Florida mom Casey Anthony was controversially acquitted of the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee

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March 07, 2017 11:56 AM

Nearly six years after she was found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, Casey Anthony is breaking her silence about the highly publicized case.

“I don’t give a s— about what anyone thinks about me, I never will,” she told the Associated Press in a story published Tuesday.

Anthony’s acquittal in Caylee’s death was controversial; and she was once described by a Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman as “one of the most hated women in America” — a moniker that stuck.

Last year, five years after she was freed, a source close to Anthony told PEOPLE that “not much is going on in her life.” She told the AP in her new interview, “I sleep pretty good at night.”

With the renewed interest in Anthony’s case, here are five things to know about her 2011 trial and acquittal.

1. Caylee’s Body Wasn’t Found for Six Months

Caylee was initially reported missing on July 15, 2008, and her mother was detained by authorities the following morning for allegedly giving false statements to law enforcement, child neglect and obstruction of a criminal investigation.

But the toddler’s remains wouldn’t be recovered for another six months, when a utility worker found pieces of skeleton in a wooded area near Anthony’s home.

Authorities said it appeared the child’s body had been bound with duct tape. It took another week for authorities to identify the body as Caylee’s.

Caylee Anthony (left) and mom Casey Anthony
FBI; Landov

2. Anthony Was Found Guilty — But Not for Caylee’s Murder

Anthony initially told police her daughter had vanished after she’d left her with a babysitter named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, who, she claimed, had also disappeared.

But this story turned out to be a fabrication, along with information she gave authorities about her previous employers. Jurors convicted Anthony on four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement.

Days after the verdict was returned, Anthony was sentenced to serve four years in jail, but she received credit for time she’d already served while being tried for murder.

On July 17, 2011, 10 days after her sentencing on the misdemeanor charges, Anthony was released from custody.

3. Anthony’s Attorneys Claimed Caylee Drowned

While the prosecution never wavered in its position that Anthony had suffocated her toddler, the defense — led by Jose Baez — presented its own version of events.

In opening statements, Baez insisted Caylee had drowned accidentally in the family’s pool on June 16, 2008. He claimed the toddler’s body was found by Anthony’s dad, George Anthony, who told his daughter she would spend the rest of her life in jail for child neglect.

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According to the defense, Casey panicked and, along with her father, tried to cover up Caylee’s death by burying the toddler in the backyard. Casey then went on with her life for 31 days as if nothing had happened to her daughter, defense attorneys said.

The defense claimed that all of the state’s evidence against Casey was circumstantial.

RELATED VIDEO: How Is Casey Anthony Paying Her Bills After Her Acquittal?

4. The Prosecution Focused on Casey’s Lies

Jeff Ashton, the state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties in Florida, told the jury Casey allegedly killed Caylee because of “the clash” between Casey’s duties as a mother “and the expectations that go with it,” and “the life that Casey Anthony wanted to have.”

As he outlined the state’s case against her, Ashton touched on Casey’s many alleged lies to her parents, and he zeroed in on the smell of human decay coming from her car’s trunk.

He emphasized in court how Casey allegedly “maintains her lies until they absolutely cannot be maintained any more,” and then replaces them with other lies. Casey, he told jurors, repeatedly claimed during police interrogations that Caylee was with her nanny — a story prosecutors later believed was a lie.

Ashton slammed the defense’s theory that Caylee drowned in the Anthony pool and that her death had been covered up. He asked jurors to use their common sense when deciding on a verdict, telling them, “No one makes an accident look like murder.”

5. Prosecutors Used Anthony’s Computer Searches Against Her

During trial, prosecutors presented evidence showing Anthony had recently Googled terms like “neck breaking” and “how to make chloroform.”

On the last day Caylee was seen alive, someone used her mom’s computer to look up the term “foolproof suffocation.”

However, jurors interviewed after the verdict said they had a hard time convicting Anthony because a clear motive for the killing was never presented at trial. A lack of hard evidence was another challenge.

As one local legal expert later explained to PEOPLE, “The bottom line is, the prosecution did a good job, but circumstantial cases are very difficult to prove. What happened to Caylee? We may never know.”

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