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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where The Casey Anthony Prosecution Should Have Gone

Everyone in America knows she did it.

They're just not sure exactly what she did.

Or when she did it.

Or why she did it.

Or how she did it.

But they're sure ... she ... did ... it.


If only the prosecutors in the Casey Anthony trial had adopted the approach the court in Roanoke maintained yesterday with regard to accused murderess Morgan Lockett and her alleged victim, little Aveion Lewis:
Morgan Lockett's charge now second-degree murder
By Neil Harvey, Roanoke Times

The judge in Morgan Lockett's murder and child abuse trial dropped the first-degree murder charge late Monday and ruled the case will proceed with a second-degree murder charge.

The decision means Lockett, 24, no longer faces the possibility of life imprisonment in the death of her son, 2-year-old Aveion Lewis. The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is 40 years in prison.

Roanoke Circuit Court jurors during the trial's fifth day heard testimony from a half-dozen witnesses, including Dr. Christena Roberts, former assistant chief medical examiner, who examined Aveion's body and said the amount of weight he lost in the last months of his life "could potentially be fatal."

But after hearing arguments from defense lawyers and prosecutors, Judge Clifford Weckstein said Roberts "could not exclude other causes of death."

Because Aveion's body was missing part of the head when recovered by investigators in a Roanoke County landfill in January 2010, the cause of death was never determined.

"Were the jury to return a verdict of guilt of first-degree murder, it would be based on Dr. Roberts' testimony," Weckstein said.

The judge cited the Supreme Court of Virginia, which said: "A medical opinion based on a probability is purely speculation."

As a result, the judge said, jurors shouldn't be asked to decide the first-degree murder charge. [link]
As the case turned out to be with Casey Anthony, this Morgan Lockett was surely a very bad mother.  And then some.  She has been shown - beyond a reasonable doubt - to be cruel and abusive as well.  And she probably killed her little boy.  Either that or, at minimum, she allowed conditions to develop that led to his death.

But, as the judge in the Lockett case makes clear, there is insufficient evidence to prove a case of 1st degree murder.

2nd degree?




Gross negligence?

Without doubt.

If only those in charge of Anthony's case had been able to get beyond their prejudices, they too would have seen that they didn't have a case of 1st degree murder.  And Casey Anthony would be in prison today.  For something less headline-grabbing.

But no.  She's free as a bird.

Too bad.