NATION

Casey Anthony cleared of murdering daughter Caylee

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Huekler told The Associated Press that he was shocked to learn of the public's anger over the jury's acquittal of Anthony on a murder charge.

"Those 12 jurors, they worked really, really hard," said Huekler, who wasn't involved in deliberations but sat through more than 33 days of testimony as an alternate. "I'm sure they looked at the law and the evidence that was presented and unfortunately, the prosecution didn't meet their burden of proof."

Prosecutors contended that Anthony suffocated Caylee with duct tape because she wanted to be free to hit the nightclubs and spend time with her boyfriend.

Defense attorneys argued that the little girl accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool and that Anthony panicked and hid the body because of the traumatic effects of being sexually abused by her father. George Anthony denied the defense's allegations that he abused Casey and helped her cover up Caylee's death.

Many in the crowd of about 500 people outside the courthouse Tuesday reacted with anger after the verdict was read, chanting, "Justice for Caylee!" One man yelled, "Baby killer!" Many court-watchers were stunned by the outcome.

The case played out on national television almost from the moment Caylee was reported missing. CNN's Nancy Grace dissected the case at every turn with the zeal of the prosecutor she once was, arguing that Anthony was responsible for her daughter's death. The TV host turned the term "tot mom" into shorthand for Anthony.

Anthony's attorney Cheney Mason blasted the media after the verdict.

"Well, I hope that this is a lesson to those of you having indulged in media assassination for three years, bias, prejudice and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be," Mason said.

"I'm disgusted by some of the lawyers that have done this, and I can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don't know a damn thing about."

State's Attorney Lawson Lamar said prosecutors on his staff were disappointed with the verdict, but he also lamented the lack of hard evidence.

"This is a dry-bones case. Very, very difficult to prove. The delay in recovering little Caylee's remains worked to our considerable disadvantage," he said.

Caylee's disappearance went unreported by her own mother for a month. The child's decomposed body was eventually found in the woods near her grandparents' home six months after she was last seen. A medical examiner was never able to establish how she died.

The case became a macabre tourist attraction in Orlando. People camped outside for seats in the courtroom, and scuffles broke out among those desperate to watch the drama unfold.

Because of publicity in Orlando, jurors were brought in from the Tampa Bay area and sequestered for the entire trial.

In closing arguments, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick showed the jury one image of Anthony partying during the month Caylee was missing and another of the she got a day before law enforcement learned of the child's disappearance. The tattoo was of the Italian words for "beautiful life."

"At the end of this case, all you have to ask yourself is whose life was better without Caylee?" Burdick asked. "This is your answer."

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