BOSTON (CBS) – On Tuesday, jurors found Florida mother Casey Anthony not guilty on charges she killed her two-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008.
They only convicted Anthony on charges that she lied to police. If the judge sentences her to time already served, she could walk away a free woman.
What led to this stunning verdict? What really happened to little Caylee?
Prominent local lawyer Wendy Murphy, who followed the Anthony case closely, is theorizing that the wrong charges were brought in the case.
WBZ’s Jon Keller is at large:
There’s a lot of anger being directed at that Florida jury, but Murphy, a New England Law School professor, said the anger is being misdirected. Instead of blaming the jury, she says, take a look at the prosecution’s failure to match the evidence with the charge.
“There was no evidence, in my opinion, to prove that Casey Anthony killed her child,” said Murphy.
Murphy was one of the few national legal pundits to predict Anthony would beat the murder rap. There is plenty of reason to dislike the defendant, she notes, but none directly linking her to Caylee’s death.
“There was a lot of evidence that she lied, plenty of evidence that she wasn’t the best parent, and there’s no question she didn’t act appropriately when the child first went missing. She was not reporting the child, she seemed almost nonplussed, but the jury can’t say responsibly because she was a bad mother, she killed her, and that was the real gaping hole in this case,” said Murphy.
Murphy and other legal analysts agree there were errors made by the prosecutors, perhaps most grievously, the decision to bring murder charges without a definitive cause of death.
“There was justice for the defendant, and absolutely no justice for the child, at least, not yet,” said Murphy.
Murphy says she did extensive research on the testimony at this trial and agrees with the defense team that many legal pundits unfairly jumped to conclusions about Anthony’s guilt. She’s calling for impounded pictures and other evidence seized from the child’s home to be released, but doubts that will happen.
Anthony’s parents were in court when the verdict was read. They left without speaking to their daughter.