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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony to be released from jail next week

Don't miss a special two-hour event, starting at 9 p.m. Saturday on HLN. "Justice for Caylee: A Nancy Grace Special." HLN looks back at the evidence and the emotional testimony in the Casey Anthony murder trial.
Orlando (CNN) -- Casey Anthony only has to stay in jail six more days to fulfill the sentence a judge gave her Thursday on convictions for lying to authorities.
Judge Belvin Perry sentenced Anthony to four years in jail -- one year for each of her four convictions of lying to police -- but withcredit for the approximately three years already served and good behavior, her release date was set for next Wednesday, July 13, a court spokeswoman said Thursday.
Denying a defense motion to reduce the four counts to a single conviction, Perry gave Anthony the maximum jail time he could by ruling that the four years be served consecutively.
He also fined her $1,000 for each count. Court papers show she is also ordered to pay court costs and fees totalling just over $600.
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"I don't know how free she's going to be (but) she's going to be out a cage," defense attorney Cheney Mason told InSession soon after sentencing. "I doubt there's any place in this country that she could walk the streets freely."
Mason said that he fears for Anthony's safety, and that measures are being taken to protect her. She will undoubtedly get counseling going forward, he said, adding that offers to help have poured in from across the country.
"I think she wants to get away from all this and try to find some way to start a life," said Mason.
A jury acquitted Anthony Tuesday on the most serious charges against her, including murder, in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, but convicted her on the four misdemeanor counts of lying to police.
When Anthony arrived in the courtroom Thursday, she smiled often as she chatted with her attorneys.
CNN legal expert Jeffrey Toobin said Perry's decision came as a surprise. "Most people convicted of misdemeanors do not get prison time," he said.
The four lies at issue include Anthony lying about whether her daughter was missing; about 2-year-old Caylee being in the custody of a nanny; about having a job at Universal Studios and about having received a phone call from Caylee.
The defense argued Thursday that the multiple charges violate the so-called double jeopardy protections in the Constitution because they all came on the same day, and should be reduced to one conviction. The prosecution argued that Anthony lied at different times on the same date, and that there is no double jeopardy violation.
Perry agreed with the state, and noted that each of Anthony's lies triggered actions by investigators. The jury spoke "loud and clear" in its decision, he said.
In the courtroom Thursday, Cindy Anthony, Casey's mother, watched her daughter walk in and commented to her husband, "Oh my gosh, there she is, she looks so beautiful." Cindy Anthony noted to her husband George that their daughter had let down her hair, after having kept it pulled back throughout the trial. Two HLN producers seated in the courtroom in front of the Anthony parents heard the remarks.
Cindy Anthony also commented that Lee Anthony, Casey's brother, had been strong throughout the experience.
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A woman who was in the courtroom later said Cindy Anthony seemed happy and was smiling and looking at Casey, but noted that Casey did not look back at her parents.
Cindy Anthony could face perjury charges for testimony she gave, one of the prosecutors in the murder trial said Wednesday. Cindy Anthony testified that she was responsible for searches about chloroform on the family's home computer, but evidence indicated she was at work at the time.
Prosecutors alleged Casey Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious and then duct-taped her mouth and nose to suffocate her. They said that she put the child's body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it. Caylee's skeletal remains were discovered December 11, 2008, by former Orange County meter reader Roy Kronk.
Defense attorneys maintained the child drowned in the Anthony's above-ground pool on June 16, 2008, and that Casey Anthony and her father panicked upon finding her there and covered up the death. George Anthony denied those allegations in his testimony.
Outside the courtroom Thursday, a crowd of protesters holding signs lambasted the jury's decision and the fact that Casey Anthony will be freed.
But some people were there to support Anthony -- including one man wearing a sign asking her to marry him.
Florida officials, meanwhile, are asking that Anthony repay the state for the enormous cost of investigating the case.
In a motion filed Wednesday, the state called for a hearing so it can tally up costs and slap Anthony with the bill.
"The efforts and costs of the investigation were extensive and not immediately available and accordingly, the State of Florida respectfully requests this Court to set a hearing within 60 days to determine total costs," the motion says.
The motion cites a Florida law that allows the state to fine defendants in criminal cases to recoup money spent.
Texas Equusearch, a firm that helped search for Anthony's daughter, also wants its money back.
The company said it used 4,200 searchers and spent $112,000 looking for Caylee in Florida after the girl was reported missing in July 2008, CNN affiliate KTRK reported.
Tim Miller, the head of company, told the affiliate he now believes Caylee was never missing -- and he is contemplating a lawsuit.
"This is the money that really needed to go to families that need us," Miller told the television station.
Additionally, Anthony will also have to deal with a defamation lawsuit from the real Zenaida Gonzalez.
At the time of Caylee's disappearance, Anthony told family members and police that the little girl was with a nanny named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez. That is one of Anthony's lying convictions.
Later, Anthony claimed Gonzalez had kidnapped the toddler.
Authorities never found a nanny by that name who cared for Caylee. They did, however, find a woman named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, who denied ever meeting Anthony. Gonzalez then filed the defamation lawsuit.

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