The lead investigator in the Casey Anthony murder trail has described the result as the “sweetest victory of all the cases I have ever worked”.
Irish American Pat McKenna was also the lead investigator on the OJ Simpson trial. McKenna played a key role of the Simpson trial when he discovered tapes of LA cop Mark Fuhrman, going on a racist rant. This in turn undermined the prosecution of OJ Simpson.
Speaking to ABC’s 20/20 he said it was a very tough case to work on.
"This case was the sweetest victory of all the cases I have ever worked because there was so much hatred toward Casey and her lawyers. We had no money, no resources and we were working against a firestorm of bad press," McKenna said.
Comparing the two cases, McKenna admitted he was more surprised by the Anthony verdict than the Simpson trial.
"I was more surprised by Casey's acquittal than OJ's because I had more confidence in OJ's jury. There was just more science to back up his case than Casey's."
The investigator listed the fact that Simpson was a witness at his own trial was a huge advantage, where as Anthony didn’t tesify. Simpson, a former NFL player and star of the "Naked Gun" movies, had a fan following where as 25-year-old Anthony was an unknown single mother.
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"The media attention and absolute conviction by the public that Casey and OJ were guilty early on, without any consideration of the evidence, was so intense in both cases," McKenna said.
"But they had stark contrasts too. Casey had absolutely no money, and OJ had millions of dollars. Casey's lawyer, Jose Baez, was a young, fairly new lawyer compared to OJ's high profile lawyer, Johnnie Cochran. Baez was an underdog," he said.
McKenna was first contacted about the Casey Anthony case by her defense team, the day her daughter Caylee’s remains were found. Had read few of the media reports, he went to the Anthony house where he met Casey’s parents, George and Cindy.
Surveying the room that Casey and Caylee shared, he was surprised by what he saw.
"The room was a shrine of pictures to Caylee, hundreds of loving photographs. I was stunned by the neatness and organization of the room and all the photos. It was this lovely room, like a young kid that has a baby she loves. It was the opposite of what was being portrayed in the media," he said.
His first impressions of Casey’s parents were not favorable.
I walked out of that house and thought to myself, 'I don't think this kid committed first degree murder. There is something really disturbing about this family. I was shocked by their lack of emotion. There was no sense of loss or despondency. Their granddaughter's remains had just been found and they're sitting around booking television interviews and talking about how much money their foundation is making," McKenna said.
He recalls that Anthony’s parents were not co-operative at the beginning.
"George was bizarre. He would go around and around for hours and he wouldn't answer a question directly. And he is a former detective, so he knows the drill. There was something off with this guy," McKenna said.
Concluding he gave his own verdict on what could have happened to the murdered toddler.
"It was an accident that spun out of control and George disposed of the body, but I can't say exactly how," McKenna said. "If Casey wanted to be free, she would have dropped Caylee in the pool, called 911 and been a grieving mother."