Casey Anthony: It’s the Lies That’ll Get Her

(One of the photos made famous in wall-to-wall coverage of a trial that’s gripped the nation, here’s Casey Anthony in happier times. Photo by

Lies…lies…and more lies. That’s the ongoing theme in a trial that currently rivets the nation. Ironically, the courtroom drama is unfolding in that playground for children, everywhere–Orlando, Florida (Disneyworld), and it centers on the death of a little 2-year-old girl named Caylee Marie Anthony.

But the lens of justice isn’t focusing on a stranger as murderer; Instead, it’s squarely fixed on the child’s mother, Casey Marie Anthony.

The state accuses the 25-year-old mother of putting duct tape over the child’ mouth and nose, in effect, suffocating her, as she lay in the trunk of her mother‘s car. Oh, she’d probably chloroformed her first, to quiet her, allowing the single mother to get on with her partying lifestyle.

No one knows if or how many times she’d done that before. It’s pretty much all speculation.

The state suggests the child had become a serious impediment, disallowing the young mother’s freedom, and that’s when she developed a plan, conceived over months of internet sleuthing, looking up “making chloroform” along with “neck-breaking.”

That’s why the state’s charge is “Murder in the First Degree” (with aggravating circumstances). They state unequivocally: Caylee Marie Anthony’s death wasn’t an accident due to negligence. It was cold-blooded murder… an especially horrific death, at that.

If convicted, the young mother could face the death penalty.

But, at the end of the day, it’s Casey Anthony’s lying that may prove her undoing. In some small measure, it’s eerily reminiscent of the Jeffrey Scott Hornoff case that occurred some years ago, in Rhode Island.

Jeffrey “Scott” Hornoff, a 27-year-old police officer, became involved with 29-year-old Victoria “Vicki” Cushman. She was a clerk at sporting goods store where Hornoff bought his diving gear. After a few trysts, the married man who’d become father to a new baby, tried to end the affair, but Vicki Cushman wanted none of that. In fact, she wrote him a letter in which she said she wanted him to leave his wife for her.

But she never got to send it.

Police found that letter when they found her bludgeoned body. Shortly after, they began questioning Scott, and it was then he made his fatal mistake. To prevent his wife from learning about his affair, he lied about being with Vicki, and that lie determined his fate going forward.

For, despite having no forensic evidence, no witness, and no direct connection to the crime scene, a jury ultimately convicted him of murder and sentenced him to serve a life sentence (Rhode Island doesn’t have the death penalty).

But 6 years and 9 months into a sentence that was especially difficult for a former cop, the real murderer confessed. That’s right, carpenter Tom Barry walked into the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office and confessed to killing Ms. Cushman. He said he’d done it in a moment of fury when she told him she wanted to end their relationship.

He’d never been questioned by police, in the days following the crime, despite the fact his name was on Vicki Cushman’s Rolodex in her apartment. The State Police simply believed they had their man, when Hornoff lied, and events spun out beyond that to seal his fate: Warwick police improprieties surfaced; they’d lost Hornoff’s polygraph results. In short, it looked like a cover-up.

But if Hornoff’s lies about his relationship resulted in his false conviction, Casey Anthony‘s lies should signal a slam-dunk for the prosecution: She lied about having a job (at Universal Studios); she lied about having a nanny (Zenaida Gonsalez); she lied about her daughter being off with that nanny at the beach; she lied about dropping her child off at Sawgrass Apartments.

In the words of a guest on the Dr. Drew show, Casey Anthony lies about things when she doesn’t even ‘need’ to lie.

What’s the defense’s explanation for her lies? Alleged sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her father. The problem with that tactic? In her intricate web of lies, we’re expected to believe this is her one true fact.

What ultimately put Scott Hornoff away for almost 7 years wasn’t the fact he did the murder (he didn‘t); it wasn’t the fact he had an affair and betrayed his wife (he did); it was the fact he lied to police.

And, in a serious miscarriage of justice, that lie ultimately sealed his fate.

(Here’s the link below to read about what happened to Scott Hornoff from injustice, a group committed to helping the wrongly-convicted achieve justice. Hornoff, today, lends his witness to this group, for he now knows: There are those who are falsely-convicted.)

***What do you think happened to Caylee Anthony? Do you believe there could be an innocent explanation?Please hit Comments section below and weigh in. Why is this case (and Hornoff’s) center-stage in a blog of encouragement? They demonstrate clearly why telling the truth is so important.

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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