MIAMI (CBS4)- As Casey Anthony stood before the courtroom Tuesday afternoon and awaited her faith South Floridians were glued to their televisions and computers for the latest on the decision. In the end, it was a shocker for many and relief for others.
After years of facing charges that she killed her daughter to lead a party lifestyle, Casey Anthony’s claims of innocence were vindicated Tuesday when the jury rejected murder and manslaughter charges that could have sent her to death row, convicting her only of four minor misdemeanor charges.
Many South Floridians have watched the cause closely from the beginning.
“I’m devastated as to this verdict,” Debra Bunker said. “I cannot believe that the verdict has come true to pass. This is another OJ. There is nobody to protect the little voices to say anything. I don’t understand. I don’t.”
One patron at a restaurant told CBS4’s Gio Benitez that justice was not served.
“Someone should go to jail for that,” he said. “That child had to go through all of that. I’m just totally shocked. I can’t believe it.”
As the charge of first degree murder produced a not guilty verdict, and then, lesser charges of and manslaughter child abuse were also rejected, Anthony started to cry.
She was convicted of four counts of lying to a law enforcement officer, and Anthony remains in custody pending sentencing later this week.
Frank Cuarezma said he was shocked.
“It’s just a shocker to me that she was found not guilty on every charge except for lying to the police,” he said.
Those on the other side of the fence say Anthony did not commit the crime.
“I don’t think she is a murderer for real,” Carlos Granados said. “I say it was really, really fair.”
“We had 12 people say that she is not guilty. That’s enough for me,” said Mike Fields of Miami.
Anthony’s attorneys had countered that the girl drowned in the family’s pool. They said Anthony panicked and that her father, a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a homicide by placing duct tape over the child’s mouth and dumping the body in some nearby woods. George Anthony has denied that.
The verdict means that officially, Caylee Anthony’s killer is still at large. Prosecutors made no statement about what, if anything, will be done to pursue any other leads in that case.