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Week 6: Drama marks final week of testimony

By Cara Hutt, In Session
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What happens when the jury gets the case
  • After more than 100 witnesses, the murder trial of Casey Anthony nears end
  • Court will resume Sunday with closing arguments
  • Prosecution, defense paint opposite portraits of George Anthony
  • The jury is expected to begin deliberations Sunday evening

Tune in to HLN's "Nancy Grace" at 8 p.m ET all weekend for live reports from Florida on the Casey Anthony trial. Also follow the action on the Casey Anthony trial page.

(CNN) -- In true finale form, this week's testimony was emotional, drama-filled and, thanks in part to a spectator who made an obscene gesture at prosecutor Jeff Ashton, not without a few surprises. Even the weather set the tone, storming so loudly on Friday that the thunder could be heard inside the courtroom.

After 33 days and more than 100 witnesses, the murder trial of Casey Anthony is inches from its end -- only Sunday's closing statements remain before the jury deliberates.

On Thursday, the defense wrapped up its case after calling to the stand every member of the Anthony family this week except for Casey. She only made a cameo when she personally addressed the judge to answer one of the trial's biggest questions -- whether she would testify. She declined the opportunity to testify in her defense.

Prosecutors allege that Anthony, 25, killed her daughter Caylee in 2008 by rendering her unconscious with chloroform, putting duct tape over her nose and mouth so she would suffocate, or a combination of the two acts. They also allege that Anthony stored the body in the trunk of her car for days before dumping it in the woods.

Anthony faces seven counts, including first-degree murder, in the death of Caylee, whose remains were discovered in a wooded field in December 2008. If convicted, she could face the death penalty. Anthony pleaded not guilty, and her defense team asserts Caylee accidentally drowned in a pool in June 2008 at the Orange County home that Anthony shared with her parents.

The defense team has argued that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked on discovering the body and covered up her death, though George Anthony has denied that scenario. Caylee was not reported missing to police until July 15, 2008 -- 31 days after she was last seen alive.

Casey's father, George Anthony, was a key player in the defense's final testimony, taking the stand twice during the final week. On Tuesday, he denied an affair with Krystal Holloway, a one-time volunteer in the search to find Caylee and the woman who claims George Anthony told her Caylee's death was an accident.

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George Anthony said his relationship with Holloway was platonic, and he only visited her apartment because she told him she had a brain tumor and needed someone to comfort her.

Holloway testified the following day, retelling a conversation she alleges she had with George Anthony.

"He said it was an accident that snowballed out of control," Holloway said. "But I was caught off guard with it and by the time I looked up he had tears in his eyes, and I didn't say anything after that."

Holloway stood by her version of the conversation even when Ashton, the prosecutor, confronted her with the differing statement she gave to police. She told police George said, "I really believe that it was an accident, and it just went wrong and she tried to cover it up."

On Wednesday, questioning of George Anthony turned combative when lead defense attorney Jose Baez suggested he feigned support for Casey in jailhouse conversations while pointing the finger at her behind her back.

George Anthony admitted he pulled Orange County detective Yuri Melich aside on July 15, 2008, the first night law enforcement visited the Anthony home. He admitted he told Melich the car smelled like decomposition and that his daughter was lying.

"Casey was the last one that I saw with Caylee," he responded angrily to Baez. "One and one adds up to two, sir, in my mind, and no matter how you're trying to spin it I'm upset because my granddaughter is missing."

Wednesday also brought George Anthony's second denial of accusations that he molested his daughter as she was growing up, and a full breakdown when he recalled the day Caylee's remains were found.

"[I felt] a deep hurt inside, tears, the whole gambit of such an emotional loss, seeing what my wife went through, what my son went through," he said through sobs.

The defense also suggested Wednesday that George Anthony attempted to take his own life in a hotel room in 2009 because he was overcome with guilt. He admitted he consumed a mixture of pills and alcohol because he "wanted to be with Caylee."

In rebuttal, the state introduced into evidence George Anthony's eight-page suicide note, full of praise for his wife, longing for Caylee and lots of outstanding questions.

"I sit here falling apart, because I should have done more," he wrote. "She was so close to home, why was she there? Who placed her there? Why is she gone? Why?"

Prosecutors argue these questions about her death prove George Anthony did not know how Caylee died, contradicting the defense's allegations that Caylee drowned and he helped cover it up.

In the note, George Anthony also seems to express uncertainty about Casey. He closes the letter by saying, "I Love you - Cynthia Marie...Caylee Here I come...Lee, I am sorry...Casey --"

In a move the defense hoped would highlight the Anthony family's dysfunction, the defense called Cindy Anthony, who during direct examination agreed she testified six months ago that she thought Caylee was still alive.

"There was still a part of me that believed Caylee was alive at that time," she said Wednesday.

Cindy Anthony also played a role in the defense's unexpected final line of questioning -- the manner in which they buried their family pets over the past two decades. During testimony from George, Cindy and Lee Anthony, the defense suggested Caylee was disposed of in the same way the family buried their pets, wrapped in a blanket and placed in garbage bags secured with duct tape.

During cross examination, prosecutors pointed out that Casey Anthony was also privy to the family's burial techniques. The defendant was in high school when their last pet died.

Highlights of the week also included testimony from Anthony's former fiance, which the jury will never hear. With the jury out of the room, Jesse Grund testified that Anthony told him she was molested by her brother.

"She told me at one point in recent years that she woke up one night with Lee standing over her in bed asleep," Grund said outside the jury's presence. "And in another instance was groping her in the middle of the night."

Judge Belvin Perry ruled the testimony was hearsay, and it was not admitted.

Roy Kronk, the meter reader who discovered Caylee's body, also took the stand this week. Baez alleged in opening statements that Kronk is a "morally bankrupt person who took Caylee's body and hid it."

Kronk denied moving the body or touching it before December of 2008, saying he spotted what he thought was a skull in August of 2008. After several unsuccessful attempts to direct police to what he thought could be the remains, he left the matter alone until December when he returned to the same area.

"I still didn't think it [the skull] was real so I very gently took it [the meter stick] and put it into the right eye socket and I gently picked it up," Kronk said describing the moments before he called police. "I looked down and I realized what it was and I set it down as gently as I could."

The week came to a close Friday with the state's rebuttal. Witnesses included Cindy Anthony's former supervisor, who testified company records show Cindy Anthony was at work during the times the defendant's mother claims she was searching for "chlorophyll" on the family computer. Earlier, a computer forensics expert had testified that he found searches for "chloroform" among the computer's deleted files, but no searches for "chlorophyll."

Court will resume Sunday with closing arguments. The jury is expected to begin deliberations Sunday evening.

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