Thursday, July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony's Guide to Getting Away with Murder

Yesterday, I attempted to process my feelings about the Casey Anthony verdict. Catch up here. Today, I want to talk about what I've learned.

Just because Casey Anthony never finished high school doesn't mean she can't teach us anything. We can't prevent future murders (only Dr. Sam Beckett can do that), but maybe we can prevent future miscarriages of justice if we explore the techniques employed by people who artfully dodge conviction.
Cindy thinks Casey and Caylee are having a blast at Busch Gardens. Or are they?
1. Construct a story to explain your victim's absence. If a murderer's greatest enemy is the person who will question the victim's absence, time is the murderer's best friend. The more time that passes between a victim's last sighting and when a victim is recognized as missing, the more time is allowed for evidence to deteriorate or be destroyed and for the victim's trail to go cold. Casey constructed a web of lies to excuse Caylee's absence from grandmother Cindy for 31 days. If not for the discovery of her car in the impound, Casey could have continued the charade even longer. Create a scenario to explain a lengthy absence, and then put physical distance between yourself and those Nosy Nellies who would file those pesky Missing Persons Reports and avoid detection. See: John List, Drew Peterson, Michelle Pulsifer

"That's my story and I'm sticking to it."
2. Lie. Lie about the important stuff. Lie about the unimportant stuff. Lie about lying. Change your lies. Keep your lies consistent. Lie shrewdly. Lie absurdly. Investigators will exhaust all their resources disproving your lies, and by the time they're done, guess what? They still won't know the truth. And lying to law enforcement doesn't carry a huge penalty, so what's the big deal anyway? See: Susan Smith, Diane Downs

She's can't possibly be this sexy and this evil!
3. Be sexy. While you're at it, be Caucasian. I've noticed that ugly people don't get away with crimes as much as pretty people. Go ahead, think of an ugly person who got away with murder. Now, if I had to graph the importance of attractiveness in beating a murder rap, there would be a curve on the graph to illustrate that the attractiveness required decreases as the murderer's wealth or fame increases. See: Robert Blake, O.J. Simpson. Now, the victim's attractiveness, social standing and wealth also plays a role. If the victim is sexier than the murderer, there is a power-flip. See: Phil Spector

4. Harness the power of the "CSI Effect". We watch Catherine Willows lift a latent finger print from a shattered glass bottle that has been painstakingly reconstructed, and we feel like experts on crime solvin'. We expect every crime scene to contain evidence that will point to the killer. The absence of such evidence can only mean that there is no killer, and therefore no crime, or at least that the defendant is not the killer. The star witness for the Casey Anthony defense was DNA, or rather, the absence of DNA. That's the funny thing about dumping your toddler in a swamp to rot for six months--the elements destroy latent finger prints and other DNA evidence! So, dispose of your victim in some godforsaken dump (bonus points if it's hurricane season). Then your attorney can argue incredulously that you couldn't have possibly committed the crime--where are your finger prints?! We don't know for sure how Caylee died, when Caylee died, and when Caylee was dumped in the swamp, so if you're one of Casey's jurors, you concluded that there was no murder. Genius. If you're a really smart murderer (or really lucky) you'll dispose of your victim in such a way that they'll never be recovered. Or recovered, but unidentified. Or recovered and identified, but no connection between killer and murder weapon. Case dismissed! See: Natalee HollowayThe Boy in the BoxLizzie Borden.

"Casey may have hated Cindy more than she loved Caylee" - Shirley Plesea, Casey's grandmother
5. Don't have an obvious motive. Legally, demonstrating a motive is not required to convict someone of murder. But golly, it helps! Jurors crave motive. Give 'em a jilted lover, a husband with a secret double life, a wackadoo with an overwhelming need to impress Jodie Foster. Anything. These murder motives are as old as they are vast. Every murder has a motive, even if the motive is simply the desire take a life. Commit a murder for reasons nobody can understand, and despite a mountain of evidence, a jury just doesn't want to convict.

"I am SUCH a good liar!"  
6. The Spaghetti Defense. Throw every conceivable defense against the wall and see what sticks. You only need one element to create one seed of doubt in one juror and presto! Not guilty. The "Follow the duct tape-She didn't do it-it was an accident-she wasn't there when the accident happened-her father found the body-the meter reader hid the body-the father disposed of the body the way he buried the family pets-she behaved inappropriately because her father molested her-she acted weird because her brother molested her-she lied because her dysfunctional family raised her to lie-the trunk smelled like decomposition because she kept garbage in her trunk-all the forensic science against her is "junk science"-she never made chloroform-her mother did the Internet searches for "chloroform"-she never touched the duct tape-her father is framing her-REASONABLE DOUBT LIVES HERE..." is the new "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit!"

P.S. Thank you, Nancy Grace for speculating that Casey Anthony spends her money on "cases of beer and push-up bras". "Cases of beer and push-up bras" is the new "Booze and hot pants!"

No comments:

Post a Comment