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Casey Anthony prosecutor responds to juror remark

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • If the jurors considered punishment, they didn't follow the law, prosecutor Ashton says
  • Ashton says he accepts the verdict and believes the jury based it on evidence
  • One juror says if you can't prove what the crime was, you can't determine punishment
  • Defense attorney says the acquittal brings justice for 2-year-old Caylee

(CNN) -- A prosecutor in the Casey Anthony trial responded Thursday to a remark by one of the jurors who acquitted Anthony, saying the jury should not have considered possible penalties in deciding whether she was guilty.

"I hope that was not what they based it on," Jeff Ashton told CNN.

Juror Jennifer Ford told ABC News that she and the other jurors cried and were "sick to our stomachs" after voting to acquit Anthony, who was accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

"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."

Speaking to CNN, Ashton said the jury "shouldn't have been even considering punishment during the guilt phase."

If convicted, Anthony could have faced the death penalty.

Ashton said the jury was instructed that sentencing was not part of what they should consider.

"If they did it based on the penalty then they didn't follow the law," he said.

But Ashton reiterated that he accepts the verdict. He has repeatedly said he believes the jury made the best decision it could based on the evidence presented.

Casey Anthony's lawyer, meanwhile, said the acquittal signified justice for little Caylee.

"Caylee would never have wanted her mother to suffer this way," defense attorney Jose Baez told ABC's Barbara Walters. "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.

An unidentified male juror told the St. Petersburg Times there wasn't enough evidence to convict Anthony on the most serious charges.

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

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.

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 had delayed that retirement 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.