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Anthony prosecutor respects verdict, likens juries to 'dice game'

By the CNN Wire Staff
Jose Baez, lead defense attorney for Casey Anthony, answers questions after the jury found his client not guilty.
Jose Baez, lead defense attorney for Casey Anthony, answers questions after the jury found his client not guilty.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Prosecutor says jurors thought they did the right thing
  • Verdict brought justice for Caylee, defense attorney says
  • Ashton claims Anthony showed premeditation in the death of Caylee, 2
  • The Florida prosecutor is retiring

(CNN) -- A prosecutor in the Casey Anthony trial said Wednesday that jurors might have acquitted her even if she had opened herself up to a tough cross-examination by taking the stand.

"From what I am understanding from those few hints we've gotten from the jury ... it sounds like their decision was based simply on the state's case. I don't know if she would have said anything that would have changed that," assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton said on HLN's "Dr. Drew."

Casey Anthony's lawyer, meanwhile, said that her acquittal signified justice for little Caylee Anthony, 2, who prosecutors unsuccessfully argued died at the hands of her mother.

"Caylee would never have wanted her mother to suffer this way," defense attorney Jose Baez told Barbara Walters of ABC News. "Caylee certainly never wanted her mother to die."

After less than 11 hours of deliberation, a jury Tuesday found Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder and the other most serious charges. But the jury convicted her on four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement officers. She will be sentenced Thursday.

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Juror Jennifer Ford told ABC News that she and the other jurors cried and were "sick to our stomachs" after voting to acquit Anthony.

"I did not say she was innocent," said Ford, who had previously only been identified as juror number 3. "I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be."

An unidentified male juror told the St. Petersburg Times there wasn't enough evidence.

"I wish we had more evidence to put her away," the juror said. "I truly do..."

Ashton told Dr. Drew Pinsky he saw a juror in tears at the time the verdict was read. "I have to believe that they honestly thought they were doing the right thing based on the law and evidence as they saw it."

The prosecutor also likened juries to a "dice game. You never know. You throw the dice."

Ashton said that three pieces of duct tape found on Caylee's skull were crucial to the state meeting the burden of proof.

"If it didn't tell the jury the same story it told me, so be it," he said.

In an interview earlier Wednesday, Ashton recalled his shock at the verdict.

"When I heard the 'not guilty' on the child abuse, I knew that was it," he said. "I remember mouthing 'wow' four or five times to myself."

Ashton, speaking with InSession's Beth Karas, said he is convinced there was no evidence that Caylee died accidentally in 2008.

Prosecutors alleged Casey Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious and then duct-taped her mouth and nose to suffocate her. They said that she put the child's body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it. Caylee's skeletal remains were discovered December 11, 2008, by former Orange County meter reader Roy Kronk.

Defense attorneys maintained the child drowned in the Anthony's above-ground pool on June 16, and that Casey Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked upon finding her there and covered up the death. George Anthony denied that in his testimony.

Ashton told InSession that Casey Anthony showed premeditation by "her leaving with Caylee and her never being seen again."

The prosecutor acknowledged no expert determination of a cause of death was significant. Still, Ashton said, he would like to know how duct tape came to be found on Caylee's skull.

Ashton also spoke of confrontations at pre-trial hearings and during the trial with Baez.

"For Jose, everybody that was on the other side was the enemy and was lying and was this and that," Ashton said. "We went through a lot of accusations and there were times when I responded to them. We fought hard and I fight hard with most people I went to trial with."

There will be no legal restrictions on Casey Anthony profiting on the details of this case, cashing in on deals for movies, books or interviews, analysts say.

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed a motion seeking reimbursement by Anthony, based on her convictions, for special costs related to investigation and prosecution.

Much was made of Casey Anthony's behavior, included partying, after Caylee disappeared.

"We judge people pretty harshly. We judge them as if we know how we would react in their shoes," Baez told ABC. "We are not in their shoes. We have not lived the life they have lived."

"People respond to trauma in various ways," Baez said, adding he is concerned about Anthony's personal security.

After 30 years, Ashton is retiring. He put that off to help handle the Anthony case.

"This case was the most fascinating, complex, the most challenging case that I could possibly hope for," he said. "Everything after this would just be boring."

CNN's Lateef Mungin contributed to this report.

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