The Truth About Cindy's Testimony
The media on Thursday labeled Cindy Anthony’s testimony as a bombshell, and many have commented that Casey’s mother and the defense conspired to torpedo key evidence in an attempt to plant reasonable doubt. Cindy testified that she was the one who Googled chloroform in March of 2008, but was that a lie, as so many have suggested? Who knows for certain?
But Thursday’s testimony should not have come as a surprise to prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick, though she acted as if it did. The following are excerpts from a deposition Cindy gave on July 28, 2009, with Drane Burdick asking the questions:
Q: All right. There is a search for how to make chloroform on your desktop computer. Did you make that search?
A: I'm not sure.
Q: Why not?
A: Because I remember looking up chlorophyll back in March of last year, and I'm not sure if I looked up chloroform as well. I looked up alcohol and several other things like that – like ethyl alcohol and peroxide, too.
A: I was researching things that – as far as chlorophyll –
A: – and possibly chloroform because of my animals because of my cocker—or my Yorkies would eat a lot of bamboo leaves and I knew there's chlorophyll in those leaves and they were getting sick, quite sick.
And I had previously lost two Cocker Spaniels, and I wanted to see if there was any tie. I had never thought about that with the cancer and stuff that I lost the Cocker, so I started researching different things.
As far as alcohol and peroxide, I researched just—I was looking through different things that was in our cabinets that Caylee would get into because we didn't keep, like, you know, cleaning supplies in the bathrooms. The only thing I kept in the bottom bathrooms that we had locked was alcohol and peroxide.
And I knew alcohol could be costly, but I wasn't sure about the peroxide because I know you can gargle with it, and I know you can drink some peroxide, but I wanted to see how much could hurt, in case she ever got into anything.
Q: Okay. Did you look up shovel –
Q: – for any reason?
Q: Neck breaking?
Q: Did you – do you believe that you could have accidentally looked up how to make chloroform?
A: I may have looked up the ingredients of chloroform. I may have looked up the ingredients, but not how to make it.
Q: Okay. [Pause] What did you learn about chlorophyll?
A: It can make an animal sick, but it wasn't – it didn't have, like, drowsiness effects and things that I was concerned with. It did not.
Okay. What is chlorophyll?
A: Chlorophyl is the – the green that's in plants.
Q: Okay. In all plants?
A: Uh-huh. You can see the green. Uh-huh.
Q: All right.
A: And being a Latin student and knowing Latin, chloro, I wanted to see if there was any ties, if you had – if you could overdose on chlorophyll or if it would become like chloroform. But there was no tie to that.
Q: All right. How do you spell chlorophyll?
A: C-h-l-o-r-i-p-h-i-l, [sic], I believe.
Q: I'm sorry. I missed that. C-h-l-o –
A: C-h – yeah – l-o-r-o-p-h-i-l.
Q: Okay. So you believe you may have searched the components –
A: Of chlor0phyll.
Q: – of chloroform?
A: I may have.
Q: But would not have entered in a search how to make –
Q: – chloroform?
A: Not unless the ingredients were mimicking the chlorophyll. And I did not see that.
Q: [Pause] When did you learn that law enforcement had identified the Google searches on how to make chloroform and then the component parts of chloroform?
A: I learned indirectly. Yuri Melich and Sergeant Allen and Nick Savage came to my house the week that Casey was home the first time, the first week.
Q: Uh-huh. End of August.
A: They came – I believe it was on a Tuesday because I think she had until Thursday originally to make a plea deal and then that following Monday. So it was around that time frame they came to my house. And naturally I couldn't let them in the house because Casey was there. So I came outside.
And Yuri Melich was asking me questions in my front yard about talking to Casey and it came out: Did you know that there was a search on your computer. And –
A: For how to make chloroform. And I said: No.
* * *
So, if Cindy told investigators in August 2008 that she wasn’t aware that chloroform had been searched on the home computer, why did she tell Drane Burdick a year later that she was the one who Googled that word?
Whether she told the truth in 2009 and on the stand Thursday could be as hard to prove as it is to disprove. But Cindy’s declaration was not a bombshell, and Drane Burdick should have seen it coming.
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