Video: Anthony release pushed back to July 17

  1. Closed captioning of: Anthony release pushed back to July 17

    >>> bars this morning following thursday's sentencing hearing, but she won't be there for very long. nbc's kerry sanders is at the orange county jail. hey, kerry, good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning, david. casey anthony will be free in just nine days. she was convicted and sentenced on four counts of lying to a law enforcement officer , but she gets credit for the time that she's already served here in the jail. overnight they recalculated the numbers, it added a little bit more time but she'll still be walking free in a little more than a week. 25-year-old crazy anthony walked into court relaxed, happy. no longer an accused murderer. as she waited for the judge to arrive, casey fiddled with her hair. it was notably down, unlike most days during the trial.

    >> the defendant, casey anthony , is bore the court.

    >> reporter: judge belvin perry says the jury spoke loud and clear reminding casey they did find her guilty of lying to law enforcement four times.

    >> i will sentence you to one year in the orange county jail.

    >> reporter: one year for each of the four misdemeanor counts. but with time served , she gets out in nine days. casey showed no emotion, even as the state said her lies wasted so much time and money.

    >> cost of investigation is not intended to be punitive.

    >> reporter: prosecutors want casey , who's indigent with only $301.18 in her jail commissary account, to pay those state costs with any money she may now make from her new found notoriety. the bill is not yet calculated but it is expected to exceed $1 million. outside the courthouse, the anger at her acquittal for murder is now intensified by a sentence that effectively puts her in jail for less than a week.

    >> she let a murderer go!

    >> reporter: fears of vigilante justice are why jail officials say they surrounded her movements thursday with extreme protection.

    >> we don't want her here and she needs to go and start her bella vita somewhere else. we paid the tax money for these false searches. we're left with the bill. we're left with a hole in the heart because a child is gone.

    >> reporter: that bella vita life refers to the tattoo casey got on her back, on her shoulder, after her daughter caylee died. in italian it means "a beautiful life ." where will she go when she is released? well, it is unclear if the court will have any restrictions. if there are none, she c go anywhere in the united states she wants, maybe to puerto rico . who will fund her departures an her life? that's unclear, david.

    >> going to be a tough road ahead for her. kerry sanders , thank you very much.

NBC, and news services
updated 7/8/2011 8:34:34 AM ET 2011-07-08T12:34:34

Casey Anthony looked like she was ready for freedom. For the first time since her trial began in late May, she let her hair down, and she smiled and occasionally played with it in the courtroom.

But she'll have to spend several more days in jail, and she turned stone-faced as the judge pronounced her sentence for lying to investigators about the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Thursday's sentencing means Anthony will go free less than two weeks after she was acquitted in the slaying.

The Orange County Corrections department originally stated that Anthony would be released on July 13, but later revised the projected date to July 17.

Public furor
The extra time in jail did little to satisfy throngs of angry people convinced of her guilt who gathered outside the courthouse. But it could provide time for the public furor over her acquittal to ease somewhat and give Anthony's attorneys a chance to plan for her safety.

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Two days after the verdicts, most of the jury remained silent, with their names still kept secret by the court. One juror explained that the panel agreed to acquit Anthony because prosecutors did not show what happened to the toddler.

When she is released, the 25-year-old Anthony must decide whether to return to a community in which many onlookers long ago concluded that she's a killer, or to a home strained by her defense attorneys' accusations of sexual abuse.

Judge Belvin Perry gave her the maximum sentence of four years for four convictions of lying to authorities. He denied a defense request to combine the misdemeanor counts, which could have made her eligible for immediate release.

"As a result of those four specific, distinct lies, law enforcement expended great time and resources looking for Caylee Marie Anthony," the judge said.

Video: Proposed law inspired by Caylee’s disappearance (on this page)

With time served and credit for good behavior, she is due out a week from Sunday, her 1,007th day in jail.

Outside the courthouse, a cluster of protesters chanted "Justice for Caylee" as they waved signs that said "Arrest the Jury!!" and "Jurors 1-12 Guilty of Murder." One man had duct tape with a heart-shaped sticker over his mouth, similar to the way prosecutors contend Caylee died. Increased police presence included officers on horseback.

"At least she won't get to pop the champagne cork tonight," said Flora Reece, an Orlando real estate broker who stood outside the courthouse holding a sign that read "Arrest the Jury."

Anthony's parents were present for the hearing but left without speaking to reporters. Prosecutors and defense attorneys did not comment either.

Anger continued to spread online, with commenters vilifying Anthony on social media networks. Nearly 22,000 people "liked" the "I hate Casey Anthony" page on Facebook, which included comments wishing her the same fate that befell Caylee.

The potential for Anthony to profit off the case was infuriating to many who said they feared she could become rich by selling her story to publishers or filmmakers or signing a lucrative television contract.

'Random hostility'
Whatever future she chooses, Anthony's release next week promises to mark the start of a new, potentially difficult chapter for her.

Mary Tate, a former public defender who heads the University of Richmond's Institute for Actual Innocence, said Anthony's defense team is probably seeking help from a variety of advisers as they seek to rebuild her fractured life.

"She's going to be bombarded with a lot of financial offers. She's going to be bombarded with random hostility. She's just entering an extraordinarily exhausting two or three years," Tate said.

Video: Second child, book deal in Casey Anthony’s future? (on this page)

Dr. Phyllis Chesler, a psychologist who authored "Mothers on Trial," said Anthony will have to deal with an "absolutely primitive blood lust" that's been unleashed, even though she's been acquitted.

"The public would lynch her if they could get their hands on her," she said. "How is she going to cope with the hatred?"

At a separate hearing Thursday, Perry also expressed concern for the safety of jurors and postponed his decision on whether to release their names. The judge said he wanted to allow for a "cooling-off period" of at least a couple of days. The Associated Press and other news organizations have argued that the jurors' identities should be released.

"It's no big secret that some people disagree with their verdict, and some people would like to take something out on them," Perry said.

"I doubt you would have had this same uproar if the decision would have been different. But juries aren't supposed to make decisions based on public opinion polls," he added.

Anthony's release will come nearly three years after Caylee was reported missing. After the report was made on July 15, 2008, Anthony was interviewed by police and made the statements that led to her conviction for lying.

She lied about working at the Universal Studios theme park, about leaving her daughter with a non-existent nanny named Zanny, about telling two friends that Caylee had been kidnapped and about receiving a phone call from her.

Story: 'Nanny' lawsuit resumes against Casey Anthony

The defense claimed Caylee actually drowned in the pool at the home of Anthony's parents, George and Cindy Anthony, with whom the child and her single mother lived. Defense attorneys say Anthony was a victim of sexual abuse by her father, and that he helped her death look like a murder, both claims he denies.

Prosecutors alleged that Anthony suffocated her daughter with duct tape because motherhood interfered with her lust for a carefree life of partying with friends and spending time with her boyfriend.

Jurors have mostly declined to discuss their verdict, though one told ABC News it was an emotional decision reached because the prosecution failed to show what really happened to Caylee.

"I did not say she was innocent," said Jennifer Ford, a 32-year-old nursing student. "I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be."

Makeshift memorial
Near the Anthony home, at the swampy, mosquito-filled site where Caylee's remains were found, several people visited a makeshift memorial to the child Thursday. Two-dozen flower bouquets wilted in the Florida heat, helium balloons swayed in the breeze and hundreds of stuffed animals lay in a pile on the ground. Some mourners attached hand-written notes, many of which disparaged Anthony.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office has erected no-parking signs throughout the area so curious crowds cannot block the roadway. The neighborhood is being patrolled by deputies on four all-terrain vehicles and six patrol cars. Horses were being brought in for mounted officers.

Sheriff's spokesman Jeff Williamson said he could not comment on the number of officers in the area, and there is no estimate yet of the cost to taxpayers.

Authorities "don't know who will come here or what people will do," he said. "We're here to handle any problems and protect the community."

Video: What’s next for Anthony family? (on this page)

Ray DeBattista came with his family of five and said he thought the verdict was "mind boggling." The St. Cloud retiree said he watched his 2-year-old grandson recently and the child slipped away while he answered the door. He said he called 911 less than 30 seconds later.

"My heart was racing, and I ran around frantically looking for him," DeBattista said. "He was playing hide-and-seek under the pool table in a laundry basket. I just cannot understand how Casey went 31 days without reporting her daughter missing."

Earlier, police told NBC News that Anthony's family has received death threats.

Police were at the Anthony family's home on Wednesday, one day after the verdict, NBC reported. Authorities would not release details about the threats, but George and Cindy Anthony’s attorney, Mark Lippman, addressed them on TODAY.

"Some of them are potentially valid; most of them are from people emailing their feelings and just saying, you know, 'I hope you’re all dead,'" he said. "If it’s coming from Nebraska, I don’t consider it a major-level threat, but if it’s from somebody who’s in Orlando, obviously we have to have more concern."

NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Timeline: Verdict reached in Casey Anthony murder trial


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