RAW;Casey Anthony Charged With First-Degree Murder In Daughter's Death

October 14, 2008

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Officials with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said Casey Anthony was in custody Tuesday afternoon following an indictment on a first-degree murder charge handed up by a grand jury less than an hour earlier.

Casey Anthony was in handcuffs when she was led into the Orange County Sheriff's Office around 4:40pm.

The Orange County grand jury indicted Casey Anthony on a total of seven counts: First-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of false statements to law enforcement.

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A first-degree murder charge means the grand jury believed the act to be premeditated. The punishment for such a charge is the death penalty or life in prison and no chance for parole.

Sources close to the Anthony family told Eyewitness News that Casey may choose to represent herself on the first-degree murder charge. Doing so would allow her to use taxpayer money to help pay for portions of the investigation. Attorney Jose Baez could remain available to her as a consultant.

The indictment paved the way for sheriff's deputies to arrest Casey and send her back to jail. She had been out on house arrest on child neglect charges and check fraud charges. The check fraud charges are in an unrelated case.

Caylee Anthony was reported missing by Casey earlier this summer, a month after Caylee first disappeared. Investigators said Casey has insisted she left the child with a babysitter and claims the babysitter must have Caylee.

However, deputies have not found that babysitter. They did find evidence in Casey's car that shows Caylee Anthony's decomposing body was in it. Caylee's body has never been found.

Casey Anthony's lawyer conceded earlier Tuesday that it was likely the grand jury would return some sort of indictment against his client in connection with the death of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony.

Orange County Sheriff's Office Detective Yuri Melich, who has served as the lead investigator for the case, was the final witness and the grand jury began deliberations around 3:00pm. They returned from their deliberations less than an hour later.