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NY Times – Juror in Anthony Case Says Acquittals Took an Emotional Toll

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

Pool photo by Joe Burbank

The jurors declined to attend a news briefing Tuesday after acquitting Casey Anthony of murdering her 2-year-old daughter.

By  and 
Published: July 6, 2011

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A juror in the Casey Anthony trial broke her silence on Wednesday and said the jury was emotionally shattered by its own verdict of not guilty.

The juror, Jennifer Ford, a 32-year-old nursing student, said that jurors were “sick to their stomachs” after acquitting Ms. Anthony of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, ABC News reported.

“I did not say she was innocent,” said Ms. Ford, who was juror No. 3. “I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be.”

“I’m still confused,” she added. “I have no idea what happened to that child.”

After issuing the verdict, jurors felt so overwhelmed that they could not speak with reporters, Ms. Ford said.

“We were crying, and not just the women,” she added. “It was emotional, and we weren’t ready. We wanted to do it with integrity and not contribute to the sensationalism of the trial.”

Ms. Ford called the other six women and five men on the jury a “great bunch of people.”

The jurors, from Pinellas County, spent nearly six weeks living out their own brand of isolation in a hotel in Orlando, in Orange County. Publicity in the city had been so pervasive that the judge felt compelled to import a jury from another county. Jurors’ rooms were watched by guards. But, Ms. Ford said, “There was high morale,” adding: “We all joked. We are like a big group of cousins.”

The interview with Ms. Ford came as the television networks jousted on Wednesday for interviews with jurors and lawyers in the case, emphasizing that they would not pay for the interviews.

Networks are known to license photos and videos to woo guests to their shows, a practice that some say amounts to de facto payments for interviews. Sometimes the licensing deals are lined up through brokers or other representatives.

In an interview at her home on Wednesday night, Lynn Ford, Jennifer Ford’s mother, said ABC News did not pay Ms. Ford but treated her and four others to a trip to Disney World. ABC is a unit of the Walt Disney Company.

Earlier Wednesday, a representative of another juror contacted the broadcast news networks, offering an interview contingent on a mid-five-figure fee.

The networks reported being approached by Rick French, a publicist from North Carolina. One network executive said the fee being sought was $50,000. Mr. French did not return phone calls Wednesday afternoon.

NBC’s “Today” show and ABC’s “The View” each interviewed Jeff Ashton, the 30-year veteran prosecutor in the case. He said on “The View” that he was “shocked” by the not-guilty verdict because jury deliberations were so swift and seamless.

“I think ultimately it came down to the evidence,” he said. “I think ultimately it came down to cause of death.”

Ms. Anthony, 25, who was also found not guilty of aggravated manslaughter and felony child abuse, will be sentenced Thursday morning for lesser crimes. The jury found her guilty of four counts of lying to police investigators, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison for each count.

But because Ms. Anthony has served more than two and a half years in jail, mostly in isolation, she will probably be sentenced to time served by Judge Belvin Perry Jr. and walk free from the Orlando courthouse.

Where Ms. Anthony will go next and whether she will ultimately publish her own account are the next big questions occupying those who closely watched the three-year case.

Prosecutors argued that Ms. Anthony killed her child to be free of the obligations of motherhood, preferring instead a carefree life of boyfriends and bars. They said she dosed Caylee with chloroform, suffocated her with duct tape and dumped her body in the woods.

But medical examiners could never determine how and when Caylee died because her remains were nothing but bones when found. Prosecutors also had no solid physical evidence or witnesses tying Ms. Anthony to the crime. Instead, they portrayed her as a liar — a point her lawyer Jose Baez conceded — and a callous mother who partied after Caylee’s disappearance.

Lizette Alvarez reported from Clearwater, and Bill Carter from New York. Brian Stelter contributed reporting from New York.

© 2011 The New York Times


One Response to “NY Times – Juror in Anthony Case Says Acquittals Took an Emotional Toll”

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