“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth is a thankless child,” said King Lear. Of course, King Lear was a narcissistic, senile monarch who had just abdicated the throne without any consideration for his country’s future. The old fool thought he was entitled to a long vacation after all he had done for his kingdom.
In fact, the truth is that there’s nothing to match an unloving parent for cruelty.
When George Anthony took the witness stand yesterday right after the shocking defense opening statement, I honestly thought he would break down and cry, either because of his daughter’s betrayal of him or because he was guilty of much of what she accused him of. Foolish me, I even thought that if he was innocent he would take the blame in order to save his only daughter from being strapped to a gurney and lethally injected behind a bullet-proof glass window while he and his wife watched.
A decent man would do what ever it took to save his daughter from the death chamber, even if he thought she was guilty of neglecting her child, letting the child die, and then making up an elaborate lie to cover up the crime. If he knew for a fact that she intentionally suffocated her child and then discarded the body, he might want to see justice done, but surely life in prison would satisfy such a father.
But George Anthony didn’t do anything to save his daughter. He took the stand as the prosecution’s first witness. He said a number of completely incredible things, and then he got off the stand and let the bailiffs return his daughter to prison.
How did George Anthony condemn himself, let me count the ways:
- He said he couldn’t tell his daughter was pregnant in her 7th month, despite her bulging belly, because throughout her life from time to time she had “retained water” and gained weight because of exercise or lack thereof, including in “her butt.” (An odd term to use when you’ve just been accused of sexual abuse.)
- He said he traveled to attend a brother-in-law’s wedding, then did not go to the wedding (for unstated reasons). After the wedding, the brother-in-law confronted him with Casey’s pregnancy and they argued—because George could not believe she was pregnant.
- He said he was “thrilled” to learn that Casey was pregnant, but he didn’t ask her who the father was at first. I wonder if that was because he was afraid she would say he was.
- He said he went with Casey for a sonogram and learned the child was female; he would have been “thrilled” if it had been male, but he was thrilled it was female, anyway.
- He said he was in the delivery room when Casey gave birth, and “of course it was embarrassing” but it was “thrilling,” too. Embarrassing? Why was he there? Could it be that he wanted to make sure Casey kept her mouth shut?
- He said he spent time with Caylee every day of her life—except for that period of several months when she was a tiny infant and he moved out and left his wife and daughter and granddaughter.
- At one point he claimed he had a right to keep certain facts about his marriage private—this, after he has just been accused of being unfaithful to his wife and to have abused his daughter in the privacy of his home.
- He said he insisted that Casey should work in order to provide for Caylee’s “basic necessities,” but unfortunately he didn’t notice that she never had any money.
- He said he thought for two years that Casey was employed at two or three places, but about six months before Caylee’s “disappearance” he went to one of the places of employment to see whether or not Casey really worked there—and if she did to “surprise” her with a lunch.
- He said on the day he last saw her, Caylee told him she was going to see the nonexistent “Zannie” the nanny. Odd that a child would have an imaginary nanny, isn’t it? Most kids just have imaginary playmates.
- He said he could remember what Caylee was wearing the last time he saw her, but he didn’t wonder where she went to for about a month—even though, he said, Casey and Caylee lived in his house.
- Forget about the duct tape, which he did or didn’t have, and the stolen gas cans, which he reported missing although apparently they often went missing because Casey never had gas money, and the the fact of a car being towed, which was either his or Casey’s (he said both), and had something smelly in the trunk when he recovered it from the tow yard and why he didn’t go looking for Casey and Caylee at that time.
When Jose Baez opened with the assertion that “Caylee Anthony drowned in the backyard pool on June 16,” I thought it was a brilliant tactic. By the time George Anthony got down from the stand, I thought—with horror—that it was true.
I wondered what Judge Perry would do. Surely, I thought, the State of Florida is going to end this tragic farce, save the taxpayers’ money, and spare the jury from two months of horror. But, I guess a judge has to sit there and let the prosecution torture everybody, because the circus continues today.
The camera in the courtroom showed the looks on the faces of the lawyers, Casey Anthony, and spectators throughout the opening statement and George’s “testimony.” I can imagine what the jurors looked like. I imagine some of them looked like death-penalty specialist Cheney Mason looked–shocked, as if he had no idea what Jose Baez was going to say. His face was red behind his white beard and his eyes were very sad. The prosecutors looked sarcastic and angry—which was not to their credit. Most of the spectators looked troubled. I saw Geraldo Rivera’s face as George Anthony testified; he looked very conflicted, as well he should since he has condemned Casey Anthony in public.
If I were a juror, I wouldn’t yet believe the defense story. But I would definitely analyze the prosecution’s evidence very carefully. Baez presented a good deal of information that has previously been disputed (although the jurors claimed they had heard none of it in the news). He threw dates around without any anchors. He tried to question George Anthony about facts not yet in evidence.
But I wouldn’t believe a word that George Anthony said. I wouldn’t understand how a father could get on a witness stand in his daughter’s murder trial and not try to save her life. A man would have to know for a fact that his daughter was intentionally cruel to his granddaughter to want her to die by lethal injection. And, if he knew for a fact that his daughter was being cruel to his only granddaughter, wouldn’t he have saved the child long before she “disappeared”?
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