The judge who presided over the Casey Anthony murder trial more than five years ago said in an interview published in the Orlando Sentinel Thursday that the mother may have accidentally killed her 2-year-old daughter.
Former Circuit Judge Belvin Perry Jr., who was chief of the Orange-Osceola circuit in Florida, said Anthony may have been trying to quiet the child with chloroform and used “too much.”
“There was a possibility that she may have utilized that to keep the baby quiet … and just used too much of it, and the baby died,” Perry told the Sentinel by phone on Wednesday. “That’s just one of the many theories as to how this beautiful young lady [Caylee] tragically met her death.”
In a separate interview with television station WFTV in Orlando, the retired judge stated he did not believe she “intentionally” killed Caylee.
Perry noted that evidence showed Anthony, now 30, had researched the use of chloroform as a sedative online.
Chloroform was also reported by a scientist to have been found in the trunk of her car; prosecutors said the little girl’s body was likely in there at some point.
If the jurors had come to that conclusion, Perry told the Sentinel he thinks Anthony could have possibly been convicted on second-degree murder or manslaughter charges.
Instead, she was acquitted of first-degree murder on July 5, 2011. Perry told the newspaper he didn’t find fault with their decision.
“As I’ve expressed, the only person that really knows what happened was Casey,” he said.
Anthony was charged with murder after Caylee’s disappearance in 2008. The little girl had been missing for about five months when her remains were found in the woods near her grandparents’ home.
A cause of death was never determined.
Prosecutors alleged Caylee was suffocated when her mother used chloroform, then placed duct tape over the girl’s mouth.
Defense attorney Jose Baez told jurors that the toddler accidentally drowned in the family pool and that someone else hid the body.
Anthony has lived in seclusion since her acquittal, the Sentinel reported.
But “for whatever reason, people are still fascinated with Casey Anthony,” Perry told the publication.