in 1941, New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio fails to get a hit against the Cleveland Indians, which brings his historic 56-game hitting streak to an end. The record run had captivated the country for two months.Joseph Paul DiMaggio was born November 25, ...read more

Truman records impressions of Stalin

On this day in 1945, President Harry S. Truman records his first impressions of Stalin in his diary.Truman described his initial meeting with the intimidating Soviet leader as cordial. “Promptly a few minutes before twelve” the president wrote, “I looked up from the desk and ...read more

“Wild Bill” Hickok kills a soldier

A drunken brawl turns deadly when “Wild Bill” Hickok shoots two soldiers in self-defense, mortally wounding one of them.William Hickok had earned his reputation as a gunslinger a decade earlier after shooting three men in a gunfight in Nebraska. He parlayed his standing as a ...read more

John Jacob Astor is born

Destined to make a fortune from the furs of the American West, John Jacob Astor is born in modest circumstances in the small German village of Waldorf.Although the number of foreign immigrants to the U.S. who succeeded in striking it rich is often exaggerated in the popular mind, ...read more

Erle Stanley Gardner is born

Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of crime-solving attorney Perry Mason, is born on this day in Madlen, Massachusetts.Gardner attended college in Indiana but dropped out and moved to Southern California. He worked as a typist in a law firm for three years, then became an attorney ...read more

High Society, Grace Kelly’s last film, opens

On this day in 1956, the movie-musical High Society, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra, opens in theaters around the United States. The film’s tag line–”They’re all together for the first time”–referenced High Society’s all-star cast. High Society marked the ...read more

Port Chicago disaster

An ammunition ship explodes while being loaded in Port Chicago, California, killing 332 people on this day in 1944. The United States’ World War II military campaign in the Pacific was in full swing at the time. Poor procedures and lack of training led to the disaster. Port ...read more

Potsdam Conference begins

The final “Big Three” meeting between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain takes place towards the end of World War II. The decisions reached at the conference ostensibly settled many of the pressing issues between the three wartime allies, but the meeting was ...read more