Murder trial of Casey Anthony set to begin Tuesday

Reuters News
Posted: May 20, 2011 8:33 PM
Murder trial of Casey Anthony set to begin Tuesday

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - Opening statements in the murder trial of Casey Anthony, charged with the 2008 killing of her two-year-old daughter Caylee, were set to begin on Tuesday after 12 jurors and five alternates were sworn in on Friday.

The jury was picked over 11 days from residents of Pinellas County on Florida's west coast, two hours drive from Orlando, in order to find people who had not been subjected to the intense media coverage of the crime.

Anthony, 25, is charged with killing the girl and then hiding her body in woods near her home.

On Friday, proceedings were disrupted when a 29-year-old spectator yelled out, "She killed somebody anyway." Elizabeth Rogers was found in contempt of court and hauled off to jail for two days.

Judge Belvin Perry admonished jurors to avoid media accounts and conversation about the case. They will be transported to the trial in Orlando at an undisclosed time and sequestered in a hotel for an expected eight weeks.

The city of Orlando and court administration are bracing for at least 500 reporters and other media personnel who have received court credentials.

In preparation, the judge issued an order creating a public free speech zone, a special media committee worked out seat assignments in the courtroom, and neighboring property owners offered satellite television truck parking for $1,000-a-month.

(Editing by Greg McCune)