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Prosecution finishes case in Casey Anthony murder trial

ORLANDO, Fla. >> Prosecutors finished presenting their case this morning against a Florida woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter.

Casey Anthony’s attorneys are expected to call their first witness Thursday, assuming the judge denies a standard defense motion asking for the case to be thrown out. The defense has claimed the toddler was not slain but instead drowned in her grandparents’ pool.

Over several weeks of testimony, prosecutors have laid out their case that Caylee Anthony was suffocated with duct tape, though a medical examiner testified the cause of death was undetermined. Only the “manner of death” was ruled to be homicide. If convicted, she faces the death penalty.

Prosecutors have built their mostly circumstantial case on 25-year-old Casey Anthony’s conduct and the lies she told about her daughter’s whereabouts.

They also have relied on forensics experts. They’ve talked about smells of human decomposition in Anthony’s car, searches on her computer, including for chloroform several times, and duct tape found on the girl’s skull. Caylee disappeared in summer 2008 and her mother did not report her being gone for a month. The child’s skeletal remains were found about six months later near her grandparents’ home.

The jury was dismissed Wednesday morning with strict orders not to discuss the case or watch newscasts during their hiatus. They will return Thursday morning.

Caylee was last seen in mid-June of 2008 and was reported missing on July 15. Her remains were found in December of that year in a wooded area near the Anthony home.

On Tuesday, a tattoo artist testified that Anthony had the words “Bella Vita,” or “beautiful life” in Italian, etched on her back on July 2, 2008. She returned on July 15 and scheduled another appointment for a few days later.

The artist, Bobby Williams, told jurors that Anthony seemed happy and told him she planned to bring her daughter in during the next appointment.

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