Casey Anthony cleared of murdering daughter Caylee
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The not guilty verdict that could free Casey Anthony by this weekend stunned spectators, legal pundits and the prosecutors who failed to prove she killed her toddler daughter. A day later, jurors were declining to say how they came to their quick decision, and even murkier was Anthony's relationship with parents who haven't talked to her since the trial ended.
A case that involved years of forensic investigation, weeks of testimony and untold hours of media analysis was ultimately decided by jurors in less than 11 hours. Early in their second day of deliberations, the 12 men and women concluded Tuesday that Anthony lied to investigators but wasn't guilty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter.
Now Anthony waits to learn if she could spend her first night out of jail in almost three years. She was only convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to investigators, and it's possible that the judge could sentence her Thursday to time already served. The lying counts each carry a maximum sentence of one year.
It's not clear whether Anthony would be welcomed back to the house the 25-year-old single mother once shared with her daughter and parents.
George and Cindy Anthony left court quickly without hugging or saying anything to their daughter after the verdict was read. Their attorney, Mark Lippman, told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday that they hadn't spoken with their daughter since the verdict.
Anthony has been in jail since her October 2008 arrest on first-degree murder charges. The case began in July of that year when Caylee Anthony was reported missing.
"I'm very happy for Casey, ecstatic for her and I want her to be able to grieve and grow and somehow get her life back together," defense attorney Jose Baez said Tuesday. "I think this case is a perfect example of why the death penalty does not work ... Murder is not right, no matter who does it."
Tears welled in Anthony's eyes, her face reddened, her lips trembled, and she began breathing heavily as she listened to the verdict. She was found not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse.
Prosecutor Jeff Ashton told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday that the verdict left him and other prosecutors in shock.
"I think I mouthed the word `wow' about five times," he said.
Ashton said he respects the way the jury handled the case, and that he believes they applied the law as they understood it.
"Beyond a reasonable doubt is a high standard," he said.
The jurors - seven women and five men - would not talk to the media, and their identities were kept secret by the court.
But alternate juror Russell Huekler said he feels compassion for Casey Anthony and hopes she gets help because she can "no longer live a life of lies."
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