ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The parents and brother of Casey Anthony returned to the witness stand Thursday to answer questions about how the family buried pets, as Anthony's attorneys began wrapping up their defense in her Florida murder trial.
Casey Anthony's parents, George and Cindy, and brother, Lee, all testified. Cindy Anthony said both her children knew how the animals were wrapped in plastic bags sealed with duct tape before they were buried.
Casey Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in her daughter Caylee's death in summer 2008. The prosecution contends that she suffocated the child with duct tape. The toddler's remains were found in the woods near her grandparents' Orlando home in December of that year.
The defense was expected to rest Thursday after calling its final witnesses, though it's still not known if Casey Anthony will take the stand to answer questions about whether she killed Caylee.
Defense attorneys also showed jurors a news reel video Thursday morning, taken at one of the search command centers for Caylee Anthony in August 2008. It showed a piece of duct tape in the background that was highlighted for effect. It was the same brand of duct tape as that found with the toddler's remains.
Asked if the duct tape shown in the video was supplied by him, George Anthony said he didn't know.
"Could have been, could have been somebody else's," he said.
A woman who said she had an affair with Anthony's father was the first witness called Thursday. George Anthony has denied having an affair with Krystal Holloway, who also was a volunteer who helped search for his granddaughter in 2008. In testimony, George Anthony said that he knew Holloway as River Cruz and that he visited her home a handful of times in 2008, but only to comfort her as she coped with a brain tumor.
Holloway read from text messages George Anthony sent her and described the media frenzy surrounding their relationship and his family.
Holloway also recounted a statement she gave to police on Feb. 17, 2010, in which she said George Anthony once confided in her that Caylee died in an accident.
"He said it was an accident that snowballed out of control. ... His eyes were filled with tears," Holloway said Thursday.
But under cross-examination by prosecutor Jeff Ashton, Holloway acknowledged that she initially told authorities that the affair didn't happen and never mentioned the revelation about his granddaughter. She also acknowledged that she was paid for an interview with The National Enquirer shortly afterward.
Ashton also had her read from another portion of her statement to police in which she said "I didn't think he could raise anybody that could harm her daughter," in regards to what George Anthony had told her.
Judge Belvin Perry read an instruction to the jury following Holloway's testimony, telling them that her statement could be weighed only as impeachment of George Anthony's previous testimony and not as to factual evidence of Casey Anthony's guilt or innocence.
On Wednesday, the defense may have been dealt a blow when Casey Anthony's father broke into tears when telling jurors about his suicide attempt some six weeks after his granddaughter's body was found. Attorneys contend that Caylee did not die at the hands of her mother but accidentally drowned in her grandparents' pool, and that George Anthony helped cover it up.
In his Jan. 22, 2009, suicide note, he said he was trying to overdose because he had unanswered questions about what happened to Caylee and never alluded to knowing what caused her death. When pressed by prosecutors about why he tried to kill himself, he started crying and said, "I needed at that time to go and be with Caylee."
When asked by Ashton if he expressed that in his note, he said, "Yes, I did. Because I believe that I had failed her," and broke into tears.
When her father was crying, Casey Anthony expressed no emotion, though earlier in the day she had been crying during other testimony.
The defense objected to prosecutors introducing the suicide note as evidence. Ashton explained that the defense had brought up the suicide attempt and that the note shows when George Anthony tried to kill himself, he "had no idea who killed Caylee Marie Anthony. It rebuts implications by the defense that he did."
If the defense does rest, it would leave only a short rebuttal case by the prosecution. Perry tentatively said closing arguments could then begin Saturday and that he would hand the case over to the jury that evening or Sunday.
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