The judge and an alternate juror in Casey Anthony's 2011 murder trial are speaking out in a new docuseries
Two weeks before opening statements began in the 2011 murder trial of Casey Anthony, prosecutors and defense traveled 90 minutes to Pinellas County, Florida. Their goal: to find 12 jurors who hadn’t followed her legal troubles.
It was a tall order. The disappearance and death of Anthony’s 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, had become international news. For three years before the trial, the media followed every move that the Anthony family made. The coverage was especially ubiquitous in Florida.
But somehow, the prosecution and defense decided on 12 jurors and 5 alternates. (PEOPLE was in the courtroom for every day of jury selection and profiled the men and women who would decide Anthony’s fate.)
For six days a week from late May to early July 2011, the jurors heard all the testimony and evidence. And then, on July 5, 2011, they rendered a shocking verdict: Anthony was acquitted of the most serious charges in Caylee’s death, including murder and aggravated manslaughter.
The fallout was visceral and immediate. The jurors left the courthouse under police protection. When their names were released months later, the jurors went into hiding.
When one of the jurors gave an interview to PEOPLE in 2011, he insisted on complete anonymity.
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Now, one of the alternate jurors is speaking out in the new Investigation Discovery docuseries Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery.
In an exclusive clip from his interview, Russ Huekler explains why he believes the jury acquitted Anthony.
“I’m not saying that Casey was innocent,” Huekler tells the show, “the prosecution just didn’t prove their case. They couldn’t say how she died. They couldn’t connect Casey to the murder.”
Huekler was an alternate on the jury and was dismissed before the 12 jurors began their deliberations. Despite his alternate status, he says that he faced intense backlash for serving on the jury.
“The most discouraging thing was the death threats,” Huekler tells ID. “I probably got a thousand emails telling me that I didn’t deserve to breathe, How could I be so stupid, how could I be so wrong? Shame on me.”
Judge Belvin Perry, who presided over Anthony’s trial and who has been previously vocal that he believes she was guilty, also speaks to the show — noting that the prosecution sought the death penalty even though they didn’t know the cause of death.
“Achieving the death penalty in that particular case was going to be very difficult, if not impossible,” he says.
The third installment of Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery airs Tuesday (10 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.