The judge who presided over the Casey Anthony murder trial has finally broken his silence about case’s controversial verdict. Circuit Judge Belvin Perry Jr. is now retired, and he has come forward with his own theory about what happened to little Caylee Anthony, who vanished in June of 2008. The 2-year-old’s remains were found months later, as her mom Casey Anthony sat in prison awaiting trial for the tot’s murder. What was left of little Caylee was skeletal, and a cause of death was never determined.
As Western Journalism reports, throughout the preparation for the trial, Casey Anthony and her defense team maintained her innocence, despite the fact that she waited a month to report Caylee missing. Even after police became involved with the then-disappearance of Casey Anthony’s daughter, the woman who would go on to be dubbed “the most hated mom in America” repeatedly changed her story with regard to what had happened to her child.
Over the course of the investigation into Caylee’s disappearance, which was reported to Florida authorities by Casey’s mother Cindy when she became aware that her granddaughter hadn’t been seen for weeks, detectives discovered something disturbing on the Anthony family’s home computer: repeated searches for the term “chloroform.” Traces of the substance were ultimately found in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car, a trunk that Casey’s own mother told police smelled “like a dead body.”
During the Casey Anthony murder trial, which ran from May to July 2011, prosecutors argued that Casey Anthony had killed Caylee with chloroform combined with duct tape over the little girl’s mouth, which would have resulted in suffocation. As CNN reports, when police initially became involved with Casey Anthony, she told them that her daughter had disappeared with a childcare provider named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, later dubbed “Zanny the Nanny.”
When Casey’s defense team presented their case at her murder trial, however, the shocking tale presented to jurors had nothing to do with a kidnapped toddler. Rather, they told the court that Caylee Anthony had accidentally drowned in her grandparents’ pool. They claimed that a terrified 22-year-old Casey panicked and disposed of her daughter’s body, concocting an abduction story to cover up the girl’s death.
On July 5, 2011, the jury in the Casey Anthony murder trial returned their verdict. Much to the collective shock and anger of an American public who had been watching the case almost religiously, Anthony was found not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and aggravated child abuse. She was convicted of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement, all misdemeanors, and sentenced to time served. Within days, Casey Anthony was a free woman, but many believed and still believe that she got away with murder.
As Fox News reports, Judge Belvin Perry Jr. seems to agree that Casey was responsible for Caylee’s death. During a recent interview, the judge said that he thinks that Casey Anthony likely killed her toddler daughter by accident. In an interview published in The Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday, Judge Perry said that he believes that Casey Anthony did use chloroform on her 2-year-old.
@orlandosentinel which in turn means she covered it up on purpose...this judge should be ashamed he allowed such a mockery of justice— sammyC (@kobrakai4life) March 1, 2017
@NYDailyNews This mama's gut reaction is NO. Most definitely not an accident. Lies. Fictional babysitter. 30days keeping it from parents...— bitchkitty (@UPGirlcd) March 1, 2017
However, the judge contended that he thinks that Casey Anthony was only using the chloroform to “quiet Caylee down,” and accidentally ended up using enough to kill the small child.
“I think upon the evidence, the most logical thing that happened was that she tried to knock her daughter out by use of chloroform. There was a possibility that she may have utilized that to keep the baby quiet… and just used too much of it, and the baby died.”
Despite believing that Casey may have inadvertently killed Caylee in an attempt to keep her quiet (and citing the infamous evidence of chloroform searches uncovered by investigators), Judge Perry still doesn’t fault the jury of seven women and five men who acquitted her of her daughter’s murder. Members of the Casey Anthony jury have come under fire in the years since her trial, often being publicly accused of helping her to “get away with murder.” However, members of the jury have long argued that the prosecution simply didn’t prove their case and that the defense’s surprise testimony involving an accidental drowning was enough to incite reasonable doubt.
“The prosecution did not prove their case. The big question that was not answered: How did Caylee die?”
While Judge Perry attempted to answer that question in his recent interview, he admitted that an accidental chloroform overdose was only one of many guesses and theories as to how Caylee Anthony’s life was so tragically cut short.
“As I’ve expressed, the only person that really knows what happened was Casey.”
However, if the jury had reached the same conclusion as the judge in the case, they could have convicted Casey Anthony of second-degree murder or manslaughter, and she would likely have been sentenced to some serious prison time.
Many have argued that the behavior of Casey Anthony after her daughter went missing (but before the disappearance was reported) was damning in and of itself. Casey seemingly showed no outward signs of grief or remorse in the days after she claims that her daughter drowned. The young mom continued with her previous lifestyle of partying and the like even after she says she knew that her toddler had already passed away. Just four days after Caylee allegedly drowned, Casey Anthony was at a Florida bar competing in a “hot body contest.”
[Featured Image by Joe Burbank/Pool/AP Images]