An alternate juror on the Casey Anthony trial on Wednesday called the defendant a good mother, a day after the jury acquitted Anthony of first degree murder, manslaughter and child abuse, while convicting her of lying to police.
The first numbers of witnesses were Casey's friend and every time that they said they saw Casey with Caylee, it was a loving relationship and no one provided evidence to the contrary, alternate juror Russell Huekler told Good Morning America.
Huekler, one of five alternate jurors, said Anthony's behavior, including heavy partying and lying in the days after Caylee went missing, was bizarre. However, he said Casey's lying had been part of a long-term trend.
Yeah, the behavior was bizarre, but what I took from that is that the family was very dysfunctional. Because they were so dysfunctional, that was the norm for them. Casey didn't just start lying for the first 31 days [after Caylee was not seen]. She had been lying for the past two years ... I felt it was the norm for her, he said.
Huekler said that prosecutors failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt because they did not show how Caylee died and did not show a motive. He said he was shocked by public outrage over the verdict.
I'm sorry people feel that way, he said. These were 17 total jurors. They really listened to this case and kept an open mind.
Legal commentator blasts verdict
Nancy Grace, a legal commentator on the HLN cable network and lawyer, blasted Casey Anthony's Defense team on Tuesday for celebrating the verdicts.
While expressing trust in the jury system, she said the verdict did not represent the truth. She urged viewers not to forget that Caylee had died. The defense team said Casey had drowned while prosecutors maintained that Casey had killed Caylee by suffocating her with duct tape.
Grace had dubbed Anthony Tot Mom.
I absolutely cannot believe that Caylee's death has gone unavenged, Grace said after the verdicts were read. Tot Mom will be walking free.
There is no way that this is a verdict that speaks the truth, she added.
Grace, reacting to reports the defense team was celebrating the verdicts, said it was wrong to do so.
The defense team is inside a bar having a champagne toast right now. Now you know what? I'm not a preacher and I'm not a rabbi but there's something wrong with that.
Somewhere out there, the devil is dancing tonight, she said.
As the verdicts were read on Tuesday, Casey Anthony was standing, holding the hands of her defense attorneys. Upon hearing the jury's decision that she was cleared of the first count of first degree murder, Anthony's stern expression changed to what appeared to be anguish and sobs, followed by slightly heavier breathing.
She gave similar expressions after being found not guilty for the charge of aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child.
After each of the 12 jurors affirmed the verdicts were true and correct, Anthony showed a slight grin and cried as she hugged her defense attorney Jose Baez.
Judge Belvin Perry, of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in and for Orange County, Fla., set Thursday at 9 a.m. as the appointed time to sentence Anthony for her four misdemeanor convictions.
As the trial wound to a close, prosecutor Jeff Ashton told the jury that being a parent is about so much more than playing with your children.
Being a parent is about sacrifice. When you have a child that child becomes your life, he said.
This case is about the clash between that responsibility ... and the life that Casey Anthony wanted to have.
Casey Anthony decided on June 16th that something had to be sacrificed, Ashton said. She took [her daughter's] life and put her in the trunk [of her car] and forgot about her, Ashton said.
However, Defense Attorney Jose Baez raised doubts about Anthony's father George Anthony, who the defense maintained had been involved in covering up the disappearance of Caylee, whom the defense said had drowned.
He wanted to distance himself from the situation. He knew she was dead, Baez said.
He said more information could have been obtained about George Anthony if state authorities would have tracked his movements closer.
Expert Witness on Grief
A grief expert told jurors last week that people suffer in different ways and that young people grieve reluctantly.
They don't suffer it in the same way. If I were to poll the room I would find that each of you handle it differently, said Sally Karioth of Florida State University.
Karioth said she was speaking generally, and could not talk specifically about Casey Anthony.
Young adults are reluctant grievers, she said. They may drink too much. They may do drugs too much.
Casey had faced the death penalty if she had been convicted.
During the trial, photos of Caylee's skull were shown as it was discovered about 6 months after she went missing on June 16, 2008.
The front of the skull had duct tape and surrounding it were a white canvas bag, black plastic bag, a red Disney bag and a white blanket. The scene in the photos presented was in a wooded area. A path to Caylee's remains was barely discernible amid vegetation.