Sunday, July 17, 2011


This morning at 12:10am, the Orange County (Florida) Jail released a woman who prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and much of the public believe to be guilty of the death of her 2-year-old child. She walked past the protestors to her freedom 12 days after being acquitted of capital murder (punishable by the death penalty), aggravated manslaughter of a child, and aggravated child abuse (each punishable by up to 30 years in prison). She is appealing her convictions of lying to the police to postpone having to testify in the civil suits against her for the monetary and other damages caused during the 3-year investigation, which included a massive search for the toddler whose mother knew she was already dead. Despite the convincing circumstantial evidence presented by the state and the poor strategy of the defense team, a 12-member jury concluded unanimously that - even though it did not mean that the 25-year-old was innocent - the prosecutors had not presented evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Even if you have been following this story, you may be unaware of a weather event that occurred on the day of the sentencing hearing. Just hours after the "not guilty" verdict was read - and just feet from the impromptu shrine that has grown in the woods where the victim's skeletonized remains were found - lightning struck a tall tree. Many take it as a sign. "It could be a sign from the angels that they aren't happy with what's happened....The rain, the lightning, the storm — it's the heavens indicating they aren't happy," said an Orlando resident. "It's eerie...there was no justice here on Earth," observed a visitor from Rhode Island. An out-of-towner from Tennessee commented, "Maybe justice wasn't served right now, but maybe it will be." And another local convinced of divine justice assured, "It'll catch up to her."

1 comment:

  1. Yours is one of the blogs I follow and you also follow my blog Neurospotlight ( I'm commenting on this because recently I moved to Orlando. I am now teaching at the University of Central Florida Medical School (a brand new school) whereas previously I was at Dartmouth. The television in the cafeteria of our school had the trial on every day. Of all the people living in Orlando I probably had close to the least interest in this, but yet I could not escape it. I sort of think it is a little strange that we fixate on such things but perhaps it is an expression of a community interest. My own physician told me that the trial provoke a lot of discussion and interest among people in nursing and retirement homes to the point that a lot of doctors and nurses thought it was very beneficial. It stimulated a lot of discussion and thought. In an indirect way this pertains to my topic of the nervous system. Our minds seem to be wired to focus on some events and not others. Probabaly protection of children is deeply ingrained both neurologically and behaviorally. Such a severe disturbance in child protection as was seen in the Anthony case literally "strikes a nerve."


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