Casey Anthony Juror Speaks Out 10 Years Later: ‘My Decision Haunts Me’
On the 10-year anniversary of being empaneled on the notorious murder case, the juror tells PEOPLE that he thinks about the case "at least once, every single day"
For two months, the jurors were sequestered in a hotel. They sat through 33 days of testimony, examined more than 400 pieces of evidence and heard 91 witnesses testify.
From May to July 2011, none of the jurors — or the five alternates — missed a day in court. Although the 40 million Americans watching the case on live television couldn't see their faces, the media in the courtroom studied their every move. Almost everyone predicted that these 12 jurors would convict Anthony of murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter.
The jurors have kept a low-profile since the controversial verdict, many of them moving from the area after they were publicly named. Most of them have refused to give interviews.
A month after the verdict, one of the male jurors spoke with PEOPLE to explain his take on what happened. "Generally, none of us liked Casey Anthony at all," he told PEOPLE. "She seems like a horrible person. But the prosecutors did not give us enough evidence to convict. They gave us a lot of stuff that makes us think that she probably did something wrong, but not beyond a reasonable doubt."
Ten years later, that same juror has been rethinking the case.
"I think of the case at least once, every single day," he told PEOPLE on Thursday. "It was such a strange summer. I knew that there was public interest in the case, but it wasn't until after I was sequestered that I realized that the whole world was watching."
At the time, the jurors were focused on the case — and the attorneys. The juror said that he found the prosecutors to be "arrogant," while lead defense attorney Jose Baez "was the only one in the room who seemed like he cared."
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But now, the juror's focus is on Caylee Anthony, who was just 2 years old when she died.
"Every time I see her face or hear her name, I get a pit in my stomach," he continues. "It all comes flooding back. I think about those pictures of the baby's remains that they showed us in court. I remember Casey. I even remember the smell of the courtroom."
Ten years ago, several jurors said that they battled their consciences as they voted to acquit Anthony of murder charges. The male juror told PEOPLE at the time that the enormity of the acquittal bothered them in the jury room.
"And then we sat there for a few minutes and were like, 'Holy crap, we are letting her go free,'" he told PEOPLE in 2011. "Everyone was just stunned at what we were about to do. [One of the women jurors] asked me, 'Are you okay with this?' and I said, 'Hell, no. But what else can we do? We promised to follow the law.'"
Now, the juror says he might have done things differently.
"My decision haunts me to this day," he says. "I think now if I were to do it over again, I'd push harder to convict her of one of the lesser charges like aggravated manslaughter. At least that. Or child abuse. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, and I didn't stand up for what I believed in at the time."
Some of the jurors kept up on group text messages for several months after the trial, but soon people stopped responding. "It was painful for everyone," says the juror. "I remember feeling sick every time I saw one of [the jurors'] names on my phone. So I muted the chat and stopped engaging. It was just too hard."
Despite it all, the juror says he doesn't completely regret his time on the jury. "It's traumatic to think about, and I wish I had done a lot of things differently," he says, "But it's a part of who I am. This case will stick with me for the rest of my life."
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