If a coroner cannot determine cause of death of a recovered corpse, how then can a prosecutor charge anyone with that person’s murder when murder cannot be proved in the first place?

That was the inherent problem with the trial of Casey Anthony in the alleged murder of her daughter, Caylee, and it is why I came to the early conclusion Casey Anthony would probably be found not guilty in spite of the media circus demanding she be found guilty and executed.  There was simply no credible evidence that Caylee had been intentionally murdered.  It left open the possibility the child died accidentally and her mother hid the body to avoid prosecution for child endangerment.

In a similar case, no cause of death was ever determined for Lacey Peterson in the murder trial of her husband, Scott Peterson, who is awaiting execution at San Quentin Prison in California.  Lacey’s unborn baby also died by an unknown cause, although it is assumed he immediately died after his mother died, but how did Lacey Peterson die?  Nobody knows!

In the Peterson Case, there wasn’t even evidence of a crime scene in the Peterson home or anywhere else.  Same thing in the Casey Anthony Case.

There have been convictions where no body was ever found, but the amount of blood belonging to the victim was substantial enough to determine that person could not have survived — okay I get that!  But in those cases there was a crime scene and enough supporting evidence against the accused to prove murder or manslaughter.  But that is not what I’m writing about here.

How in the United States of America, under our advanced criminal rule of law, can any prosecutor bring a case of murder or even manslaughter against anyone, when no cause of death can be determined to prove a murder or manslaughter ever happened?

It should be illegal in the entire United States to charge anyone with intentional murder or manslaughter if the cause of death cannot be established as homicidal.

Do you know that almost all the death row inmates that have been exonerated by DNA evidence were convicted on the exclusive basis of circumstantial evidence?  A few were convicted by faulty eye witness testimony, but by far, the majority were circumstantial cases only.

For that matter, how can any responsible, conscientious juror find a person guilty of murder or manslaughter when the prosecutor cannot prove homicide was the cause of death?  I certainly wouldn’t, but then I understand what constitutes real, court-worthy evidence as compared to mere suspicion and circumstance.  Most jurors are not responsible and conscientious, and that is what leads to wrongful convictions that ruin innocent people’s lives.

Getting back to the Casey Anthony Case, her parents were constantly berating Casey for not taking adequate care of their grand daughter, and even more compelling, the State of Florida, where it is assumed Caylee died, was prosecuting parents for simply looking the wrong way at the worst possible time when their child accidentally died.

Here’s a Florida case in point:  An unmarried couple lived with a child and a large Python Snake they kept in a glass case in another room.  Sometime in the night, the snake escaped from its glass enclosure and wrapped itself around the baby, killing it.  The parents were prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated because the prosecutor convinced a bunch of idiot jurors that the parents should have known better than to keep such a pet.

By anyone’s measure, Casey Anthony was no model mother, and if Caylee somehow died accidentally from being left in a hot car, for example, Casey might very well have been compelled to hide the body, fearing she might also be imprisoned for simply being stupid at the worst possible time.  But that does not make her a murderer, and that is the point.


Carl F. Worden

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