The not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony case was one possibility that never crossed my mind. Although I never thought it was possible that she would get the death penalty, I did think she could be convicted of premeditated murder. I also could conceive of a second degree, manslaughter or aggravated child abuse conviction. I imagined a hung jury was also a possibility. It never crossed my mind that twelve people could agree on a not guilty verdict.
When I heard it on Tuesday afternoon, I went numb and had difficulty processing it. After spending a couple of hours watching the reactions on television and reading messages, tweets and posts, I needed to get away from it all and try to put it out of my mind. I poured a glass of wine, put on some music and picked up Sworn to Silence, a novel by Linda Castillo. Then the phone rang.
The Today Show folks wanted me in New York City the next morning. I packed not knowing a thing about my flight arrangements, It turned out that it was too late in the day to get a flight from San Antonio direct--or even close to that. I ended up flying to Los Angeles where I boarded a red-eye to the Newark Airport.
I thought I would have time at the hotel to shower, change and relax before reporting to the studio. Since I arrived during rush hour, that hope soon dissipated. I reached the hotel at 8:30 Wednesday morning and was due in the studio at 8:45.
I quickly changed, discovering as I did that I forgot to pack my shoes. All I had were the pair of leather thongs that I'd worn to the airport. Fortunately, I could leave my hair and make-up to the professionals at the studio. On set, I tucked my feet behind the rung of the stool on the set hoping no one would notice my footwear.
Hoda and Kathie Lee graciously introduced themselves before the interview. Afterwards, they talked to me about my book and we shared a good laugh over the shoes--a relatable moment for women everywhere.
In the green room, I snatched a piece of string cheese for breakfast, headed back to the hotel and got my much desired shower. I checked out before noon and was on my way back to the airport for a much welcomed direct flight.
Along the way, I thought a lot about the jury's decision. I had reviewed the forensic reports and other evidentiary documents at length. It seemed to me that the ten-plus hours of deliberation did not allow the jury sufficient time to adequately review that evidence. It was as if they based their conclusions solely on the testimony heard in the courtroom and did not consider the evidentiary value of the submitted materials. It seemed as if they took placed more value on the opening statements of the defense than they did on the scientific reports before them.
They balked at the circumstantial evidence wanting a witness to the crime, a confession to the murder or DNA evidence. In most cases, killers do not invite guests to the main event. In this particular death, the Florida heat and the flooding by a hurricane resulted in the decomposition of everything but dry bones. The DNA decomposed like the remains of the biological material. The jurors themselves have said they do not believe Casey is innocent.
I;ve been struggling to catch up on all of your email, tweets and facebook comments but the volume has staggered me. I am still trying. Mixed it with it all, were the name-calling messages from those who disagree with my viewpoint.
I did not base my conclusions on hyperbole or media frenzy. I derived them from a thoughtful consideration of the evidence undercovered during the investigation. I am not a "prosecution hack." Yes, in this case, I sided with the prosecution because I believed they were right. But, I have, in other cases, strongly advocated for wrongful convictions. In one case, I received the Defenders of the Innocent award from the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project.
I wrote my book, Mommy's Little Girl, with a determination to speak the truth and a strong desire to be a voice for the victim, Caylee Marie Anthony. All I wanted was Justice for Caylee.