WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren OhioLocal attorneys reflect on difficulty of trying Anthony case

Local attorneys reflect on difficulty of trying Anthony case

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - It's been called the biggest trial since O.J. Simpson, and there's plenty of opinion to go around about the Casey Anthony trial.

Anthony was convicted of four misdemeanor charges of lying to investigators during the search for her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

Her defense attorneys blamed the media for unfairly casting the verdict as "shocking," but Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Becky Doherty says that's exactly what it was.  "We as an office are very, very surprised at the verdict," Doherty said, hours after the verdict was announced.

Doherty says capital cases are difficult, and she was surprised at how many witnesses were called to testify.  "Witnesses were recalled a lot to the stand which I found incredibly confusing- that doesn't happen normally," explained Doherty. "I've only seen that happen maybe once in 20 years."

She says prosecutors try to resolve the case prior to trial.  "We are so criticized sometimes for plea bargaining and reaching a resolution prior to trial but the reality is, you're putting that case in the hands of 12 people who get a very limited window as to what happened," said Doherty.

But local defense attorney Ron Yarwood disagrees.  "Second-guessing what a jury does is really contrary to what we believe in as a system because that's why it's set up that way," said Yarwood.

He says in his experience a capital case of this nature is stressful on all parties.  "We have to keep in mind that the state is the individual that wanted to bring this case," Yarwood said. "They decided that they wanted this to happen. The defendant is an unwilling participant to a certain extent."

In a capital murder case like this, jurors had to reach a unanimous decision that there was reasonable doubt that Anthony murdered her child.

"I think sometimes people confuse that and think they're there to kind of solve the case and they're not," explained Yarwood. "They're just there to determine whether or not the state met that tremendous burden that we have."

It took a jury of seven women and five men just over ten hours to deliberate.

"I thought it was pretty short deliberations considering all that they had to consider," said Doherty. "It seems like maybe they had the mind made up when they entered or not the deliberations."

Anthony will be sentenced July 8. She could receive up to four years, with three years served.

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