It's been almost six hours now. Almost six hours since America sat stunned. Almost as stunned as we were about fifteen years ago when, "If the gloves don't fit, you must acquit." That, too, was a particularly gruesome crime, yet it didn't resonate the way this case has. This one touched us all because it involved a child. A beautiful, wonderful, loving child that we only ever saw smiling in her pictures. This one touched us all because we're parents and this verdict doesn't make sense. We feel as if we've lost someone dear to us because that's how we're supposed to feel about children. We're supposed to love them and protect them. We're supposed to make sure no harm comes to them. Ever. Sadly, though, 'supposed to' isn't always the way it plays out.
But I digress...and will get to that in a minute. First things first. The main question, and one I've seen bantered about everywhere today is, "Did the judicial system fail this child?' Hold on tight - I'm not sure you'll like the answer. Breathe deeply for a second, clear your mind...and open it, if only for a few minutes. Quite simply, the answer is......."No, it didn't." Before anyone freaks out, kicks their computer, or thinks I ought to be beaten, too, let me explain. The judicial system is neither a joke nor flawed. It provided exactly what it was supposed to provide - due process. Granted, we did not like, nor did we agree with, the verdict. The fault of this case and the verdict, however, lies not with the system or the jurors but with the prosecution. They did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. It's really that simple. Do I think she did it or, at the very least, knows who did it? You're damn right I do. I think OJ killed Nicole and Ron Brown, too. The problem isn't with the system, one that's treated us all the same way for many, many years. It's with the prosecution and their handling of the case. Remember, too, that none of us sat on the jury and heard every word or saw every exchange. We got the case through the media. Be honest, we didn't see or hear everything the jurors did. Did the jurors get it wrong? I think so and, for whatever reason, they voted to acquit. We were spoon-fed snippets, daily, and we think she is guilty. Who wouldn't? Trick question - apparently, 12 men and women in Florida.
We have a very difficult time understanding this verdict because of a few things we all know to be true. The biggest, most glaring issue is how a parent, any parent, could have a child missing for 31 days...A MONTH... and not report it to the police. That is, unless they're guilty of foul play. Face it, if any of us have ever had it happen, you know what your heart and mind do when your child is out of your sight. I remember once when my daughter was in a store with me and decided a quick game of hide & seek was in order. I'm quite sure some of you have also had this 'fun-filled, exciting adventure', right? What did you do? First, you frantically began calling their name, followed by dropping everything you were carrying, before asking any and every fellow shopper, "Have you seen a little girl?" Meanwhile, your heart skipped several beats, the pace of your breaths increased, and you, well, panicked. I did, anyway. When I found her, it was a mixture of emotions. I wanted to hug her closer than I ever had, while at the same time wanted to make her bottom as red as I could. Those were my feelings...but I am guessing many of you are nodding as you read this, huh? What I can state without hesitation is.....I NEVER (had she truly been lost) would have entertained the notion of keeping it quiet, going shopping, getting a tattoo, partying. As I mentioned to someone earlier today, I would have been one of those parents (like the rest of you) arguing with the police that, "I don't WANT to wait 24 hours before filing a missing persons report! Do it NOW!" Face it - any normal, innocent person would have.
As for the defense theory that this was an accident that "snowballed out of control," I'd like to call bullshit. Excuse me but, as the prosecution contended, "No one makes an accident appear to be a murder." Again, it defies any and every law of common sense. If someone dies accidentally, especially your beautiful two-year old, you are despondent and need to be medicated and sedated. Heavily. My goodness, I cannot imagine it happening now, much less when my daughter was two. It defies explanation.
The smell in the car? Decomposition. Plain and simple, it was the smell of a dead body that even her mother noted. Casey's activities, as I mentioned before, were out of character. She backed the car into their garage (neighbors said she had never done that), then borrowed a shovel (she never spoke to the neighbors before that). Hey, if it walks like a dog, barks like a dog, and looks like a dog, you can pretty much guess it ain't gonna meow. Again, the 'common sense' card has to be played.
She lied to investigators...and got busted for that and that alone. Did the justice system fail? Nope. The prosecution, again in my humble opinion, was so absolutely certain they had a case of first-degree murder, that they over-charged her. They could have gone for lesser charges and had a burden of proof that was less than the first-degree charge, however they knew they had her. They KNEW it! In the end, though, without a cause of death and absent the needed forensic evidence, they blew it. They couldn't sell it. That, my friends, is what this boils down to. They could not sell their theory and there was reasonable doubt. If it's a first-degree murder charge and the death penalty is on the table, you'd better have it together and have more than a circumstantial case. There were, quite honestly, too many loose ends they couldn't tie.
Do I agree with the verdict? Absolutely not. Do I believe we will see a book by Casey or a family member? Absolutely. Do I think it ought to be part of the sentence, if possible, that she NOT be allowed to profit from this? I do, however that won't happen. Sadly, the only way to hit this freak where it hurts is to NOT purchase said book when it hits the bookstores. Guess what? That won't happen either. What happened today is unreal, however the real travesty occurred three years ago. The life of a beautiful, smiling little two-year old was taken forever with no rhyme or reason other than (from what we all believe) her mother wanted to live a single, partying life. It was obvious from the photos above, don't you think? What happened today isn't right, it isn't fair, and it makes us lash out. We want to hate the system and call it a joke. We want to say the judicial system sucks or is slanted. We want justice for this little girl. That burden, however, is on the prosecutors. They are the ones that had a responsibility to speak for this poor child. Sadly, they failed...just as surely as if their mouths were covered with duct tape.
Until next time........