George Anthony weeps on stand, explains suicide attempt was to “be with Caylee”

By Nikki Namdar

Special to Valencia Voice

Emotional testimonies dominated Wednesday’s proceedings  in the murder trial for Casey Marie Anthony, as her father took the witness stand. George Anthony testified that he tried to kill himself on Jan. 22, 2009 to “be with Caylee,” his deceased granddaughter.

Caylee Marie Anthony’s remains were found in woods near the Anthony family’s home on Dec. 11, 2008.

The defense argues the toddler drowned in the family’s upper ground swimming pool and was found by her grandfather who instructed Roy Kronk to place the dead body in the wooded area near the home. The guilt, the defense said, is what led him to try to take his own life.

“I decided that was the time for me to get away from all this and spend time with Caylee,” Anthony said under cross-examination.

He explained how he felt when the news broke that the body parts were identified as Caylee’s, saying he felt “a deep hurt inside” which led to an “emotional breakdown.”  It was during this part of his testimony that George Anthony broke down and wept openly on the stand.
Chief Judge Belvin Perry asked Anthony if he needed a break.  “I need to get through this,” Anthony said, but a recess was called. The witness stepped down from the seat and wrapped his arms tightly around his wife, Cindy.

George Anthony relocated to a hotel in Dayona Beach, Fla. in January of 2009. The night of his suicide attempt, he took several different kinds of medications and drank a case of beer, leaving behind a suicide note to his wife, Cindy, and calling many people to indirectly give his last goodbye.

While the jury was excused, the defense and prosecution battled it out over whether or not the suicide note should be submitted into evidence. The note entailed a litany of questions asking, “Why is she gone?” and “Who put the body there?”

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton said, “This man had no idea who killed Caylee Marie Anthony,” a reversion from the defense’s theory that the girl’s grandfather was the one who found her dead in the pool. The letter was not submitted.

George Anthony says that he “still has those feelings every once in a while,” saying, “If it wasn’t for law enforcement, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Prior to testimonies beginning, legal matters were discussed outside of the presence of the jury. Death penalty expert for the defense team, Attorney Ann Finnell disputed, via telephone, the motion she filed for a mistrial was valid for the case, as the defendant sat alone at her table waiting on her counsels.

Finnell stated Anthony’s death penalty stance should be reconsidered being that Florida ruled it as unconstitutional, which Finnell fights it the remedy for a mistrial. On the contrary, Ashton refuted it was necessary.

“The court will reserve ruling on the motion for mistrial at a subsequent date,” Perry replied to both sides.

The defense stated they will rest their case on Thursday. Perry expects deliberation to begin Sunday and the conlusion of the trial on Monday.