By Aubrey Singh
“As to the charge of first degree murder, verdict as to count one, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty…,” and on the list went as the court clerk reported that Casey Anthony was innocent of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child as well. She was found guilty of was four counts of providing false information to a police officer. (This now has been rescinded to just one count of lying on account of double jeopardy.) I shut the television set off after seeing the mob-like reaction outside of the courthouse, and sat in painful silence for a few minutes on that warm July day, a year and a half ago. Like so many other Americans I had followed the Casey Anthony trial religiously from start to finish. I had watched as pictures of the remains of Casey Anthony’s baby girl, Caylee, who was found murdered, were broadcasted and I had seen the destruction of an entire family unfold before my eyes from the inside of a court room in Florida. I then watched as a teary-eyed Casey embraced her smirking lawyer Jose Baez as all of the heaviest charges were dropped.
I generally have faith in our legal system, but this was almost too much to bear. Justice was not done for this little girl. It cannot be understood how the jurors could not find her guilty of at least aggravated child abuse with the evidence as overwhelming as it was. Many believe that she truly is guilty of murdering two-year-old Caylee. If that is not enough, just when the American people had started to let go of their feelings toward this horrible situation, day time television is back for more ratings. On Jan. 19, Lifetime released “Prosecuting Casey Anthony,” a movie based on the book “Imperfect Justice” by Jeff Ashton. More than 3 million people tuned in to Lifetime to watch the movie. While the number may seem miniscule compared to big time shows or movies, for day time television, it’s considerable.
Jeff Ashton was the prosecutor in the Casey Anthony trial, and because the movie is based on his novel, the movie is roughly from his point of view. I was glad to see that the directors did little to glorify Casey in the process. There have definitely been several negative or neutral reviews on the movie. According to the Business Insider “Rob Lowe’s rendition of prosecutor Jeff Ashton made the experienced jurist seem incompetent and even clueless at times,” while the LA times said “the fact the film does no better a job of convicting her than did the state of Florida speaks to its integrity, in a way.” Regardless of the direction, acting, or story the fact is, when the audience saw a set of prop bones, there is a real skeleton of a real girl whose life was cut tragically and horribly short. No one paying for this crime and I think we forget that some times. Behind all the drama and legalities there is a soul who will not experience growing up, getting married or someday having kids of her own.
I have watched Casey’s YouTube video diaries with disgust. Whether she is guilty or innocent perhaps she will only ever know. However, based on these videos, she is living the “bella vita” she always dreamed of with absolutely no sign of sadness for her deceased baby. I have been to funerals and personally know women who have lost children, and I have heard that to bury a child is the heaviest burden a parent can bear. She is far removed from the ever present unbelievable grief and heart breaking sorrow that these mothers face.
One of the closing scenes in “Prosecuting Casey Anthony” portrays Ashton sitting in front of a camera being interviewed. He looks almost directly into the camera as if to break that fourth wall for just a moment to speak directly to the viewers at home. He says, “I believe in karma, and karma has a way of balancing the scales,” and that the key for anyone struggling with this situation is “to let go.” Perhaps that is all we can do