Published June 27, 2011
The Casey Anthony trial resumed Monday after a judge ruled that the 25-year-old Orlando mother is competent to remain on trial for first-degree murder.
The trial was abruptly put on hold over the weekend after the judge said a "legal matter" had come up. Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry said Monday that Anthony was examined by three psychologists over the weekend after defense lawyers filed a motion to determine her competency to proceed.
All three psychologists found Anthony competent to proceed with the trial.
"Based upon the reports that the court has reviewed, the court will find that the defendant is competent to proceed," Perry said at the start of Monday's hearing, the 29th day of testimony.
Anthony, who is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008, has pleaded not guilty. She faces the death penalty if convicted.
Prosecutors allege Anthony suffocated her daughter by placing duct tape over her nose and mouth, while defense attorneys claim Caylee accidentally drowned in the family's swimming pool. The defense team also contends that Anthony and her father, George, covered up the accident -- a theory George Anthony has denied.
Caylee's remains were found in December 2008, almost six months after she was reported missing, in a wooded area not far from her Orlando home.
It's not yet known whether Anthony will take the stand in her defense, though legal experts say it's unlikely.
Detective Yuri Melich of the Orange County Sheriff's Office was the first witness to take the stand Monday.
Under questioning from Anthony's attorney, he conceded that he had never examined George Anthony's cell phone records and that a cadaver dog never sniffed out cars driven by George Anthony and his wife, Cindy.
Kenneth Furton, an expert on chemicals and human decomposition, also told the jury that the same chemicals found in human remains were also present in the trash found in Anthony's trunk.
He said fatty acids in Velveeta cheese and salami, both found in the trunk, are identical to the compounds found when a human body decomposes. He also said that chloroform can be found at very high levels in common household cleaners like bleach.
When a prosecutor asked if the chemicals in the trunk could have been caused by anything besides a decomposing body, Furton answered that a similar chemical finding could come from a combination of trash, gasoline and household cleaners.
On Friday, Casey Anthony's attorneys showed jurors several photos of Caylee climbing a ladder into an above-ground pool as her grandmother supported her from behind.
Anthony's mother, Cindy, also said in testimony Friday that she -- not her daughter -- searched for suspicious terms like "chloroform" on the family's home computer, potentially undercutting the prosecution's case that has pinned those searches on Casey Anthony.
The Associated Press contributed to this report