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Monday, Jul 24, 2017
Crime & Courts

Casey Anthony's partying didn't factor in death, jury foreman says

TAMPA - Casey Anthony's behavior in the weeks before reporting her child was missing "disgusted" the jury foreman, but he said it didn't factor in the toddler's death. The foreman, interviewed by Fox News Channel's Greta van Susteren in St. Petersburg, also said he was "stunned" when the prosecution rested and that Anthony's father could have been responsible for the 2-year-old Caylee Anthony's death. Juror No. 11's name was not given during the interview, which aired Tuesday night during Fox News' "On the Record" program. Part 1 of the interview aired Monday, and another segment is scheduled for tonight. Anthony was found not guilty of first-degree murder and other major charges related to Caylee's death. Prosecutors tried to prove Anthony used chloroform and duct tape to suffocate the girl. The defense said Caylee accidently drowned in the family pool.
Anthony is slated to be released from jail Sunday, after serving the final days of a four-year sentence for lying to investigators. The verdict shocked many observers who watched the trial, which included evidence of Casey Anthony going to nightclubs and partying during the 31 days after Caylee went missing during the summer of 2008. "Well, it disgusted us," the jury foreman said of Anthony's behavior during that period. "… That's what makes this … is what made it very hard for us." Because jurors were asked to convict on "cause of death" Anthony's behavior wasn't part of deliberations, the jurist said. "… Much of the time we were in that trial, a lot of it dealt with her actions afterwards," juror No. 11 said. "And that's something that although it is disgusting, it is heinous, we weren't really able to take into consideration … with the coming down with the verdict on the indictments." He added that there should be a law that a missing child be reported. "It's something that, I wish - because of that and seeing that, it'd be - we wished there was something else we could look at that'd be more - that'd be a felony. … and we don't have the power to do this." The foreman said the prosecution lacked evidence needed to convict on the major charges. "When they rested, I wanted more," he said. "… I don't know if there was more for them to give. I wanted more, though, because I thought it really put us at that point in a situation where this is going to be -- this is going to be difficult." The jurist complimented the prosecutors, but added "at some times, I thought they made light of things that I didn't … consider was in good taste." He cited assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton's laughing during the defense's closing argument and a comment about "pigs in the blanket" during testimony of the defense's entomology expert, who used a pig carcass to study insects and decomposition. "You're there for a long time, and I understand that many things pop up that could be humorous, but you always have to keep in the back of your mind that there's a young girl who's died," the jury foreman said. You know, we need to maintain our focus." Juror No. 11 said the panel had issues with the motive offered by the state, and that jurors deliberated little about that motive, he said. "In our eyes, (it) was just kind of weak, you know, that a mother would want to do something like that to her child just so that she can go out and party," he said. The foreman said Anthony's lawyers, meantime, "pushed the reasonable doubt." "I thought they did a good job in their closing remarks of, you know, sticking to their guns in that regard," he said. As in Part 1 of the Fox interview, the foreman pointed out credibility issues the jury had with Anthony's father, George, but thought her brother, Lee Anthony, was "very genuine." The foreman said part of the doubt jurors had was because George Anthony and Casey Anthony were home when the child was last seen. There was a "gray area, there's no way that we can tell the responsibility," he said, adding some jurors thought the father could not be ruled out as the killer. George Anthony "was there at the time on that day that all the gray area is happening with us, and that puts him in that mix." The foreman also said jurors took their role seriously, despite criticism from observers that they reached a verdict in such a complicated case in less than 11 hours. "We weighed the evidence," he said. "There's a difference between quality of time and quantity of time. "We remained focused. We had a nice system in place. We were dedicated. We did not take many breaks. We had a course of action that everyone took serious. This was a very serious matter and all of us took it serious." A "pre-vote" taken before any deliberations came up 10 not guilty, two guilty on the first-degree murder charge. The two who voted guilty were focused on "the chloroform, the duct tape," the foreman said. "We dissected the word or the verbiage that was on the indictment and looked at our notes and looked at the evidence. The killing … was not something that we could get," he said. He added that the trial took an emotionally toll on some of jurors, who were selected from Pinellas County and sequestered in Orlando for more than six weeks. After the verdict was announced, "there was sobbing, there was tears." "The whole process was very stressful for us," he said.
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