Friday, July 15, 2011

Casey Anthony's release draws near

Law enforcement officials are investigating threats to Casey Anthony's safety.
 When sheriff's deputies arrested Casey Anthony in 2008 over the death of her 2-year-old daughter, few would have anticipated it would end like this: just days after her trial, jailers arranging a 
clandestine release launching the Orlando woman back into a world where her story could make her rich or put her life in danger.
But that's precisely the scenario that will play out sometime Sunday when Anthony completes serving her time on four misdemeanor counts of misleading police.
Anthony, 25, was acquitted July 5 of murder and child neglect charges in the death of her daughter, Caylee, whose skeletal remains were found in 2008 in a wooded field. She was convicted on four counts of misleading police and was sentenced to four years in prison.
After serving nearly three years in prison while awaiting trial, she was ordered released this weekend.
The abrupt end to a criminal case that at times transfixed the nation resulted in anger and revulsion as well as donations of cash to her jailhouse account. It's also led to speculation that the polarizing subject of the "I Hate Casey Anthony" Facebook page -- and the source of ire for its more than 40,000 fans -- might change her name and appearance and move someplace far away.
"If her attorneys are doing the right thing and are doing their jobs, they're going to have to explain to her that there is real hatred out there for her, that there have been death threats, that she cannot just walk amongst the population," HLN legal contributor Sunny Hostin said. "That is not just going to happen."
Whatever she ends up doing, first she has to get out of jail.
Few details have been publicly released about how Anthony will be let out of the Orange County Jail, where she has been held since her arrest in October 2008.
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Court officials have released limited information to reporters, mostly plans to bring three journalists inside a secure area of the jail sometime late Friday or early Saturday and cut them off from outside access while they wait for Anthony's release.
When exactly Anthony will be freed hasn't been made public.
That's in part likely due to the intense emotions Anthony's release has generated.
"I know it's bad God Forgive me but i hope someone wipes that smirk off her face. With a mack truck," one poster on the "I Hate Casey Anthony" Facebook page wrote.
Another poster, referencing rumored lucrative interview, book and movie deals, said the only thing she'd pay to see or read would be about "Casey Anthony's dead body."
The page features Anthony's mug shot with a bullseye target on her forehead under the headline "Hey, Casey, I'd watch out if I were you, just sayin'."
An Oklahoma woman said she has already faced the kind of ire Anthony may face when she's no longer behind the protective walls of the Orange County Jail.
Sammy Blackwell told CNN affiliate KOTV that a woman who mistook her for Anthony on July 8 rammed her car twice, flipping it over.
"She said that I was trying to hurt babies, I was killing babies and she was going to stop it before it happened again," Blackwell told the station.
As it happens, Blackwell has a daughter named Caylee too, but that's the end of the similarities. She says she really doesn't even look that much like Anthony and worries for women who do.
Sheriff Jerry Demings said Tuesday that investigators are assessing threats to Anthony's safety. While he said that the department was not aware of any credible threats to her life, it's a concern that was clearly on his mind.
"Nobody has a right to take the law in their own hands," he said. "Casey Anthony had her day in court and the jury made a decision. I would hope people would step back and would not go out and commit another crime."
It's also a concern for her attorneys.
"Myself and other members of the team are concerned for her safety, very much so," one of her attorneys, Dorothy Sims, told HLN.
What Anthony will do after her release is unclear.
"Well if I knew at this point I'm sure you can appreciate that I wouldn't' tell you," Sims said. "I don't believe that that has been resolved. My hope for her would be that she would be left alone and her privacy would be respected."
Hostin said on CNN that she's heard reports that Anthony will go into hiding, live under an assumed name or get plastic surgery.
"But I think we are going to hear her story because people have offered her a million dollars already for her story," she said.
Anthony also still has legal issues to deal with.
Her criminal team is appealing her convictions for misleading police, and she is being sued in two separate actions in civil court. One is filed by a woman with the same name Anthony gave to investigators as the name of her daughter's nanny. The other involves a search group that wants Anthony to repay expenses they incurred looking for Caylee.
Anthony may be offered money for book and movie deals, but one offer won't be on the table.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner told CNN's Piers Morgan that the magazine won't be offering Anthony a pictorial.
"I wouldn't reward someone like that for what has happened," Hefner said.
Attorney J. Cheney Mason, who once said he thought of Anthony as a granddaughter, said he doesn't know what life holds in store for his client, but has hopes.
"She is only 25 year old. A decade from now, hopefully, she'll have some stability in her life and maybe a husband, and they can be somewhere in Montana and start over," he said.

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