ORLANDO — After two weeks of waiting and wondering, a group of 17 Pinellas County residents have begun the difficult job they were chosen for: serving as jurors and alternates in the highly publicized murder trial against Casey Anthony.
Shortly after 9 a.m., the jurors filed into a large marble-walled Orlando courtroom and took their seats. Orange-Osceola Judge Belvin Perry asked them if they followed his instructions to avoid news coverage, discussions and Internet searches about the case. They all said theydid.
Assistant State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick began her opening statement by alluding to the storm of media coverage surrounding the case. Television stations and newspapers have chronicled the story of Anthony and her legal ups and downs. But now, she told the jurors, "It's time to tell the story of a little girl named Caylee," the 2-year-old daughter Anthony is accused of killing.
Burdick did so in a graphic way. She told the jurors that Casey Anthony's mother took the last known photo of Caylee, and she showed it to them: a shot of the little girl grinning wide with a coloring book in front of her.
And then she showed what she said was the next known photograph of Caylee — a vivid image of her remains, which were discovered several months after her disappearance in 2008.
The jurors will stay in an Orlando hotel for an estimated six to eight weeks while hearing the case. Prosecutors seek the death penalty.