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July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony to be freed by late July or early August

Orlando, Fla. — A judge sentenced Casey Anthony this morning to four years for lying to investigators but says she can go free in late July or early August because she has already served nearly three years in jail and has had good behavior.

While acquitted of killing and abusing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, Anthony was convicted of four counts of lying to detectives trying to find her daughter in July 2008. She lied to them about working at the Universal Studios theme park, about leaving her daughter with a non-existent nanny named Zanny, about leaving the girl with friends and about receiving a phone call from her.

At the time of the girl’s disappearance in June 2008, Anthony, a single mother, and Caylee were living with Anthony’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony, in suburban Orlando. No one has come forward as the child’s father.

Prosecutors contended Anthony, then 22, suffocated Caylee with duct tape because she was interfering with her desire to be with her boyfriend and party with her friends.

Defense attorneys countered that the toddler accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool. They said that when Anthony panicked, her father, a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a murder. They said he put duct tape on the girl’s mouth and then dumped the body in woods about a quarter-mile away.

The defense said Anthony’s apparent carefree life hid emotional distress caused by sexual abuse from her father. Her father firmly denied both the cover-up and abuse claims. The prosecution called those claims absurd, and said no one makes an accident look like a murder.

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