updated 5/26/2011 9:26:06 PM ET 2011-05-27T01:26:06

A lengthy list of friends and ex-boyfriends on Thursday depicted a woman on trial in the killing of her 2-year-old daughter as someone living a carefree, leisurely life around the time her child is believed to have been missing, including just a day before her arrest.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in Caylee's death in the summer of 2008 and has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death.

Caylee was last seen June 16, 2008. Prosecutors said the toddler died from three pieces of duct tape being placed over her mouth and nose, while the attorney for Anthony has claimed the toddler accidentally drowned in her grandparents' pool.

Perhaps the most explosive dialogue on the third day of the trial was outside the presence of the jury when defense attorney Jose Baez and Judge Belvin Perry questioned one of Anthony's exes, Tony Lazzaro. He told them about a conversation he had with Casey in late June or early July 2008 in which he said she told him her brother attempted to sexually abuse her.

In Baez's opening statement, he told jurors that the reason Casey didn't act panicked around the time Caylee was believed to be missing was because she was so emotionally scarred after being molested as a child by her father, George Anthony, and attempted abuse by her brother, Lee.

"...It was definitely in the past...Not anything in the present," Lazzaro told the judge.

George Anthony in earlier testimony denied the abuse allegations. Her brother has yet to testify but is on the witness list for prosecutors.

Perry didn't rule immediately on whether Baez would get to question Lazzaro in front of the jury at some point on the information he offered. But Lazzaro was asked by the judge to remain available for further testimony.

Earlier in the day, former boyfriend Ricardo Morales testified that Anthony was cheery when she picked him and his friends up from the airport on July 15, 2008.

"She was the same as she always was," Morales said of Casey's demeanor the day before her initial arrest. "Happy. Smiling. Just as usual. Same Casey."

Morales dated Anthony from February to April 2008. He also testified Anthony and Caylee regularly stayed nights over his apartment during that same time period.

His testimony came a day after Lazzaro, whom Anthony began dating in May 2008, testified he only saw Casey with her daughter a handful of times and that Caylee was never with Casey when she spent nights at his apartment. He said he stopped seeing them together at all in mid-June 2008.

Morales was the third of nine witnesses to be called by prosecutors Thursday, following the conclusion of testimony by Lazzaro and a recall by the prosecution of George Anthony.

Morales said that he remained friends with Casey after their break-up and that the last time he saw her with Caylee was when they spent the night at his house the first week of June. But he said she later agreed to pick him and some friends up from their trip to Puerto Rico on July 15.

Others that testified included several friends and associates Anthony either knew from as far back as high school or met in social situations in the weeks before Caylee was reported missing.

Melissa England met Casey on a visit to Orlando to see her boyfriend the July 4th weekend in 2008. The first night they hung out she described Casey as happy and partying. The next day, she testified to hearing Casey brag about being "such a good liar" after a phone conversation. She also recalled how Casey was distraught after a getting a series of phone calls the night of July 3.

George Anthony testified that he confronted his daughter in late June 2008 about the disappearance of gas cans from a storage shed at his house.

He described how at one point he wanted to look inside the trunk of her car, which was parked inside his garage at the time. He testified she prevented him from doing so. He also said she cursed at him and eventually tossed the cans at him after retrieving them from the trunk.

"She abruptly got into her car and drove away," he said.

Prosecutors have said they believe Caylee's decaying body had been stored there, and the girl's grandparents noticed a foul odor when they picked up the car from a towing lot.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Casey Anthony defense: Tot drowned in pool

  1. Closed captioning of: Casey Anthony defense: Tot drowned in pool

    >> bombshells at casey anthonys's murder trial. kerry sanders has details. good morning to you.

    >> reporter: good morning. casey 's defense attorney said he would tell the full story when he got to court. it's a shocker. he told the jury that casey anthony never murdered her daughter but rather her 2-year-old daughter caylee anthony accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool . casey anthony , at times in tears, listened as her lead defense attorney jose baez spelled out what he says really happened to 2-year-old caylee.

    >> you're going to find that this is not a murder case. this is not a manslaughter case. this is not a case of aggravated child abuse . this is none of those things. caylee anthony died on june 16 , 2008 when she drowned in the family swimming pool . he said why would casey have waited a month to tell anyone her daughter was dead. baez said there was a deep family secret .

    >> it began when casey was 8 years old and her father came into her room and began to touch her inappropriately.

    >> reporter: the defense claimed the alleged relationship warped casey 's judgment, submissive to her father and his fury when he said he found caylee in the pool.

    >> shortly afterward he yelled at her, look at what you have done. your mother will never forgive you and you will go to jail for your life.

    >> reporter: caylee's remains somehow wound up in the woods. prosecutors detailed a different story.

    >> casey anthony is guilty of the crime of murder in the first degree.

    >> reporter: a party girl who would rather be at a hot body contest that at home raising a daughter. in a gut-wrenching moment, prosecutors showed the last photo ever snapped of caylee alive, side by side with a picture of her skull found in the woods. how was caylee murdered? prosecutors say with duct tape .

    >> three pieces of overlapping duct tape covered the nose and mouth of caylee anthony indicating that caylee's killer never intended that it be removed.

    >> reporter: late in the day the state called its first witness -- george anthony , casey 's father.

    >> have you ever sexually molested your daughter casey anthony ? no, sir.

    >> reporter: he denied he was there when defense attorneys say caylee drowned in the pool.

    >> i would have done everything humanly possible to save my granddaughter if what was stated prior would have happened.

    >> reporter: in the story presented here by the defense there are some unanswered questions like did cindy anthony , casey 's mother, know about this alleged drowning? later this morning the prosecution continues to lay out its case, one they say will indeed prove she's guilty of first-degree murder. matt?

    >> thank you very much. linda boddin worked on casey anthony 's team for years. savannah guthrie is our lead correspondent. linda, you did work on the case for about 22 months. the defense is saying it wasn't murder at all. this was an accident that caylee drowned in the family's swimming pool . did this defense surprise you at all?

    >> it didn't surprise me at all. i have been in the case. you know, matt, as early as 2008 , october, before the body was found people were saying she could have drowned in the pool because of the ladder. no one investigated, took anything from the bones to see if she could have drowned.

    >> the defense says george , casey 's father found caylee but they didn't say what happened in the six months between when the little girl allegedly drowned in the swimmingi pool and her body was found in the woods. aren't they going to have to explain that?

    >> i think the prosecution has to explain it. they didn't tell us what happened in the five hours before george said he left. i don't think that's a defense burden. it's a prosecution burden.

    >> if you believe the defense side you have to believe george anthony knew about the little girl drowning in the swimming pool , lied to cover it up even while people were searching for his granddaughter. you have to believe this other bombshell that he sexually abused casey anthony , warping her sense of right and wrong.

    >> you're right. but usually when the defense opens they say nothing. he's gone beyond his burden and put a defense out there.

    >> the prosecution called george anthony as their first witness, indicating they knew it was coming. they wanted to nip it in the bud. did they succeed?

    >> in one sense what they have done is removed doubt for jurors compelled by what jose baez said in opening statements , they have an answer from george anthony . they are not going to listen to the entire case and wonder, i wonder if he really did molest her? i agree that baez is out on a limb here. this raise it is question of whether the defense intends to call casey anthony to the stand. you have george anthony denying abuse. if they want the evidence in the trial casey anthony is the one person who can tell the story.

    >> let me stick with you on this. the opening statement on the part of the prosecution was dramatic. they talked about what casey anthony was doing during 31 dayses before she admitted to anyone that caylee anthony was missing, talked about partying and drinking and they jux potaposed pictures of caylee anthony alive and the skull. how do you knock that image out of your mind?

    >> you can see why they had explosive allegations in the courtroom. it may explain casey 's behavior but as a practical matter it creates sympathy. if jurors believe casey anthony lived in a house of horrors it will create sympathy.

    >> how powerful was the opening statement ?

    >> very powerful. they have to put george on the stand and say he's the one who put the body there.

    >> appreciate it. let's get a check of the weather from mr. roker.


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