By The Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. — The mother of a Florida woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter gave a tour of the family home, including a playhouse built for the toddler and the above-ground pool the defense team claims the girl drowned in.
Cindy Anthony testified Saturday at her daughter’s murder trial that she and Caylee went swimming on June 15, 2008 — the last day she saw her granddaughter. She said she removed a ladder used to help Caylee get into the pool — something she did every time the pool wasn’t being used.
Casey Anthony, who is charged with first-degree murder in the toddler’s summer 2008 death, wiped away tears with a tissue during her mother’s testimony. Prosecutors contend Casey Anthony suffocated the girl with duct tape. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death.
Cindy Anthony was not asked directly Saturday whether she thought the young girl drowned. The trial will resume Tuesday in Orlando.
Through most of her testimony, a photo of young Caylee remained on display on television monitors along the courtroom, where evidence is displayed for the jury, media and spectators. Anthony eventually interrupted her questioning, asking prosecutors to remove the photo.
“I can’t look at my granddaughter without getting upset,” she said.
Casey Anthony’s former boyfriend, Anthony Lazzaro, also testified Saturday about the hours after the Anthonys reported Caylee’s disappearance to authorities. He described a text message exchange in which he was trying to get Casey Anthony to reveal where the toddler was.
“If they don’t find her guess who gets blamed and spends eternity in jail?” the text message read.
Prosecutors presented their strongest witness Friday after a judge rebuffed their attempts to allow instant messages to be introduced as evidence that they say go toward Anthony’s motive.
The manager of a towing yard where the defendant’s car was kept for more than two weeks during that summer testified that he smelled an odor coming from her car consistent with decomposing bodies he’d smelled in the past. The defense argued in its opening statement that the smell was actually from a bag of trash Anthony left in her car.
Casey’s father, George Anthony, testified for the third time in four days Friday and said his mind was racing when he arrived to pick up the car and observed the smell.
“That particular smell, whenever you smell it, is something you’ll never forget,” he said. “… I don’t know if I said it out loud or whispered, but I said ‘Please God, don’t let this be Casey or Caylee.’”
The defense has argued that George Anthony found Caylee drowned in the family pool and helped dispose of the body.