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Casey Anthony juror #2 says the jury wanted to find her guilty, but the evidence 'wasn't there'

Juror No. 2 remembers when he sat down with his fellow jurors on Monday. Finally, they could talk about the trial that had consumed six weeks of their lives. Finally, those in the jury room could ask themselves the question the rest of the world wanted answered:

Was Casey Anthony guilty of first-degree murder?

"Everybody agreed if we were going fully on feelings and emotions," the juror said, "she was done."

But the 12 jurors from Pinellas County knew that feelings and emotions alone were not enough to decide the fate of the young Orlando mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony.

"We just wanted to go on the evidence that was presented to us," he said.

But there just wasn't enough evidence to convict the mother of murder, Juror No. 2 said in an exclusive interview Wednesday with the St. Petersburg Times.

"I just swear to God …," he said, his voice falling silent, overcome by tears. "I wish we had more evidence to put her away. I truly do …

"But it wasn't there."

The Times is not naming the juror because he said he wants to keep his family safe from the scrutiny of the media and the public. He came forward, in part, to explain to the world how the jury made its decision.

Another Casey Anthony juror echoed his thoughts in an interview with ABC News. According to news reports, another juror is offering to tell his story for a fee. For now, all their names remain sealed by the order of a judge.

The jury's decision Tuesday to find Casey Anthony not guilty of the murder of her child shocked a nation that has quickly become obsessed with the case.

Juror No. 2 said it was not an easy decision to make. But in the end, he said, it was the only decision they could make given the evidence presented to them.

Many are outraged that Casey Anthony may go free at her sentencing today. So is Juror No. 2.

She is "not a good person in my opinion," he said, his voice again overcome by emotion.

• • •

Interest in the Casey Anthony case had become all-consuming in Central Florida. So in May, Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. came to Pinellas hoping to select an impartial jury from here.

Juror No. 2 turned 46 during the trial. He is married, a father of two: a 9-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl. He works in information technology. He was one of two black jurors on the panel.

It took six weeks before the case finally went to the jury. They were sent back into the jury room at 12:10 p.m. Monday — the Fourth of July.

After finding Casey Anthony guilty of four counts of lying to law enforcement ("A gimme," said Juror No. 2) they discussed the most serious charge: first-degree murder. There are only two sentences: life in prison without parole or death by lethal injection.

The state's theory is that Casey Anthony suffocated her daughter with duct tape, then dumped her body in a swamp near the home they shared with the girl's grandparents. She didn't want to be a mother anymore, the state said, and she partied with friends and got a tattoo while her child was unaccounted for.

But the only forensic evidence was possible signs of human decomposition in the mother's trunk, and the child's decomposed remains found six months later.

The first vote was 10-2 against first-degree murder.

"We didn't know how she died, we didn't know when she died," said Juror No. 2, who was one of the 10. "Technically, we didn't even know where she died.

"You couldn't say who did it. To me, that's why it was aggravated manslaughter of a child."

• • •

That was the next charge the jury could have found 25-year-old Casey Anthony guilty of. It carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Juror No. 2 believed the mother was guilty of "culpable negligence" as required of that charge. He wasn't alone.

The vote on Tuesday was 6-6 for manslaughter. The two sides hardened. They started talking over one another. The jury foreman calmed them all down.

Here the defense's theory was key: They told the jury that Caylee accidentally drowned and the family tried to cover it up. But the defense also accused George Anthony of sexually abusing his daughter Casey — a charge he denied. The defense said the abuse trained Casey Anthony to lie and live in denial.

The jury didn't believe anything George Anthony said on the stand, according to Juror No. 2.

But more importantly to the jurors who opposed the manslaughter charge, no one could say who was Caylee's caretaker — the mother or the grandparents — when the child actually died.

If it was murder, who did it? If she died accidentally, then who was the child's caretaker?

But Juror No. 2 didn't buy that.

"The six that voted guilty said it didn't matter at what point in time she came home and found out her daughter was missing," he said. "She had to report it in some way, shape or form, and that's where the negligence came in."

But some jurors, he said, had decided not to convict Casey Anthony of any charge in the girl's death. By lunch Tuesday, the guilty side started to lose votes.

Juror No. 2 was the last holdout. Deliberations lasted for 11 hours over two days. They filed into court at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday to hand over their verdict.

"We truly don't know what happened," he said. "Somebody knows, but we don't know."

• • •

In an interview with ABC News Wednesday night, juror Jennifer Ford was of the same mind.

"There wasn't enough evidence," said Ford, who was Juror No. 3. "I don't think anyone in America can tell us how she died. We have no idea."

Ford is known as the juror who had never heard of the case before she was selected for jury duty. Her mother said her daughter is a quiet person who was always studying for her nursing degree at St. Petersburg College. She didn't read newspapers or watch TV. She is white and 32 years old.

The verdict did not feel good, Ford added. She and her fellow jurors were in tears afterward.

"It was a heartbreaking decision to have to make but I had to do it based on the law …," she told ABC News. "You have to prove what happened, and then I'll give Caylee justice."

But even her mother was surprised by the verdict.

"I was in shock," said Lynn Ford, who is retired and lives in Largo with her daughter, "but I would never ever want her to vote any other way than the right way."

• • •

Jennifer Ford went to stay with a friend in St. Petersburg once she found out the media was at her home. She was particularly unnerved to learn that someone, likely from the media, was following the van that brought her home, her mother said.

So far only Ford and an alternate juror have gone public with their names. Another unnamed juror, No. 6, has retained a publicist and will only speak for a fee, according to a letter obtained by the website TMZ.com.

Today several media organizations, including the St. Petersburg Times, will challenge the judge's order sealing the jury's names from public view.

Juror No. 2 is dreading the media attention.

"I just want to be left alone," he said.

He is emotionally exhausted, relying on friends and family to help him recover. But then the father of two thinks about the photos of Caylee's remains.

"For me it was not a good outcome," said Juror No. 2, his voice breaking. "Those pictures … I'll probably never forget them.

"To think that somebody would do that to a child."

Times staff writer Luis Perez contributed to this report.

Casey Anthony juror #2 says the jury wanted to find her guilty, but the evidence 'wasn't there' 07/06/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 8, 2011 5:02pm]
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