On July 5, Casey Anthony was acquitted on the charge of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008 and convicted of four counts of lying to law enforcement officers. Today, Anthony was sentenced to four years in prison on those charges, but — in a further reversal of a case that has already sparked intense attention following her acquittal — she will be released next Wednesday for time served.
As the New York Times reports, Anthony was fined $1000 on each count of lying to police officers about the circumstances of Caylee’s death. She “showed no visible emotion Thursday as her sentence was being read, but had been smiling and talking to her lawyers beforehand.”
I think it’s a huge understatement to say there has been a wave of outrage about Anthony’s acquittal. There will surely be as much, if not more, when she is released next week. It’s unclear what 25-year-old Anthony will do after being released; she had previously lived with her parents, Cindy and George Anthony, but “part of her trial defense was that she had been abused by her father and that her family was dysfunctional.”
I’ll admit I have not been following every last development in Anthony’s trial. The thought of a mother taking her child’s life, of a mother even being accused of such a crime, turns my stomach. There have been too many reports of parents of autistic children killing their children including a Welsh woman, Yvonne Freaney, who was convicted of strangling her autistic son Glen in 2010, but not sent to prison; including Karen McCarron, an Indiana doctor who suffocated her 3-year-old autistic daughter, Katherine, in 2006. McCarron was of convicted of first degree murder, obstruction of justice, and concealing a homicidal death in 2008 and is now in prison.
July 22 would have been the eighth birthday of Katherine — “Katie” — McCarron. I know her grandfather and know that Katie was loved; that she was “beautiful, precious and happy“; that she is missed every single day.
The petition below is calling for the creation of Caylee’s Law and for stricter laws about child neglect and abuse:
Far too many parents are being convicted of child abuse & neglect. Too many kidnappings & murders of our beautiful children are happening!
Our goal is to have stricter laws when it comes to child abuse & neglect. NO MORE slaps on the wrists! NO MORE 2nd chances! Misdemeanor child abuse & neglect should be eliminated all together & they should be automatic felonies.
Too many children are being left behind. Thier parents are being charged with mere misdemeanors, and not felonies. There should be stronger punishments for poor parents.
Caylee Anthony was failed. Let us not fail another child!
There’s another petition about Caylee’s Law circulating that is more specific in calling for the creation of a federal law “that would make it a felony for parents to fail to notify police within 24 hours of a child’s disappearance or within an hour of a child’s death.” This is important, but it’s equally important to address the broader issues of child abuse and neglect. Some people very close to me have been victims of abuse as children. They have survived, but suffering physical abuse at the hands of family members leaves a terrible lifelong legacy of guilt, shame and pain.
Please make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children. Please make sure that what happened to Caylee and Katie does not happen again.
Most of all, please remember Caylee and Katie, two precious little girls.
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Photo from the State of Florida via Wikimedia Commons
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