Fiancée: Casey Anthony had bond with dead toddler

May 27, 2011 - 10:29 AM
Casey Anthony Trial

Casey Anthony, right, appears in court with her attorney Jose Baez, left, for her trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, May 26, 2011. Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter Caylee. (AP Photo/Red Huber, Pool)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Casey Anthony had an "amazing" relationship with the 2-year-old daughter she's charged with killing, her brother's fiancée testified Friday as the Anthony trial entered a fourth day.

Prosecutors have been portraying Anthony as carefree and cheerful in the weeks after the girl was last seen in June 2008, hanging out with friends and hitting the clubs. The child, Caylee Anthony, was reported missing a month later and her remains were found that December.

Casey Anthony, 25, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. Prosecutors contend she suffocated Caylee with duct tape. Anthony's defense team says the child drowned accidently in a family pool. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death.

Mallory Parker, the fiancée of Casey Anthony's brother Lee, was called to the witness stand by prosecutors. She described how she and Lee searched for Casey in Orlando bars in the summer of 2008 when her family hadn't seen her in many days.

But Parker also said that Anthony had a special bond with her daughter.

Former boyfriend Ricardo Morales testified Thursday that Anthony was cheery when she picked him and his friends up from the airport on July 15, 2008, about a month after authorities believe Caylee was last seen.

"She was the same as she always was," Morales said of Casey's demeanor the day before her initial arrest. "Happy. Smiling. Just as usual. Same Casey."

Morales dated Anthony from February to April 2008. He also testified that Anthony and Caylee regularly stayed nights at his apartment during that same time period.

His testimony came a day after another ex-boyfriend, Tony Lazzaro, whom Anthony began dating in May 2008, testified he only saw Casey with her daughter a handful of times and that Caylee was never with Casey when she spent nights at his apartment. He said he stopped seeing them together at all in mid-June 2008.

Perhaps the most explosive dialogue was outside the presence of the jury when defense attorney Jose Baez and Judge Belvin Perry questioned Lazzaro. He told them about a conversation he had with Casey in late June or early July 2008 in which he said she told him her brother attempted to sexually abuse her.

In Baez's opening statement, he told jurors that the reason Casey didn't act panicked around the time Caylee was believed to be missing was because she was so emotionally scarred after being molested as a child by her father, George Anthony, and attempted abuse by her brother, Lee.

"...It was definitely in the past...Not anything in the present," Lazzaro told the judge.

George Anthony in earlier testimony denied the abuse allegations. Her brother has yet to testify but is on the witness list for prosecutors.

Perry didn't rule immediately on whether Baez would get to question Lazzaro in front of the jury at some point on the information he offered. But Lazzaro was asked by the judge to remain available for further testimony.

George Anthony testified that he confronted his daughter in late June 2008 about the disappearance of gas cans from a storage shed at his house.

He described how at one point he wanted to look inside the trunk of her car, which was parked inside his garage at the time. He testified she prevented him from doing so. He also said she cursed at him and eventually tossed the cans at him after retrieving them from the trunk.

"She abruptly got into her car and drove away," he said.

Prosecutors have said they believe Caylee's decaying body had been stored there, and the girl's grandparents noticed a foul odor when they picked up the car from a towing lot.