The judge who presided over the notorious Casey Anthony murder trial is speaking out about Casey's possible involvement in her daughter's tragic death for the first time. Retired Judge Belvin Perry is now working as a lawyer in Florida, and according to him, it's "more than likely" that Casey Anthony killed 2-year-old Caylee with too much chloroform back in 2008. However, according to the judge, if Casey did kill Caylee (a crime she was acquitted of), it was most likely "purely accidental."As CNN reports, the Casey Anthony trial judge talked about the death of Caylee Anthony during a recent segment of HLN's On The Story, and he cited some evidence put forth at trial as the basis of his conclusion. While the skeletal remains of little Caylee Anthony were too badly decomposed to allow the medical examiner in the case to determine a cause of death, Judge Perry says that the high levels of chloroform found in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car indicate that the chemical was likely used in connection with Caylee's death.
A police investigation into the disappearance of Caylee Anthony (it would be nearly six months before the toddler's body was found not far from her grandparent's home) also uncovered that someone had conducted chloroform-related searches on the family computer before Caylee was reported missing.For those who don't remember, it took Casey Anthony a month to let anyone know that she had misplaced her 2-year-old daughter. The first person to realize that Caylee was gone was Casey's mom, Cindy Anthony, who immediately called police. In talking to Florida law enforcement, she says that her daughter's car "smells like a dead body." Casey initially told investigators that her daughter had been kidnapped by a babysitter, but inconsistencies in her story led to her arrest in connection with the little girl's disappearance in June of 2008.
It wasn't until December that Caylee's skeletal remains were discovered; by that time, circumstantial evidence in the case had already led to Casey Anthony being incarcerated and charged with the girl's murder.
In the U.S., chloroform is a banned anesthetic. That didn't stop excessive amounts of the chemical from being found in Casey's car. According to the judge in the case, it's most likely that Casey was attempting to sedate her child and accidentally killed her instead.
"It's quite evident that whoever did this, and more than likely it may have been Casey, used too much (chloroform)."The trial of Casey Anthony took place in 2011, and it was a national media circus. At that time, prosecutors alleged that Casey had deliberately killed Caylee with chloroform and duct tape. After the little girl's death, prosecutors and investigators attempted to build a case that Casey Anthony transported her 2-year-old's body in her car's trunk before dumping the body in the woods.
Casey Anthony's defense team had a different story entirely. They painted a picture of a popular, social 22-year-old mom who endured the worst tragedy any parent can face. According to the defense, little Caylee accidentally drowned in the Anthony family pool on June 16, 2008. Afterward, the defense team claimed that a distraught and panicked Casey (along with her dad, George Anthony) covered up Caylee's death.Casey Anthony was found not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child on July 5, 2011. The young mother didn't get off the hook entirely, however, and was convicted of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement. She ended up being sentenced to time served and was soon back out on the streets.
Many across America have harshly judged the jury in the Casey Anthony murder trial, arguing that they got it wrong and that Casey got away with murder. According to the judge, the jury isn't to blame for their decision. In fact, in his recent interview, Judge Perry said that Casey Anthony had something of a split personality in the courtroom, and that the jury only saw one side.
"Casey in the presence of the jury was very calm, very easygoing, mild-mannered, in a very sympathetic-appearing person."When the jury wasn't around, however, Judge Perry says that Casey Anthony was, "quite in charge, quite demanding and quite manipulative."
"The jury did what the jury did and there are various views as to how this evidence could be perceived. Thus, there's a reasonable doubt. We don't know. We don't know translates to not guilty."However, the judge in the Casey Anthony case says that if Anthony, dubbed "America's most hated mom," did kill Caylee, even by accident, the jury could have found her guilty of the lesser charges of second-degree murder or even manslaughter. Neither happened. Despite being found not guilty of killing her daughter, the attention that her case drew has turned Casey Anthony into something of a recluse. She's still living in South Florida, but she rarely goes out. When she does, she is often recognized and harassed by people who are certain that she is responsible for her daughter's death. Last year, she was heckled and verbally assaulted at a local bowling alley until she and her group packed up and left.
So far, neither Casey Anthony, nor her legal team has responded to Judge Perry's explosive theory regarding the death of little Caylee.
[Featured Image by Joe Burbank/Pool/AP Images]