Video: Casey Anthony’s mom, brother take stand

msnbc.com news services
updated 6/24/2011 7:36:29 PM ET 2011-06-24T23:36:29

Defense attorneys for a Florida mother charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter showed jurors several photos on Friday that they hope bolster their argument that the toddler accidentally drowned and wasn't murdered.

Casey Anthony's attorneys showed photos of her daughter Caylee climbing a ladder into an above-ground pool at the family's home as her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, supported her from behind.

From the witness stand, Cindy Anthony testified that Caylee was able to open a sliding glass door that led to the backyard pool.

"Even at that point, she could even climb into the pool," Cindy Anthony said when shown a photo.

Cindy Anthony said she found the removable ladder in place against the pool on June 16, 2008, the last day Caylee was ever seen by her grandparents. She said she was so concerned that she called her husband, George Anthony, at work to inquire if he had left the ladder up.

Image: An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows Cindy Anthony with her granddaughter Caylee in a swimming pool in Orlando
Red Huber  /  Pool via Reuters
An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows Cindy Anthony with her granddaughter, Caylee, in a swimming pool which was submitted as evidence in the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando, Florida.

Under cross-examination, Cindy Anthony conceded that the ladder was too heavy for Caylee to move into place by herself and that she obeyed her grandparents' instructions that she couldn't be in the pool alone.

Casey Anthony's attorneys contend that Caylee accidentally drowned in the pool and that her mother didn't kill her. Casey Anthony, 25, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge. Prosecutors have argued Casey Anthony suffocated her daughter in June 2008. She didn't report the girl missing for 31 days after the toddler was last seen in mid-June 2008.

Early in the morning, Casey Anthony wiped away tears while a video of her playing with the girl was viewed by the jury during her mother's testimony, as did her mother on the witness stand.
Later Friday, Casey Anthony's brother, Lee, testified about stains found in the trunk of his sister's car. Cindy Anthony also has testified about the stains, saying they were present when the family bought the car in 2000.

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Prosecutors claim the child's body was in the car trunk and then dumped near the Anthonys' home in Orlando in a wooded area. Caylee's remains were found nearly six months after she disappeared. Prosecutors have presented extensive evidence of human decomposition in the car trunk, including stains.

Lee Anthony started crying on the witness stand when he recalled how he didn't go to the hospital for his niece's birth. He said he was angry at his sister and mother for not directly confiding in him about Casey Anthony's pregnancy.

His testimony supported the defense's position that Casey Anthony came from a dysfunctional family. In opening arguments, defense attorney Jose Baez explained Casey Anthony's behavior of partying with friends in the days after her daughter went missing by claiming her father molested her when she was young.

Her father, George Anthony, has denied ever molesting his daughter, and the defense so far has provided no testimony supporting the molestation allegation.

After jurors left the courtroom for the day, defense attorneys told the judge they expected to wrap up their presentation in the middle of next week. Prosecutors are then expected to spend a day or two on rebuttal witnesses.

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

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