Updated: Feb 14, 2020
A few weeks ago, I set out to make a video about five controversial court cases. Believe it or not, it was one of my favorite videos to research. In fact, I got so into researching some of the cases that the video ran a little long. So I put the first three cases I’d planned to cover into one video and moved the other two into their own video, then added one more. So, here are three more controversial court cases.
1. Darlie Routier
Texas has a reputation for having an unnatural love for the death penalty. In 2018, the state saw more executions than any other — and all of those executed were men. But one of the state’s more well known death row inmates is a woman who many believe is innocent.
In the early morning hours of June 6, 1996, in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett, 26-year-old Darlie Routier woke from her position on the living room couch when she heard her 6-year-old son, Devon, crying out for her. But Darlie awoke to a traumatizing sight. A man in dark clothing and a baseball cap stood at her feet — and he had already attacked both Devon and his 5-year-old* brother, Damon, with a knife. Darlie managed to fight off the attacker before he left via the garage, but not before getting deep slashes on her arm and throat.
After the attack, Darlie saw blood in the kitchen and began screaming. Her screams woke her husband, Darin, who, along with their 7-month-old son, Drake, had been asleep upstairs the whole time. Darin rushed to the living room and attempted to perform CPR on Devon, but was unsuccessful. Darlie placed a frantic 911 call and paramedics arrived shortly, but by the time they got there Devon was already dead. Darlie and Damon were taken to a hospital, where Damon was soon pronounced dead as well.
Darlie survived the attack, but her wounds were serious. The gash on her arm cut to the bone, and the knife wound on her throat had barely missed an artery. After being released from the hospital, Darlie and the rest of her family stayed with her mother. They slept in the middle of living room because it was the only place that was away from any windows and doors. Darlie was so scared she didn’t even want to go to the bathroom by herself.
An investigation was soon opened, but there were problems with Darlie’s story. There was no blood in the garage, where the intruder had apparently exited the home. A screen was cut, but the window it belonged to was covered in dust. Though a bloody sock was found a few houses down, the Routier’s backyard, where the intruder should have escaped to, appeared unscathed. Investigators also discovered that someone had tried to clean the kitchen sink before they got there. No blood was found on the sink or counter, but luminol later revealed it had been there at one point. There was also no blood found on the couch, where Darlie claimed she had been attacked.
There were also problems with Darlie’s behavior. In the 911 call, when the operator told Darlie not to touch the knife, she admitted she already had and lamented the fact that there could have been fingerprints on it. But when paramedics told her to apply pressure to Damon's stab wounds, she wouldn’t do it. As Officer David Waddell would later put it: "I thought if she was worried about fingerprints on a knife, she could certainly take care of her kids.”
But the most famous — and controversial — piece of evidence camea few days later, on what would have been Damon’s seventh birthday. On that day, several members of the Routier family gathered at the boys’ graves and held an elaborate birthday celebration. A local TV news crew captured the scene, which included the family laughing, singing “happy birthday” to Damon, and spraying silly string over the boys’ graves. Darlie talked to the news crew and defended her actions, saying the boys wouldn’t want her to be sad and that they were up in heaven having the biggest birthday party anyone could imagine. Four days after silly string video, Darlie was arrested.
Her trial began on January 6, 1997. She was only tried for Damon’s murder; prosecutors wanted to wait and see if the first trial got a lasting conviction before trying her for Devon’s murder. But because of Damon’s age, his murder was a capitol offense. Darlie faced the death penalty.
Prosecutors claimed Darlie killed her children because they interfered with the lavish lifestyle she wanted to live. Indeed, the Routiers had been struggling financially. In 1995, Darin’s annual salary from his electronics business was about $125,000, and the couple lived lavishly. But the next year when the business began to suffer and income slowed, Darlie’s spending didn’t.
The silly string video was also shown in court and, naturally, both sides used it to their advantage. Prosecutors said it showed a lack of grief, while the defense said it showed a family attempting to cope with grief.
But that wasn’t the defense’s only claim. As the medical examiner testified, Damon would have survived about eight minutes. The 911 call alone was over five and a half minutes, and then Darlie would have only had about two and a half minutes to clean up the blood from the kitchen and deposit the bloody sock at a neighbor’s house. Remember, Damon was still alive when paramedics arrived. The defense argued that there was no way Darlie would have had time to stage the crime scene. They also said the inconsistencies in her story were due to “traumatic amnesia.”
But none of it worked. On February 1, 1997, Darlie Routier was found guilty of Damon’s murder and sentenced to death. She was taken to death row, where she still is today. As of June 2018, she is one of only six women there in Texas.
But while there’s plenty of evidence that points to Darlie’s guilt, many other facts remain that throw that into doubt, and there’s speculation that she might be innocent. The bloody sock found a few houses down from the Routier’s had both boys’ blood on it. Supporters say there’s no way she could have run to a neighbor’s house, dropped the sock and come back to her house without leaving her own blood behind.
There’s also speculation questioning why Darlie would commit a crime like this. The boys’ life insurance policies together only totaled $10,000. Darin’s was $800,000. If she was really worried about money, why not kill him instead? And, if Darlie wanted to kill her children because they were a financial burden, why not kill all three? Did she not kill Drake because he was upstairs and she was afraid her husband would hear them? Or did she try to think like an intruder, who would kill as many people as possible but might not be able to get upstairs before being run off?
There was also something jurors didn’t see. A hidden camera had been placed near the boys’ graves by police in an attempt to capture a confession or other incriminating evidence. Instead, they captured what hadn’t been shown to the jury — a solemn memorial service for the boys, right before the infamous silly string incident. This portion of the tape was never shown to jury due to legal concerns about the hidden camera and, indeed, the Routier family ended up filing a lawsuit in June of 1998.
In 2001, an appeal was filed for a new trial, but it was rejected. Darlie and Darin divorced in 2011, but he continues to believe Darlie is innocent. He even has a has tattoo of Darlie and all three of their boys on his arm.
On February 8, 2019, a judge approved a request for a new trial. He ordered that, starting June 30, he wanted status reports on DNA testing in the case every 180 days. So within the next year or so, we should have even more updates on this case.
*most sources said Damon was five, but a few said he was four. Maybe he, like Devon, was close to his birthday and people thought it was easier to just say he was already five. Or maybe some of these sources are wrong; I’m not entirely sure.
2. O.J. Simpson
In the late hours of June 12, 1994, the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were found at Nicole’s Los Angeles condo. Both victims had their throats slashed; Nicole’s wound was so deep she was almost decapitated.
Police arrived on the scene in the early morning hours of June 13and found not only the gruesome scene, but Nicole’s two children asleep upstairs. When informed of this, officers knew they needed to contact the childrens’ father, Nicole’s ex-husband, O.J. Simpson.
Even before the brutal murder of his ex, O.J. Simpson was already a household name. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, his football and acting careers made him a regular in magazines and on the big and small screens. His football career lasted 11 seasons and included playing for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers. In 1977, he had a role in the miniseries Roots, and later acted in the Naked Gun movies, as well as a 1994 TV movie called Frogmen. He retired from pro football in 1979, but in 1985 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Police had trouble contacting Simpson at his own home. At 5:45 am on June 13, they finally made contact with O.J.’s friend Kato Kaelin, who was living in the guest house. Kaelin claimed he and Simpson had gone to McDonald’s for dinner the night before and returned home about 9:40. Around 10:45, Kaelin heard banging near the rear of the building. He went outside to see what was going on and saw a limo. O.J. had ordered it to take him to the airport because he had a red eye to Chicago the night. He left a few minutes later.
Police finally managed to contact O.J. himself later that afternoon. When they told him the news of Nicole’s death, he seemed distraught and quickly flew back to Los Angeles.
As the ex-husband of one of the victims, O.J. was a potential suspect at this point, but there was nothing to directly tie him to the crime. But when they called Nicole’s father later that morning to tell him the news, they heard a woman’s voice in the background, who turned out later to be Nicole’s sister. She was screaming "O.J did it! O.J killed her! I knew that son of a bitch was going to kill her!”
O.J. and Nicole met in 1977 at a Beverly Hills nightclub when she was just 18. At the time, O.J. was still married to his first wife, but he and Nicole moved in together within a few months of meeting.
Their relationship was tumultuous from the beginning. Nicole would later claim O.J. was abusive and had multiple affairs. Despite this, the couple married in 1984 and went on to have two children. While pregnant with their first child in 1985, Nicole called the police on O.J. after he took a baseball bat to her car, but no charges were ever filed.
Nicole filed for divorce in 1992, but her troubles with her husband weren’t over yet. On October 25, 1993, she called the police again. When they arrived at her house, they found O.J. there — hehad kicked in the back doors of the house. She later refused to press charges, though she’d told a policeman that night how afraid of O.J. she was. Nicole’s mother later told police that a month before the murders, O.J. had told Nicole "If I ever see you with another man, I'll kill you."
That same day, investigators found a bloodstained leather glove at O.J.’s house. They also noticed red droplets in the driveway, on O.J.’s white Ford Bronco, and leading up to the front door. This allowed them to obtain a search warrant. Upon searching the home later that day, they found socks with blood on them. The blood was later found to belong to Nicole. Later on, a glove that seemed to match the one at O.J.’s home was also found in the trees near the crime scene.
O.J. was questioned later that day by police, who took his fingerprints and a blood sample. When they asked about a cut on his hand, he said he had gotten it before he left for Chicago, then re-opened it in his hotel room when he cut it on a glass. A detective went to the room he’d been in that night and did find a broken glass in the sink.
But the evidence against O.J. was too strong. On June 17, prosecutors arranged via O.J.’s lawyer, Robert Shapiro, for O.J. to turn himself in at 11 am. But by 12:35, he still hadn’t shown up. So police travelled to the home of O.J.’s friend Robert Kardashian, where O.J. was staying, to arrest him. Once they got there, they learned he’d left with another friend in O.J.’s 1994 white Ford Bronco.
O.J. and the Bronco were M.I.A. until about 6:45 that night, when an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy finally managed to track them down on a southern California highway. The car slowed to about 35 miles per hour, but didn’t stop. Before long, the infamous slow speed chase was being broadcast live all over the country. 95 million Americans watched the chase, which became the most widely watched impromptu event in American TV history. The chase lasted about 50 miles before O.J. finally surrendered outside his Los Angeles home.
His trial began on January 25, 1995 and it was a fiasco from the start. Lawyers frequently hurled public insults back and forth. The case had created more hype than even the infamous Mansion family trials 25 years earlier. But O.J.’s fame wasn’t the only contentious issue on the table.
Racial tensions are still a big issue when discussing O.J. Simpson even today. The trial took place just four years after the assault of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers. Although the assault was caught on tape, all the officers involved were acquitted after a three month trial. Because King was black and the jury that acquitted his attackers was largely white, the verdict brought rising racial tensions to a boil, sparking the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
While the defense would later claim O.J. had been framed by racist police officers, they were afraid. If the jury selected was made up largely of one racial, ethnic or even socioeconomic group, there could be riots. The jury they ended up with was made up of eight black, one hispanic, one white, and two of mixed descent.
O.J.’s so-called ‘dream team’ went hard after LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman. Fuhrman (who you may remember from the Martha Moxley case in my last post) was accused not only of planting evidence but of making racial slurs. The defense enlisted the help of Laura Hart McKinney, a professor at North Carolina School of the Arts who had a tape of Fuhrman using a racial slur at least 41 separate times. He also said things that indicated he was engaging in illegal activities. The tape was of conversations between McKinney and Fuhrman when she was doing research for a script. After the tapes were played for the jury, Fuhrman claimed he was merely acting, playing a role in order to help McKinney out with her script. The following year, the LAPD investigated Fuhrman, but were unable to substantiate any of the claims made on the tape. But for Fuhrman, who had testified earlier that he had never used a racial slur, the damage was already done.
This wasn’t the only weapon in the defense’s arsenal. They also claimed O.J.’s rights were violated when police initially entered his house to search before he was officially considered a suspect. In the original search warrant, investigators claimed the red droplets found on the glove were blood. Although this was later found to be true, it wasn’t confirmed at the time, and was used to obtain the warrant.
But perhaps the most famous part of the trial was when O.J. was asked to try on the gloves from murder scene. His attorney Johnnie Cochran insisted he wear latex gloves over them. O.J. struggled to get the gloves on, finally saying, “They’re too tight.” Regarding the glove fitting, Cochran later famously claimed “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
But the prosecution was confident in their case, citing a “mountain of evidence” against O.J. They recalled the timeline given by Kato Kaelin at the beginning of the investigation; he and O.J. came back from McDonald’s around 9:40, but O.J. didn’t leave for his flight until close to 11. Since the prosecution claimed the murder happened around 10:15 pm, O.J. had no alibi.
The prosecution’s evidence was largely physical and forensic. DNA tests showed the blood leading away from the crime scene was actually Nicole’s. The blood samples from the Bronco and the glove had DNA from Nicole, Ron, and O.J. Also found at the crime scene were O.J.’s footprints and a cap with his hairs on it. The footprints came from a kind of shoe Simpson denied he ever owned, saying they were ugly — but there was a photograph from September 1993 of him wearing those exact shoes.
Jury deliberations began on October 3rd. Jurors took just a few hours to reach a verdict, which was read the next morning. On October 4, 1995, the 142 million people watching on TV or listening on the radio heard that O.J. was found not guilty.
But where did the prosecution’s “mountain of evidence” go wrong? There was a lot of witness testimony that would have made O.J. look even more suspicious than he already did. But most of it was left out of the prosecution’s case, either because it wasn’t allowed in or they were afraid it wouldn’t be allowed in. The jury also seemed to have trouble keeping up with DNA evidence, which was relatively new at the time.
And then there was the racial aspect. Despite the defense’s fears, the jury was made up of predominately one race. A year after the verdict, Newsweek magazine claimed that “Prosecutors lost the criminal trial virtually the day the predominantly African-American jury was sworn in.”
In 1996, a civil suit was filed by Nicole & Ron’s families to hold O.J. criminally responsible for their deaths. He was found liable and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages — $25 million to the Browns, and $8.5 million to the Goldmans. As of 2016, he hasn’t paid it.
O.J. moved to Florida in 1999 with his children. Over the next two years, police would respond to four domestic disputes between Simpson and his girlfriend. In December 2000, he was charged with assault, burglary of a car and battery after a road rage incident. In October 2001, a jury acquitted him of all these charges.
In 2006, it was announced that O.J. would be releasing a book called ‘If I Did It, Here’s How it Happened.’ As the title suggests, this book would give a hypothetical account of how O.J. would have murdered Nicole and Ron…had he actually been guilty.
Naturally there was outrage, and the book was cancelled. In 2007, Ronald Goldman’s family acquired the rights to the book and changed the title to ‘If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.’ It was released in September 2008.
In 2007, at the age of 60, O.J. and at least two accomplices stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room being used by a man named Bruce Fromong. Fromong had been trying to sell sports memorabilia — several pieces of which were autographed by O.J. — that O.J. insisted was his and Fromong had stolen it. O.J. was charged with 12 criminal counts, including burglary, coercion, and assault with a deadly weapon. He was later sentenced to 33 years in prison. In October 2017, he was released on parole. In 2016, a poll by the Washington Post found that 57 % of black Americans and 83 % of white Americans thought O.J. was guilty.
3. Casey Anthony
For our final controversial story, we’re going back to Florida for the mother of all cases. Casey Anthony's trial has been compared to O.J. Simpson’s in terms of the media frenzies they both caused — and outrage over the verdict.
In June 2008, then-22-year-old Casey Anthony lived in Orlando. Florida with her parents, George and Cindy, and her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Casey seemed to have a good life. She had a job at Universal Studios, plenty of friends and an active social life, and a nanny, Zenaida Fernández-González, to help out with Caylee when her parents couldn’t. But in July of 2008, the facade of her seemingly perfect life began to crumble.
A month earlier, on June 9, Casey and Caylee moved out of the Anthony family home and in with two roommates. George and Cindy, would only see their granddaughter a handful of times over the next month. After June 16, nobody in Casey’s life can seem to remember seeing Caylee at all.
Casey’s ex-fiance, Jesse Grund (who we’ll talk more about later), claims Casey and Cindy had an explosive fight right before Casey left home. Casey’s older brother, Lee, told him about the fight, which centered on Cindy’s revelation that Casey had been stealing from her grandmother — Cindy’s mother — and even included Cindy wrapping her hands around Casey’s throat. Cindy has denied these accusations.
Over the next month, George and Cindy’s requests to talk to Caylee were always met with excuses — she was asleep, she was with her nanny, she’s with someone else. On July 3, Cindy posted a message on her newly created MySpace account that seemed to indicate a strained relationship between her and Casey.
On July 13, George and Cindy got a letter that said Casey’s car was in a tow yard. When they got the car back, George, a former police officer, Cindy, a nurse, and the impound lot manager all noticed a smell from the trunk that smelled like decomposing flesh.
On July 15, Cindy finally tracked down Casey via one of her new roommates, Amy Huizenga, who also told Cindy that Casey had stolen money from her. Casey had been living with her new boyfriend, Tony Lazzaro, the whole time…but Caylee was nowhere to be found.
Cindy made a 911 call to report Casey for theft. While on the line, she also mentioned “a possible missing child.” But two hours later, Cindy overheard Casey telling Lee that Caylee had been missing for 31 days. Frantic, Cindy confronted Casey again, who finally told her that Caylee had been kidnapped by her nanny. Cindy made yet another 911 call, telling them the news. She also told them what she and her husband had realized earlier — “I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.”
Casey was soon questioned by detectives, but her already fishy story quickly unraveled. It didn’t take much questioning for them to realize the nanny story was a complete lie. Not only was Zenaida Fernández-González not Casey’s nanny, she wasn’t even a real person. Casey had completely made her up.
Casey didn’t work at Universal Studios either. She took detectives to the grounds and led them around, acting as if she knew what she was doing. Finally, she admitted she no longer worked there — and, as it turns out, hadn’t worked there for at least two years.
Casey was arrested on July 16 for child neglect, lying to investigators, and obstructing an investigation. Her bail was set at $500,000 and the search for Caylee continued.
On August 11, a meter reader named Roy Kronk went into the woods near the Anthony home to relieve himself.* While there, he saw something odd in the distance that appeared to be a skull but he was too far away to tell. He tried to tell his co-workers what he'd found, but they were distracted by a dead snake and paid him little attention.
Later that day, Kronk called the police to report what he had seen, but there was no follow up. He called again on August 13and, later that day, met with two officers by the wooded area. He showed them where he thought he’d seen the object, even drawing a map of the area for them, but they never went into the woods. The matter seemed to be soon forgotten by investigators.
On August 20, Casey’s bail was posted by a bounty hunter named Leonard Padilla. Padilla thought that if Casey was out of jail, she could further assist in the search for Caylee, but he was sorely disappointed when Casey had little of value to offer him. Eight days later, Casey was back in jail on charges of check fraud and identity theft. On October 14, a grand jury indicted her on seven counts, including first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and lying to police officers.
And the rest of the country was against Casey too. At some point in the investigation, the case not only gained national attention, but photos of Casey from June 20 and 21st were leaked. Casey’s behavior, which included heavy partying, engaging in PDA with Tony Lazzaro, and even participating in a ‘hot body’ contest — all during the time when her daughter was supposedly missing — caused outrage.
Then, on December 11, Roy Kronk’s route as a meter reader brought him back to the wooded area near the Anthony home. This time, he spotted a plastic bag he knew was filled with human bones — including a tiny skull with duct tape across the bottom. In a press conference on December 19, then-Orange County medical examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia announced the remains were those of Caylee Anthony. Her manner of death had been listed as “homicide by undetermined means."
Casey’s trial began on May 24, 2011. Much like in the Darlie Routier case, prosecutors claimed Casey killed her daughter because she got in the way of the lifestyle she wanted to live. They said she killed Caylee by placing duct tape across her nose and mouth, suffocating her.
They had plenty of physical evidence. The duct tape had been wrapped three times around Caylee’s skull, on what would have been her nose and mouth when she was alive. In the trunk of Casey’s car investigators found hairs that matched Caylee’s as well as traces of chloroform, which could have been used to knock Caylee out. And searches had been performed on the Anthony family computer for “chloroform,” “alcohol” and “neck breaking."
But the defense had a theory of their own — and it was a bombshell. While both sides agreed Caylee had probably died on June 16, the defense insisted Caylee had accidentally drowned in the family pool and George Anthony had pressured Casey into covering it up. They also accused George of sexually abusing Casey since she was a little girl. Naturally, all these accusations were denied by George on the stand.
(At one point, there was even a rumor that George was Caylee’s biological father, though a DNA test disproved this. During the trial, Casey’s attorney Jose Baez implied that Lee Anthony also could have been Caylee’s father, though this too was later disproved by DNA.)
Dr. Jan Garavaglia later took the stand and offered more physical evidence for the prosecution. Because Caylee’s body was completely skeletonized, 'Dr. G', as Garavaglia is known on her popular television show, couldn’t determine an official cause of death. But she was confident it was a homicide because of the duct tape and the way the body was disposed of. She also refuted the defense’s claim that the death was an accidental drowning, stating that in all the cases of child drownings she’d investigated, 911 was called 100 % of the time. When the defense grilled her on the idea that it still could have been an accident, Garavaglia insisted, "Accidental deaths are reported 100 percent of the time -- unless there's reason not to.”
But perhaps the most talked about pieces of evidence were the circumstantial ones — Casey’s many lies. Making up a nanny for Caylee and lying to her parents about having a job were the tip of the iceberg. Casey had created an elaborate fantasy world full of people and situations that she either didn’t know very well or were made up entirely. Her lying started back in high school, when she told her parents she was graduating, even though she was several credits short and couldn’t walk with the rest of her class.
Shortly after her (not) graduation, Casey began to put on weight. When her parents asked her if she was pregnant, she denied it a first, even saying she was a virgin. She eventually confessed, but lied yet again when asked who her baby’s father was. She initially told her mother that Caylee’s father was Jesse Grund, who she met in January of 2005 while working at Universal. Casey told Jesse this as well. But when Caylee was born in August of that year, Jesse grew suspicious. Shortly after Caylee’s birth, he paid for a DNA test himself, and the results confirmed his suspicions that he wasn’t her father. But by then, he’d already bonded with Caylee and wanted to stay.
He and Casey got engaged on New Year’s Eve 2005. Casey broke it off five months later, but they were still reportedly spotted together even around the time of Caylee’s disappearance. At one point, Jesse was even considered a suspect, but it was eventually revealed that Casey was lying even to him and her other friends about Caylee’s whereabouts.
On July 4, 2011, the case went to the jury. It took jurors just over 10 hours to reach a verdict, which was read the next day. Casey Anthony was acquitted of all charges except the four counts of lying to police officers. She was sentenced to four years in jail and $4,000 in fines. She received credit for time served and good behavior and was released from prison on July 17. Because of the check fraud charges, she would be on probation for the next year, and she owed more than $200,000 to law enforcement from the search for Caylee.
But why was Casey acquitted with so much evidence against her? Two days after the verdict, a juror named Jennifer Ford gave an interview. Ford claimed the verdict made her sick to her stomach due to doubts of Casey’s innocence. But, she claimed, the jury didn’t have enough evidence to make a conviction. They needed ‘something solid’ to ‘tie it all together.’ When you consider that there were reports of jurors in the O.J. trial zoning out during presentation of the forensic evidence, a jury less than 20 years later that relied so heavily on it is very interesting.
Ford also suggested the prosecution may have overcharged Casey, and seemed to think there was more evidence that Caylee’s death was accidental. If she had been charged with something else, they might have been able to convict her.
(Interestingly, though, Casey was charged with manslaughter as well as aggravated child abuse, and acquitted of both. I wonder why the jury made that decision.)
The public vehemently disagreed with the verdict. Ordinary citizens and celebrities alike chimed in on it — including Kim Kardashian, the daughter of O.J. Simpson’s late friend and lawyer Robert Kardashian. Twitter was completely taken over with law-related trending topics, as well as varying opinions on the case. Then-HLN anchor Nancy Grace commented “The devil is dancing tonight.”
But Casey’s legal troubles weren’t over. A Florida woman named Zenaida Gonzalez had already filed a lawsuit against her. When the news spread that Caylee had been abducted by a nanny of the same name, Gonzalez says the people around her assumed she was guilty. She lost her job and claimed Casey ‘ruined her good name.’ (This lawsuit was later dismissed by a judge).
Casey also faced a lawsuit from a search and rescue group called Texas EquuSearch. The lawsuit claimed the group spent over $100,000 to aid in the search for Caylee — all while Casey knew her daughter wasn’t really missing. They reached a settlement in 2013.
Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found Caylee’s body (twice), also sued Casey for defamation. During the trial, the defense tried to accuse Kronk of hiding the remains to collect reward money. Kronk’s lawsuit claims Casey’s defense team implied he was involved in Caylee’s disappearance. As of August 2018, the case is still ongoing.
Just days after Casey’s famous ‘not guilty’ verdict, lawmakers in Florida filed a bill that’s informally come to be known as ‘Caylee’s Law.’ The law would impose tougher sentences on caregivers who failed to report a child under 12 missing in the first 24 hours. Similar laws have since been signed in Alabama, Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma, and several others.
Perhaps the most surprising person to speak out against Casey is her own father. George and Cindy have given multiple interviews over the years, and it’s always been clear that George questioned his daughter’s innocence. As early as 2012, George said he believed Caylee’s death was an accident, but that Casey was directly responsible — that she drugged Caylee and ‘she didn’t wake up.’ As of 2017, he no longer has a relationship with Casey and doesn’t want one, saying, “I actually lost my daughter and my granddaughter in 2008."
Eleven years after Caylee’s death, the public and even Casey’s own family still wonder what really happened. Was it an accident? Was it cold blooded, first degree murder? Or did something else happen entirely? As with all these cases, I’ve barely scratched the surface here, so I highly recommend you do your own research and form your own conclusion.
What are your thoughts on these cases? Do you agree with the jurys’ decisions? Let me know in the comments.
*This link should lead you to the part of the trial stream where Kronk’s testimony begins; if it doesn’t, fast forward to 3:16:45.