Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Getty
After the prosecution rested in the Casey Anthony trial
, the judge denied a defense motion for acquittal on charges the Florida woman murdered her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.
Judge Belvin Perry said the state had presented "substantial, competent evidence for this jury," clearing the way for Anthony's lawyers to begin the defense case on Thursday.
Anthony, 25, who faces three charges including first-degree premeditated murder, expressed no reaction in the Orlando courtroom when the motion was denied.
Her attorney Cheney Mason had argued that prosecutors failed to present evidence that a murder had even occurred, premeditated or otherwise.
"There has been no evidence of premeditation," Cheney told the judge. "There has been a stacking of inferences. A stacking of speculation. No evidence."
The state, he added, established only that "the child is dead" – her remains
were found in 2008.
"There is no evidence to suggest when she died, where she died, how she died, who if anyone was in attendance with her when she died."
Assistant State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick countered, "It is our position that a reasonable jury can conclude that Caylee Marie Anthony died as a result of three pieces of duct tape
applied to her nose and mouth, as a result of poisoning by chloroform
[and] as a result of a combination of the two."