OTR Interviews

Juror No. 3: Casey Anthony's Bad Behavior 'Doesn't Show That a Murder Was Committed'

Jennifer Ford explains why the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murder in daughter Caylee's death

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 7, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, Juror Number 3 is here. She one of the 12 jurors who signed onto the Casey Anthony not guilty verdict. You hear from Jennifer Ford in just minutes.

And hold onto your seat for this one! Casey Anthony is given the toughest sentence Judge Perry can give on those four counts of lying to investigators. So how much more jail time will Casey serve? Here's Judge Perry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE BELVIN PERRY, FLORIDA DISTRICT COURT: There being no legal cause shown why this court should not impose sentence, and the court having previously adjudged you to be guilty of the crimes contained in counts four, five, six and seven, I will sentence you to one year in the Orange County jail, imposing a $1,000 fine on each count, all four counts to run consecutive to each other, giving you credit for the time that you have previously served.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: So Casey is fined $4,000 and sentenced to four years in jail. But with credit for time served already, how does that add up?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The defendant was given credit for 1,043 days. And at this time, her release date has been calculated as July 13th, 2011.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's six days away. That's how much longer Casey Anthony will spend in her Orange County jail cell. Next Wednesday, the 25-year-old will walk out the front door a free woman.

And there's no doubt about it, Casey's possible future sure has changed in the last two days. It went from the possibility of execution by lethal injection to a release date of next Wednesday.

As you know, Casey was found not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse in the death of her 2- year-old daughter, Caylee. The jury was unanimous, saying the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Casey Anthony committed murder. Right now, Judge Perry is refusing to release the names of those jurors. But guess what? One of them is here tonight.

Joining us is Juror Number 3, Jennifer Ford. Good evening, Jennifer.

JENNIFER FORD, CASEY ANTHONY TRIAL JUROR: Good evening.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jennifer, have you ever served on a jury before, or was this your first experience?

FORD: This was my first.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what did you -- what did you think about it? Was it what you expected?

FORD: Absolutely not. I think it was kind of a big one. And some people have served on a lot of juries, but never for six weeks and with basically no freedoms. So I think it was a pretty unique situation.

VAN SUSTEREN: How were you treated? I mean, you know, many people -- many people have been served as -- have served jurors but not sequestered? What was it like to be sequestered? Did they treat you well?

FORD: Oh, of course they treated us well. Orange County sheriff's office, they were a bunch of wonderful people who tried very hard. There's a delicate balance between giving us some freedoms and also preserving the -- you know, the integrity of the jury. They don't want us to be exposed to anything that might sway us in any way, shape or form. At the same time, they don't want to treat us like prisoners or inmates of anything of the sort. So they did a really good job balancing the two. They did everything they could for us.

VAN SUSTEREN: And one last question about this. During this period of time, were you able to contact friends or family or co-workers, talk to your job, or were you totally isolated?

FORD: We could use our cell phones and speak to people in a community area where there was always a deputy an earshot away. So we could, but we logged all our calls and someone was always listening.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, I have an enormous amount of respect for anyone who serves on a jury, especially a sequestered jury. But as you might, know, there has been some disagreement or criticism of the jury's verdict. They didn't sit through the trial. They don't see what you saw. But nonetheless, the criticism exists out there. What do you say to those who criticize this jury's verdict?

FORD: They can criticize it. I understand some people might have more of an emotional involvement. And that's understandable that they would criticize it. They're emotionally involved. It affects them personally.

Fortunately, they picked people who had no bias, which is -- you know, which equates to a fair trial, which everyone in this country deserves. So I was not -- I had no bias. I was not emotionally involved. And I know it upsets people, but you know, those are the rights we're granted in this country. And like I said, like her or hate her, she deserves a fair trial.

And if the evidence was there, if there was anything a little bit stronger that we could have used to convict, you know, we would have. But if it's not there, we're upstanding, honest people. We have integrity, and we did the best we could with what we had.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was there one thing that was particularly persuasive to you that the state had failed to meet its burden? Was there something that you thought, You know what? They just didn't prove that to me.

FORD: They didn't prove the cause of death. If you don't know what the crime was, you can't punish someone for that crime. That makes sense to me. I mean...

VAN SUSTEREN: You know...

FORD: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cut you off. I'm curious, when you began to deliberate, was that the first discussion among the jurors as you began talking about the case?

FORD: Absolutely. It was never discussed among us until we were given the OK to deliberate with, you know, all the deputies out of the room. Until then, nothing had been discussed, which is probably why a lot of us lost a lot of sleep because we had no way to purge everything we were trying to process, everything we saw every day. It want easy.

VAN SUSTEREN: I often hear that jurors have several rounds of votes. Sometimes you only have one vote. What happened when the door closed and all of you were in that room? You know, take me through the deliberation process.

FORD: Well, after the foreperson was elected, we kind of wanted to gauge if people were on one side or another, thought she was guilty, innocent, so we kind of started there. There were two people initially who thought definitely first degree. But at the same time, they did admit they felt it. And they just felt like it wasn't substantiated. They wanted to be able to convict that, but also admitted, You know what? There's not enough evidence to prove that, even though I strongly believe it.

So it started there and then it went pretty much half and half, manslaughter and not guilty. And that was just based solely on the evidence that we had to use to -- you know, anything with any weight to go one way or another. But we did -- there was -- it was very split initially.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you went through -- you say you actually went through it sort of methodically, start with murder one and then go through the other charges and take votes all the way down the indictment, is that essentially now you did it?

FORD: Correct, and we read through to see exactly what each entailed, to see the language, to see, you know, certain things involved her being actually committing a crime at the time or her acts causing it. You know, there were different language for each charge. So we went through all that together to make sure everyone in the group understood it. And then we discussed if it qualified or it could be fit into that category. And we went, you know, through each charge until, you know, we could either prove something or not.

VAN SUSTEREN: Were people -- did people discuss or were they concerned with the fact that she didn't take the witness stand? Now, she certainly didn't have to take the witness stand, but she didn't. Was that something that was missed by the jury, that you wanted that?

FORD: It wasn't brought up. We were told initially, you know, we can't hold that against her. We were very aware of what the laws were. Judge Perry made them very clear. He's a very upstanding man, and I think it made us as a jury a little bit more upstanding, knowing who we were serving and who we were -- you know, pretty much represented. Like, he's a good man, a very upstanding man, and you know, we followed suit and wanted to do the best we could according to what instructions he gave us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Were the prosecutors likable?

FORD: They were. And you know, they're excellent at their jobs. They just -- I have to say they're great as far as questioning witnesses and things like that. They have very strong arguments. There was very strong circumstantial evidence, and they presented it very well. But we just needed one -- something solid just to say it couldn't have been an accident because there's still that question. But they did a fantastic job, all three of them.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, one of the things that -- as an outsider, a spectator, which I was -- I didn't have the -- you know, the awesome responsibility that you and the jurors had. But as an outsider, the behavior of Casey Anthony between June 16th, and mid-July, you know, partying, tattoos -- I -- you know, is appalling to me. And I wonder, was that -- was there any discussion about that in the jury room?

FORD: Of course! Of course. The behavior was appalling and it was hard to understand. But bad behavior -- again, it doesn't -- it doesn't show that a murder was committed.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I...

FORD: I mean, it is hard to understand how someone -- I'm sorry. Go ahead.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, I -- I -- I mean, I actually understand that. We actually discussed that on the show as to -- you know, that the prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt murder and whether -- and that the cause of death was murder, not an accident and that her horrible behavior just -- you know, that doesn't supply that answer, as bad as it was. It's -- you know, they still -- they still scientifically needed to have someone say definitively this is murder.

FORD: Correct.

VAN SUSTEREN: But I'm...

FORD: That's the way our system works.

VAN SUSTEREN: But I'm -- I mean, I actually -- I mean, I found it interesting that -- you know, that the jury seized upon that because I wondered if I was being hypertechnical about the law.

FORD: No. Everything -- like, we tried to consider everything we can. And you know, a big part of the prosecution's case was chloroform. And it just -- it was easy, in my opinion, to discredit it and give it no value and no weight. So once you got rid of that altogether -- I'm not saying there wasn't some sort of -- I don't know -- I mean, nobody really knows what happened to Caylee, but I don't think chloroform was involved. I think they tried the best they could to make a strong case, but the chloroform, it seemed easy enough to kind of disqualify that and just move it aside. And once you don't have -- you know, once that's gone, you don't have much to work with.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think the chloroform was -- what's the purpose of the chloroform?

FORD: The chloroform -- I think, you know, maybe they had a feeling that there was some sort of -- you know, like, you know, trying to keep Caylee quiet, or something to that effect. And they found the chloroform searches, so they kind of went with that. They didn't have much to use, you know? I don't know if -- you know, there was just nothing else they could find, maybe. And they were trying to substantiate that and go in that direction. But it just -- it wasn't strong enough to say, OK, there was chloroform involved.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, there were allegations in the opening statement that her father molested her, and her brother. Two questions. Did you believe it happened? And secondly, did you think it had any bearing on the question before you, the indictment before you?

FORD: It had absolutely no bearing. It didn't come into play, and because -- I mean, it was brought up. It wasn't pleasant to hear. But there was nothing to prove it in any way, shape or form. So you know, we were very -- very -- we needed -- we needed facts. We're not going to just -- you know, it's shocking and it's hard to hear. But just because it's unpleasant doesn't mean we're going to automatically believe it. You have to prove things before we're going to use it as evidence and use it in making a determination in the case.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sitting about 20 feet from Caylee -- Casey Anthony for those number of days, what were your impressions of her? What did you think about her?

FORD: I think, for the most part, she tried to be non-responsive because she probably knew, you know, a lot of eyes were on her. So I think she did probably just what the jury did. We tried not to show too much because, you know, you don't want people reading you. And I think maybe she felt the same way and was just trying to be neutral, and you know, not show too much and -- you know, so people couldn't speculate how she's feeling.

VAN SUSTEREN: Separate and apart from the trial and weighing of the evidence, which I know is your responsibility, did you have some sort of, you know, reaction to her, whether you liked her, didn't like her, thought she was a liar, didn't it was liar. Did you walk out of the courtroom with some impression of her, separate from your duty as a juror?

FORD: Not really. I didn't know anything about the case prior to. I was there to see the facts and render a verdict, and that's what I did, in essence.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would you -- do you want to serve on another jury?

FORD: I think I should get a lifetime pass now! I think -- I think - - I think I should be done!

(CROSSTALK)

FORD: ... I mean, especially -- I'm sorry. Go ahead.

VAN SUSTEREN: Go ahead. No, I interrupted you. I'm sorry.

FORD: Oh, I was just saying, I mean, that's such a hard decision to make and you want to make the right decision. And obviously, you don't want to let someone go free if they did something like that to an innocent, beautiful child. But at the same time, you have to prove it and it's hard. It's just a hard decision to have to make, especially when you know you're going to get so much backlash. But I think that was very hard and very stressful, and it was a long, grueling six weeks and I -- I don't want to have to make those kinds of decisions. It's really quite draining emotionally.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Jennifer, whether a verdict is guilty or not guilty, I can tell you, everybody who works in the system is much appreciative of citizens who serve as jurors. I realize we draft you, that you don't volunteer, but even more importantly in these trials where you're sequestered and have the responsibility, like in this case. So Jennifer, thank you for joining us, as well, tonight.

FORD: All right. Thank you so much.