Image: File photo of Casey Anthony
Pool  /  Reuters
It's been three months since the jurors found Casey Anthony not guilty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
updated 10/25/2011 4:49:58 PM ET 2011-10-25T20:49:58

The names of the Casey Anthony jurors are public, yet the reason they acquitted her is still largely unknown.

Jurors were either unavailable or didn't want to talk to the media Tuesday when a judge released their names, three months after they found Anthony not guilty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. In the days since the verdict, Anthony and the jurors received death threats and angry messages were posted online. Many people across the nation thought the jurors let a guilty woman go free.

Anthony went into hiding, and it appears jurors have done the same thing.

Associated Press reporters went to the homes where jurors were thought to live, but in most cases, the blinds or drapes were closed and no one answered. Dogs could be heard barking inside some of the homes. When someone did come to the door, they said the juror didn't want to speak or in one case, said the juror didn't live there.

"The jurors have known that this day would be coming for a long time. They've had plenty of time to think about it," said Tampa defense attorney John Fitzgibbons, who was not involved in the Anthony case. "It may simply be that the jurors want to move on from this case. Or it could be some sort of collective decision by the jurors if they are working on something else jointly."

Fearing for their safety, Judge Belvin Perry delayed releasing their names, saying he wanted a "cooling off period" to pass. It may have worked. Vitriolic comments popped up online Tuesday, but in far less numbers.

Legal experts said Perry's decision was reasonable, but highly unusual.

"I can't recall another situation like this, but I think in this case it was necessary," said Leslie Garfield, law professor at Pace Law School in New York. "... You ask people to serve the justice system, but in situations like this there has to be protection for these people. We have to try to protect them somehow."

Anthony was accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in June 2008. After extensive searches for the little girl, her body turned up about six months later in woods near Casey's parents' home in Orlando.

Prosecutors said that Anthony — a single mother living with her parents — suffocated Caylee with duct tape because she wanted to be free to party at nightclubs and spend time with her boyfriend.

Video: Amid backlash, unmasked Anthony jurors lay low (on this page)

But prosecutors could never say with certainty how Caylee died and defense lawyers successfully cast enough doubt on their case.

Anthony was convicted of lying to investigators who were searching for Caylee and released from jail for time served about two weeks after the trial ended. She is serving probation on an unrelated check fraud charge at an undisclosed location in Florida.

John Nighland, husband of juror Kathleen Nighland, spoke to The Associated Press by telephone. He said his wife wasn't interested in talking about the verdict. When asked how she has been since the trial, he said: "She's doing well. She's doing well."

The husband of alternate juror Elizabeth Jones answered the door at their home and said she was at work.

"I'll leave your card with the pile here," Mike Jones said. "But I don't think she is going to want to talk." He added that since she didn't deliberate, "she doesn't have a whole lot to say."

A few of the jurors spoke with various media outlets immediately after the trial, but none went into extensive details about their deliberations or the public's reaction to their decision.

The jury foreman, David W. Angelo, told Fox News Channel in July: "We don't know the cause of death, and that was one of the major issues that we had and one of the major issues that we had to address. We don't know the cause of death. Everything was speculation."

Russell Huekler, one of the alternate jurors, was not involved in the deliberations but sat through more than 33 days of testimony.

"I'm sure they looked at the law and the evidence that was presented and unfortunately, the prosecution didn't meet their burden of proof," he told AP after the verdict.

Associated Press writers Terry Spencer and Jennifer Kay contributed to this report from Miami and Michael Schneider contributed from Clearwater.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Amid backlash, unmasked Anthony jurors lay low

  1. Transcript of: Amid backlash, unmasked Anthony jurors lay low

    ANN CURRY, co-host: With the cooling off period now over, the names of the jurors in the Casey Anthony case have now been released for the first time . NBC 's Kerry Sanders followed the trial and is in Pinellas County , Florida , with the latest on this. Hey, Kerry. Good morning.

    KERRY SANDERS reporting: Well, good morning, Ann. The judge said he was reluctant to release the 12 jurors' and five alternates' names because he feared they would face harassment or worse, and it didn't take long for the judge to be proven correct. Their faces were never shown, their identities a secret.

    Unidentified Woman #1: We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty.

    SANDERS: The 12 jurors who found Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering her two-year-old daughter, Caylee , had remained anonymous but for one, who chose to do an interview while revealing her identity. But Tuesday, just moments after the court followed Florida law and revealed their names as part of the public record , the IDs were there on Twitter . Someone using Casey Anthony 's photo as their own, under the fake name CaseyEyebrows1 , posted all 12 and the five alternates' names and addresses. Over on Facebook , postings like this, 'Yes, now we know who the stupidest people in America are.' But the judge says he fears worse could happen after seeing protest pictures like these following the jury's verdict.

    Judge BELVIN PERRY: Our landscape in this country has changed. People have no reservation or hesitation about walking up to a individual, pulling a gun, a knife or any other type of weapon.

    Mr. KENDALL COFFEY (Former United States Attorney): Traditionally, anonymous juries have been used to protect from harm from organized crime mobs. Here it's a different kind of mob. It's an Internet mob, and it's so much more difficult to know whether it's malicious chatter or malicious threats.

    SANDERS: Why does Florida make jurors' names public? In part it's designed to keep the legal system open to outside inspection.

    Ms. KELLY McBRIDE (Poynter Institute): I really do feel for these jurors. I think that they are innocent victims in an Internet world gone wild. But I also feel very passionately about our democratic right to keep court records open.

    SANDERS: News reporters went door to door Tuesday, hoping a Casey juror might choose to explain how they reached the conclusion she was not guilty.

    Offscreen Voice #1: Go away, please.

    SANDERS: But none did.

    Unidentified Woman #2: Twenty-five -eighty?

    Offscreen Voice #2: Here.

    SANDERS: Potential jurors in Broward County , Florida , say they don't mind jury duty , but having their names as part of the public record was not something they realized was the law.

    Unidentified Woman #3: I don't think that should be right.

    SANDERS: Will it impact you when you're being asked questions?

    Unidentified Man: No.

    Unidentified Woman #4: If I'm on a big trial that's out there in the news, I do not want to be identified.

    SANDERS: In his order releasing the jurors' names , Judge Perry quoted juror number 12 , who spoke to She said that she quit her job, retired early and moved out of state, all because of the backlash. Ann :


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