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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » FUN CHRONICLE™ » Casey Anthony found not guilty of murder of daughter

Casey Anthony found not guilty of murder of daughter

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Meta Trader

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Casey Anthony found not guilty of murder of daughter Ap_cas10
A photo showing Casey Anthony and her daughter Caylee Anthony is seen projected on a courtroom monitor during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse, June 8, 2011 in Orlando, Fla.

The prosecutor and an alternate juror agreed today on why the jury refused to convict Casey Anthony of murdering her 2-year-old daughter: They couldn't prove how little Caylee Anthony died.

"It all came down to the evidence," said Florida state attorney Jeff Ashton on "The View" today. "I think ultimately it all came down to -- at least from what the one alternate said -- it came down to the cause of death."

Casey Anthony was found guilty of four counts of lying to law enforcement and could be released from jail as early as Thursday.

Russell Huekler, one of five alternate jurors who were present for all the testimony and sequestered along with the 12 other jurors, said today that he would have delivered the same verdict and that he was shocked by the public outrage over the trial's outcome.

"The prosecution failed to prove their case and there was reasonable doubt. Again, they didn't show us how Caylee died. They didn't show us a motive. I'm sorry people feel that way. ... These were 17 total jurors. They really listened to this case and kept an open mind," Huekler said.

Prosecution was hampered by the fact that Caylee Anthony's body wasn't discovered until six months after she disappeared. She was found lying in a swampy, wooded area. Her body was so badly decomposed that the autopsy could not determine a cause of death and stated only that she was a victim of homicide by undetermined means.


"I don't think it was the lack of DNA" connecting Casey Anthony to her daughter's death that undermined the case, Ashton said. "It was the cause of death."

Ashton said that he and his team felt they put on a good case.

"We were pretty shocked" at the verdict, he said. "We put on everything that an investigation, a really thorough investigation over three years, produced. That's the way it goes. I think I mouthed 'Wow' five times."

One of the most powerful pieces of evidence, he said, was the photo of Caylee's decomposed skull with the pieces of duct tape where her mouth and nose would have been.

"What I've said all along is if a jury looks at that photograph and doesn't see it the way I do and doesn't know how she died, then so be it," Ashton said. "I wouldn't have been involved in this case if I didn't think she did it."

Huekler said he believed Caylee's death was just a horrific accident and that Casey Anthony was a good mother.

"The first number of witnesses were Casey's friend and every time that they said they saw Casey with Caylee, it was a loving relationship and no one provided evidence to the contrary," Huekler said.

Huekler said the lack of physical evidence that Caylee was murdered overwhelmed the circumstantial evidence of Casey Anthony's many lies and her hard partying in the 31 days when she knew her daughter was dead but didn't tell authorities.

"Yeah, the behavior was bizarre, but what I took from that is that the family was very dysfunctional. Because they were so dysfunctional, that was the norm for them. Casey didn't just start lying for the first 31 days [after Caylee disappeared]. She had been lying for the past two years...I felt it was the norm for her," Huekler said.

Huekler also said it didn't bother him that Casey Anthony did not testify in her own defense.

Mark Lippman, a lawyer for Anthony's parents, said on "Good Morning America" today that George and Cindy Anthony were shocked by the verdict, not because they believe Casey Anthony is guilty, but because they thought the state did a fantastic job presenting their case.

George and Cindy Anthony have not met with their daughter since her trial began, but they hope to meet with her and to one day get the truth about what happened to Caylee.

"There was a slim chance that we were hoping to get some sliver of truth during this trial and that would have been by testimony from Casey…hopefully one day she'll tell her story, but who knows what to believe," Lippman said.

Casey Anthony's defense team argued that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that George Anthony, Casey Anthony's father, helped dispose of the body. In the trial's shocking opening statement, Baez said that Casey Anthony hid her daughter's death in the same way she hid years of sexual abuse by her father and brother.

Defense attorney Jose Baez was not allowed to bring up the alleged abuse in closing arguments because Judge Belvin Perry said there was no proof any abuse occurred. Huekler said that the omission of abuse in closing arguments, did not hurt the defense's case.

Lippman, George and Cindy Anthony's attorney, denied the abuse allegations again today on Good Morning America.

"My client George Anthony and Lee Anthony never molested her and George Anthony had nothing to do with moving the body. And the rest of the things the defense said about my clients in particular never happened," Lippman said.

"This case has destroyed everyone's reputation. Even if it's baseless, there's people out there that are going to believe...for their rest of their lives... what the defense told them."

Casey Anthony will be sentenced Thursday morning for the four misdemeanors she was found guilty of committing.

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