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Monday, April 13, 2009

State to seek death penalty in Casey Anthony case

The State Attorney's Office confirmed Monday it will seek the death penalty against Casey Anthony in the death of her daughter Caylee Marie.

Amy L. Edwards and Sarah Lundy
Sentinel Staff Writers
April 13, 2009

The State Attorney's Office will seek the death penalty against Casey Anthony. This reverses an earlier decision made by prosecutors.
In a notice filed this afternoon, prosecutors stated that additional information has become available since they filed their initial waiver of intent to seek the death penalty on Dec. 5. The filing states that "sufficient aggravating circumstances exist to justify the imposition of the Death Penalty..."The remains of Casey Anthony's daughter Caylee Marie were found a week after prosecutors made that earlier filing.

A State Attorney's Office spokeswoman would not comment on their notice of intent filed today. Marti Mackenzie, spokeswoman for Anthony's defense lawyer, just told the Orlando Sentinel: "This is not a death penalty case. We will do whatever is necessary to defend Casey Anthony from the state trying to take her life. We already have death qualified defense lawyers on our team and are prepared for a vigorous defense."
Terence Lenamon, a Miami attorney who was once part of Anthony's defense team, gave prosecutors a report in November outlining why the mother should not receive the death penalty."I'm greatly disappointed in the State Attorney's Office has decided to take this route," he said Monday after hearing the news. He said this may be a sign that there is a potential weakness in the state's case. Prosecutors may want "death-qualified jurors" -- jurors who are willing to sentence someone to death. Those jurors are more opt to convict defendants, Lenamon said. "It changes the dynamics of everything," he said.
In addition, it's unclear whether Lenamon will rejoin the defense team. He said he spoke with Baez today, and Baez is reviewing a list of death-penalty-qualified attorneys. Baez will have to add such a co-counsel if he wishes to continue as lead attorney, should the case indeed becomes a death penalty case.
Meanwhile, legal experts say this latest development in the Anthony case is very unusual. Bob Jarvis, who teaches legal ethics and law and popular culture at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, said there are two reasons why prosecutors would put the death penalty back on the table.
One of those reasons -- and what he thinks is the most likely in this case -- is that prosecutors are frustrated because Anthony isn't accepting a plea. Jarvis said if Anthony is convicted, a jury will likely not sentence her to death."We don't execute women in Florida. Juries find it very difficult to send young women to death row," he said.
Maybe she can be roomies with Misty Croslin Cummings. jmo.

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