ORLANDO, Fla. – This is what freedom looks like for Casey Anthony: $537.68 from her jail account, no job, estranged parents, a criminal record, lawsuits pending against her and the scorn of multitudes who think she got away with murder.
She quickly gave reporters the slip after walking out of jail Sunday, but whatever life she manages to build for herself will be lived under a media microscope and the shadow of countless threats.
Experts who have helped other notorious defendants through rough times say she will have opportunities as well, but it won’t be easy for the 25-year-old, who was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, but convicted of lying to investigators.
With her hair in a bun, Casey Anthony walked out the front door of an Orlando-area jail shortly after midnight, wearing a pink T-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers, and escorted by sheriff’s deputies holding semi-automatic rifles. Protesters shouted baby killer and you suck.
The vehicle sped away and darted into a parking garage at a building where one of her attorneys has offices. Where she went next is unknown.
Soon after her release, there was police activity at Orlando Executive Airport as two vehicles pulled up to a twin-engine private jet bound for Columbus, Ohio, but no one saw Anthony get out and onto the plane. Ohio is the home state of Anthony’s parents, but an official at the Columbus airport said the aircraft was only carrying golfers back from vacation.
Casey is in good hands, said Todd Macaluso, a former member of Anthony’s defense team who declined to comment further.
Her lead attorney, Jose Baez, did not respond Sunday to email and phone messages left by The Associated Press, nor did other lawyers on her defense team and those representing her father and mother.
Another former Anthony lawyer, Terry Lenamon, said he had no clue where she was headed, and that probably only a few people close to her knew. I wouldn’t want anyone to know, he said. I think she needs to go underground, and I think she needs to spend some time to get her life back together.
Anthony’s acquittal July 5 shocked and enraged many around the country who had been following the case since Caylee’s 2008 disappearance. Anger has spilled onto social media sites and elsewhere. Her legal team said Friday it had received an emailed death threat.
Anthony did not report her daughter’s disappearance for a month and was arrested after telling a string of lies about the case to police. Caylee’s remains were found in December 2008 near the home Casey Anthony shared with her parents.
Prosecutors alleged that Anthony suffocated her daughter with duct tape because motherhood interfered with her desire for a carefree life, but her lawyers said the girl drowned in an accident that snowballed out of control.