Casey Anthony acquitted

The jury's decision stunned millions of Americans, but the jurors thought there wasn't enough evidence to convict Anthony of murdering her daughter.

In a verdict that shocked millions of Americans who had followed the case for more than a year, unmarried mother Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, so she could be free to live as a single woman. The prosecution presented a strong circumstantial case, including the 25-year-old Anthony’s failure to report her daughter missing for more than a month while she went clubbing and got a tattoo that said “the good life” in Italian. There were indications that Anthony had researched how to make chloroform, and prosecutors argued that duct tape found over the nose and mouth of Caylee’s decomposed body was incontrovertible evidence of murder. But the defense posited an alternative scenario, saying the toddler drowned in a pool and a panicked Casey enlisted her father’s help to dispose of the body. Juror Jennifer Ford said she and other jurors cried and were “sick to their stomachs’’ over acquitting Anthony, but felt “there was not enough evidence’’ to convict her.

This verdict was “far more shocking” than the acquittal of O.J. Simpson, said former Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark in The​ None of the defense’s proffered reasons to doubt Anthony’s guilt were remotely reasonable, but “that distinction can get lost” in the jury room. As a result, a “25-year-old sociopath” now walks free, said Andrea Peyser in the New York Post. Casey Anthony was convicted only of lying to police—“one would assume, about killing her daughter”—and could be released immediately, since she’s already spent three years in jail. “She never shed a tear” for her dead baby. As cable TV’s Nancy Grace said, “Somewhere out there tonight, the devil is dancing.”

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