Casey Anthony was "happy" after daughter's death: roommates

ORLANDO, Fla Wed May 25, 2011 5:12pm EDT

1 of 2. Casey Anthony cries during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, May 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Red Huber/Pool

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ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - Roommates of Casey Anthony's former boyfriend described on Wednesday how the Florida mother partied at nightclubs and remained outgoing after her 2-year-old daughter's death on June 16, 2008.

"She seemed normal. Happy. Like everything was fine," said Nathan Lezniewicz on the second day of testimony in Casey Anthony's first-degree murder trial in Orlando.

The case has gained national attention and drawn TV personalities including Nancy Grace and Geraldo Rivera to the courtroom. Casey Anthony, 25, faces the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors contend that she suffocated daughter Caylee Marie Anthony by wrapping duct tape around her head, nose and mouth. During opening statements Tuesday, the defense said the toddler drowned in the Anthony family's backyard pool and no one alerted police about the accident.

Caylee wasn't reported missing until July 15, 2008, by her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, who called 911 and told the dispatcher she had not seen the little girl for a month.

Lezniewicz roomed at the time with Casey's then-boyfriend Tony Lazzaro and two other young college men at an Orlando apartment.

Lezniewicz said he was at a local nightclub when Casey entered a "hot body" contest. Jurors saw a photograph of her and Lezniewicz grinning at the club.

"She was partying, having a good time," testified Roy "Clint" House, another roommate.

House said Casey gave clothing and sales advice to "shot girls" who sold premium liquor by the shot glass at the club.

Casey began living at the apartment nearly full-time after Caylee's death, the roommates said.

"When she started staying at the apartment on a regular basis, that's when we stopped seeing Caylee," House said.

The roommates and House's then-girlfriend, Maria Kissh, asked Casey about Caylee's whereabouts and were told she was with the nanny. Kissh said Casey told her Caylee's father was deceased.

Caylee's body was found December 11, 2008, in a wooded area a 15-minute walk from the Anthony home.

Prosecutors and the defense agree that Caylee died on June 16, 2008, and that Casey's behavior was inappropriate for a mother who lost a child.

Defense attorney Jose Baez told jurors that Casey Anthony's odd behavior began much earlier after she was sexually molested by her father, George Anthony, starting at age 8.

George Anthony denied that accusation from the witness stand Tuesday.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)

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