ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – The judge who presided over the trial of Casey Anthony said Monday he believed there was enough evidence to convict the Florida mother who was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter.
Judge Belvin Perry told NBC’s “Today” show that he thought there was sufficient evidence for a conviction on a first-degree murder charge, even though much of the evidence was circumstantial.
Anthony was acquitted almost two years ago of killing her daughter, Caylee, following a trial that attracted worldwide attention. She was convicted of making false statements to police and got credit for time served.
When he read the jury’s verdict, Belvin said he felt “surprise, shock, disbelief” and read it twice.
“I just wanted to be sure I was reading what I was reading,” Perry said.
Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez, refused to say anything to The Associated Press about the interview when reached by phone. He said he would comment after a request had gone through his Los Angeles-based spokesman.
A spokeswoman for the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which oversees Florida judges, didn’t immediately return a phone call.
The judge said he saw two sides to Anthony. The one she showed to jurors was a wrongfully accused mother grieving for her child. The other was a woman wasn’t afraid to shout and swear at her attorneys, as she did when they talked to her about a possible plea deal for aggravated murder.
“There were always two sides to Casey,” Perry said. “The public persona that she wanted the jury to see and there was a side that she showed when the jury wasn’t there.”
Perry also said he thought prosecutors were better attorneys than Baez, who the judge described as “personable.” All the defense had to do was create reasonable doubt, which they did, he said.
“He came across as someone you would like,” Perry said of Baez. “Like someone trying to sell a used car. Who are you going to buy from? The most likable salesman.”
The judge also said he thought justice had been served with a jury verdict.
“Justice will finally be served one day by the Judge of Judges,” Perry said. “She is going to have to live with this and deal with this for the rest of her life.”
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