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Judge admits he was shocked Casey Anthony was found “not guilty” of daughter’s murder

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Casey Anthony dubbed
Casey Anthony dubbed "America's most hated woman"


Judge Belvin Perry, the Florida judge who presided over Casey Anthony's murder trial has said he was shocked by the jury's 'not guilty' verdict.

Perry says the verdict surprised him because in his mind there was 'sufficient evidence' she killed her two-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Perry made the explosive admission during his interview with NBC's Today Show, the first he has given since the close of Anthony's trial nearly two years ago.

'There were two sides to Casey Anthony,' Perry told NBC. 'There was the side that was before the jury, where she portrayed the role of a mother who had lost a child - someone who was wrongfully accused. And then you could notice the change and transformation in her when the jury went out.

'She was very commanding, she took charge of different things, and you could see her sometimes scolding her attorneys.'

According to the Daily Mail, Perry said he believes the jury let the young mother off the hook for first-degree murder because she was 'very manipulative' and had an unusually likable lawyer.

The jury delivered a 'not guilty' verdict in July of 2011. At the moment that he read the verdict from the jury, Perry said he felt 'surprise,' 'shock' and 'disbelief.'

'Wrong verdict.' Perry said 'There was sufficient evidence to sustain a verdict of murder in the first degree in this case'

Perry had to read the verdict twice  to make sure he had read it correctly, he said.

'But you’ve got to realize this was a circumstantial evidence case,' he added. 'All the defense had to do was create that reasonable doubt, and that’s what they did.'

Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez, played a significant role in swaying the jury's opinion of her innocence, Perry said.

'The state had better lawyers, but Baez was very personable,' he said. 'He came across as someone that you would like. It’s like someone trying to sell a used car. Who are you going to buy it from? The most likeable salesperson.'

Anthony wasn't quite as personable as her lawyer, but she could put on a good front before the jury, Perry said.

'There was always two sides to Casey,' he said. There was the public persona that she wanted the jury to see and there was that side that she showed when the jury was not there.'

In the interview Perry recalls a day when Anthony fought with her lawyers over a suggestion that she take a plea deal for aggravated manslaughter instead of first-degree murder.

'I will never forget that day,' he said, concerning a conversation he overheard while she was in a holding cell.

'All of a sudden, you heard shouting coming from the holding cell, some four-letter words coming from the holding cell, and she was quite upset,' he said. 'So upset that one counselor suggested that she was incompetent to proceed.'

Anthony's trial sparked protests, drawing huge crowds to the courtroom and attracting international news coverage.

'I had no earthly idea that it would command the attention that it did worldwide,' Perry said. 'It was truly a fantastic experience.'

The jury found Anthony guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. She was released from jail on July 17, 2011 to taunts and cheers from critics and supporters.

In January of this year, a Florida appeals court reduced her convictions from four to two counts, causing further controversy.

Asked if he believed justice has been served in Anthony's case, Perry replied: 'Well justice has been served in the sense that the jury has spoken. But justice will finally be served one day by the judge of judges. And she will have to live with this and deal with this for the rest of her life.'

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