Court is abruptly recessed after a witness describes duct tape on Caylee's skull

By Michelle Tauber and Mike Fleeman
June 09, 2011 04:15 PM
Credit: Joe Burbank/Landov

Crying through most of the day, Casey Anthony abruptly left the courtroom Thursday with a mystery illness during gruesome testimony about her 2-year-daughter’s duct-tape covered skull.

“Miss Anthony is ill. We’re recessing for the day,” Judge Belvin Perry announced. “Neither the state nor the defense has any comments regarding her illness.”

The early end to the court session in the Orlando murder trial came after a day of graphic testimony and grisly photographs of Caylee’s sparse, decomposed remains, which were found in Dec. 11, 2008, five months after the child was reported missing.

When testimony with the Orange County Chief Deputy Medical Examiner, Dr. Gary Utz, began after the lunch break, Anthony, 25, looked weak and pale. Then, after the afternoon break, she looked like she was going to be sick. She couldn’t even stand up as the jury left the courtroom. She was escorted out.

Utz testified that duct tape appeared to have been wrapped around Caylee’s skull so tightly that it held her lower jaw in place even amid severe decomposition, which he called highly unusual.

“Several pieces of silver or gray-colored duct tape [were found] over the jaw,” he said. “I’ve never seen a case where the mandible was found with the skull.”

Color photos of Caylee’s remains were shown to the jury on a computer screen.

Casey stands accused of murdering her daughter. The defense claims Caylee died of an accidental drowning, and that Casey was in denial due to psychological scars from being sexually abused by her own father when she was a child.