Social media sites busy with reactions to Casey Anthony verdict

Sunday, July 10, 2011
Casey Anthony smiles before the start of her sentencing hearing Thursday in Orlando, Fla. Judge Belvin Perry sentenced Anthony to four years for lying to investigators but says she can go free in late July because she has already served nearly three years in jail and has had good behavior. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool)

People across the nation took to their keyboards and spouted outrage on social media sites about the not-guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony trial that ended Tuesday. The Florida jury concluded she was not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

On Tuesday after the verdict, Twitter said "caseyanthony" appeared about 34,000 times an hour.

Melanie Rellergert Beard of Cape Girardeau used her Facebook account to register her shock and dissatisfaction with the ruling.

"I really don't agree that she's not guilty," Beard commented on the Southeast Missourian's Facebook page. "I feel like they did not take the time to really look at all the evidence, if they had done so how could they of come to the conclusion that she's innocent."

As the mother of four children, with a daughter the same age that Caylee Anthony would be, Beard said she couldn't believe a mother could act like Casey Anthony as more details from the case surfaced.

"How could a mother do that to her own child." Beard said.

Beard signed a petition on change.org supporting the creation of "Caylee's Law," which would make it a felony for a parent or guardian to not notify law enforcement of a child gone missing in a timely manner. More than 800,000 people have signed the petition and more than a dozen states have introduced similar legislation.

After a six-week trial, the jury took less than 11 hours to find Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. Beard said she does not think the jury spent enough time reviewing the evidence, but lawyer Steve Wilson of Cape Girardeau said he believes the jury reached the conclusion that they had to with the evidence.

"I think the jury did the thing that I hope any jury would do with that evidence," Wilson said. "Sometimes you might have suspicion, but without evidence beyond reasonable doubt you have to find them not guilty."

The court has kept the identity of the jurors, seven women and five men, secret because of public outrage over the verdict.

Brittany Harpool, a recent graduate of Southeast Missouri State University planning to attend law school in the fall, said she believes the law prevailed and the American justice system did not fail.

"Casey Anthony had a fair trial," Harpool said. "And after the fair trial, she was found not guilty."

Despite being found not guilty of murder, Casey Anthony must stay behind bars until July 17 because she was found guilty of lying to law enforcement officials, a misdemeanor.

Two weeks ago Anthony faced the possibility of the death penalty. Now, after what will be 1,043 days in prison, she will again walk free. But in a world with millions convinced she is guilty, Anthony will be released with extra care due to the "emotional interest of the people," Orange County officials said in a statement.

rpayne@semissourian.com

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