The Florida mom was found not guilty of murdering her daughter – but was the decision surprising?

By Rennie Dyball
Updated July 05, 2011 03:15 PM
Myung J. Chun/AP; Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT/AP

For the past three years, the public has not been on Casey Anthony‘s side.

During the 35-day trial, concluding with 10-plus hours of deliberations, rampant speculation mounted that the Florida mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee would indeed be convicted of first-degree murder – and perhaps even to face the death penalty.

But on Tuesday afternoon, the jury delivered a not guilty verdict as millions watched on TV and online.

The surprising decision was reminiscent of another acquittal in a high-profile murder case: that of O.J. Simpson.

In 1995, jurors deliberated for about four hours before returning a famously surprising not guilty verdict in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Another quick return on a murder trial verdict also came in 1995 in the Susan Smith case. Smith was accused of drowning her two young sons, and after two-and-a-half of deliberation, that jury delivered a guilty verdict.

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