Anytime I’m asked not to look at the elephant in the room, I’m unable to look at anything else. That includes Casey Anthony, the young Florida mother who supposedly got away with killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, after a controversial acquittal on murder charges in Orlando last summer.
Imagine my shock when ex-prosecutor Jeff Ashton, while flogging a Casey book on the Today Show this morning, asked the world to forget the notorious femme fatale.
Yes, the man famous for clutching a plastic bottle during numbing closing arguments, wrote a book that is not about Casey but is called Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony.” That is like penning a book about Double Indemnity and asking us to block out Barbara Stanwyck and think about the guy who played the insurance adjuster.
“My advice to people who are angry about (her acquittal) is to ignore Casey, and I hope that’s what they do,” Ashton told Matt Lauer, who wanted the inside story on what the book calls “the trial that stunned America, the verdict that shocked us all.”
Instead, the prosecutor hoped “that someday — and I know this probably won’t happen soon— that Casey Anthony will invoke a “who’s that?’”
Well, not if people keep writing books about her. Or if Lifetime, as is rumored, does a movie based on Ashton’s book.
Ashton carries a big-time grudge against Anthony. He’s sure he could have convicted her if only he could have questioned her about a “Bella Vita” tattoo (as if the pathological liar couldn’t have come up with a colorful whopper about that). Instead, he had to combat a fragile-looking young woman who refused to take the stand, who cried copiously on cue, who had half a dozen imaginary friends, who looked great with her hair scraped back and makeup scrubbed off, clad in demure little white blouses and baggy pants.
When Ashton describes her stony demeanor during plea-bargaining sessions, he sounds like a man defeated in a chess game he didn’t think his opponent was smart enough to play.
He might take advice from Nancy Grace, the infamous crime scold, once obsessed with Casey. After the acquittal, Grace popped up on Dancing With the Stars. Now she’s back on the crime beat with a new “tot mom,” Seattle’s Julia Biryukova, an Eastern European blonde who’s misplaced an adorable little boy.
Ironically, I thought about Casey today only because Ashton brought her up. Even he admits she’s living quietly in Florida, working off probation on an unrelated charge.
The truth is that we’ll forget Casey Anthony long before he does.
Candace Dempsey is a journalist, travel writer, and seattlepi.com blogger. Murder in Italy, her award-winning book about the Amanda Knox case, is now out with new facts and updates in the wake of Knox’s acquittal.