Casey Anthony set to go free

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Thu, Jul 07, 2011 at 9:41PM

Just days ago Casey Anthony pondered the possibility of a death sentence. This morning she awakens to the reality that in days she will leave jail and attempt to rejoin society.

Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry sentenced Casey Anthony Thursday on four counts of lying to law enforcement, giving her four years in jail but also credit for time already served dating back to 2008.

Considering her time incarcerated and other factors, like good behavior, court officials said Anthony likely will be released from the Orange County Jail on July 17.

She was fined $4,000, or $1,000 for each conviction. She also must pay $618 in other costs.

These fines are separate from the investigation and prosecution costs state prosecutors want Anthony to pay. Those costs will be handled during a later hearing in August, which she will not have to attend. Also, she will not be bound by the one-year probation stemming from her earlier guilty plea in a felony check-fraud case. That probation period expired Jan. 24, during her time in jail awaiting trial.

The four-year sentence imposed by Perry is the maximum the judge could set under the jury's decision.

Unhappy followers of the case gathered outside the Orange County Courthouse Thursday expressing their displeasure about her acquittal on a charge of first-degree murder in connection to her daughter Caylee's death.

"I feel she got away with murder and it really irritates me," said Donna Marini, an Altamonte Springs woman who attended most of the trial proceedings.

Nearby, though, Casey Anthony supporters chanted for her release. One man stood with a sign asking "Casey will you marry me?"

"I would date her," said the sign's holder, Tim Allen. "Everyone deserves a second chance."

Inside the courtroom, Anthony showed no reaction while Perry discussed her lies and imposed his sentence. Earlier, she arrived in Perry's courtroom appearing relaxed and happy. Her long hair hung down over her shoulders. She beamed at her defense attorneys.

Demings respects jury decision

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings released a statement later Thursday expressing his disappointment with the not guilty verdict.

"For three long years, the citizens of Orange County, Florida sought justice in the murder of Caylee Marie Anthony," he said. "Essentially, that process concluded today with the sentencing of Casey Anthony only on charges associated with lying to law enforcement officers during the course of the investigation into the disappearance of her daughter, Caylee."

However, Demings said he respects the "findings of the jury because that is part of the criminal justice process." He urged residents to maintain "a peaceful resolve."

Anthony normally wore her long hair in a bun on top of her head, but she let her hair down for court Thursday. She huddled with her attorneys, Cheney Mason and Dorothy Clay Sims, while smiling and stroking her hair before the hearing began.

Her smiles disappeared, though, as Perry handed down his sentence. Perry disagreed with one of Anthony's attorneys, who argued that Anthony's four convictions for lying to police should be consolidated into one count.

Assistant State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick argued that Anthony's lies were intended to lead law enforcement "on a wild goose chase."

Anthony had time to pause and reflect about the mistruths, Burdick said.

Perry agreed with Burdick that Anthony's guilty verdicts represented "four separate and distinct lies" that led law enforcement on a months-long search for her daughter Caylee, forcing them to spend "a great deal of time, energy and manpower looking" for the child

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