Although Casey Anthony was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter, it is not too much of an exaggeration to call this song a modern murder ballad.
Casey Marie Anthony was born at Warren, Ohio on March 19, 1986, the second child and only daughter of George and Cynthia Anthony. In 1989, the family moved to Orlando, Florida, and in November 2004, Casey, who was single and living with her parents, became pregnant. Her mother insisted she keep the baby - whose father was not identified - and on August 9, 2005, Caylee Marie Anthony was born. Although Casey was outwardly a good mother, it was her proud grandparents who doted on Caylee. Living her own independent life away from the family home, which apparently involved stealing cheques from her friend Amy, Casey was confronted by her mother on July 16, 2008. Among other things, Cindy demanded to know where was her granddaughter. Casey's story, that she repeated to the police, was that Caylee had been kidnapped by her nanny - who did not exist. In addition to leading the authorities on a wild goose chase, she kept up this pretence even after her daughter's skeletal remains were found dumped on some waste ground near the family home. The two year old's mouth had apparently been sealed with duct tape, and other evidence indicated that she had been chloroformed.
When her televised trial opened in Court 23A at the Orange County Courthouse on May 24, 2011, her attorney Jose Baez made an astonishing opening statement, claiming Caylee had died in an accidental drowning in the backyard pool at the family home, and that George Anthony had covered up the death. The reason he gave both for Casey going along with this pretence and inventing a plethora of other lies was as obscene as it was unbelievable. Although Baez offered not the slightest meaningful evidence to back up any of his claims, and did not dare put his client on the stand, the jury finished their deliberations on July 5, 2011 returning not guilty verdicts on all the major charges. Casey Anthony was convicted only on four counts of lying to the police. The verdict provoked outrage.
"Pants On Fire" is one of a number of songs about this tragic case. Written by local songwriter Becky Pollitz, it was produced in collaboration with folk/rock band DreamCatcher, Ron Sansone and Michael Pollitz.
In July 2011, she told this website: "...our community has felt the sorrow connected to this baby's demise, and this family's heartbreak, quite intensely. My songwriting is rarely 'deliberate' or created by design. Songs just are 'birthed', and come from the heart - so this reflects what it all made me feel, and what I believe the society around me is feeling."
The phrase liar, liar, pants on fire is of course as old as the hills, but it is difficult to take issue with Florida State prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick who said of Casey Anthony that she is the most well-documented liar ever to set foot in a courtroom.
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England