Casey Anthony Trial Judge Shares What May Have Actually Happened to Caylee

casey anthony
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It's been almost six years (unbelievably) since Casey Anthony was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony, leaving the little girl's murder officially unsolved. Anthony was convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to the police, but many people found the verdict deeply unsatisfying -- what really happened to Caylee? Now, all these years later, the judge who presided over the trial is sharing a theory ... and it's highly disturbing, to say the least.

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Casey Anthony was accused of killing Caylee in June 2008, then dumping her body in the woods near her home (where it was found months later) and attempting to resume a "normal" life. Authorities were unfortunately unable to determine a cause of death when the body was recovered (Anthony claimed that she drowned on the day of her disappearance), but evidence presented by the prosecution showed that Anthony had researched the use of chloroform (once used for surgery as an inhaled anesthetic). Experts also asserted that chloroform was found in the trunk of Anthony's car.

Now, retired Florida judge Belvin Perry, who presided over Anthony's trial, is saying that he thinks she may indeed have killed her daughter with chloroform -- accidentally.

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"The most logical thing that occurred, in my eyesight, based on everything I know about the case, was that [Anthony] did not intentionally kill her daughter," Perry told WFTV. "I think based upon the evidence, the most logical thing that happened was that she tried to knock her daughter out by the use of chloroform and gave her too much chloroform, which caused her daughter to die."

"She may have utilized [chloroform] to keep the baby quiet ... and just used too much of it, and the baby died," he said.

According to Perry, this theory makes the most sense given that "there was never any evidence of abuse of the daughter that was documented, that was presented anywhere."

Still, he acknowledged, "The only person that actually knows what happened is Casey Anthony."

It's not clear why Perry is choosing to speak out now. One has to wonder, is this what he believed during the trial? And if so, why didn't the verdict reflect his feelings? Granted, if Perry is correct, neither the prosecution nor the defense got it right. The prosecution accused Anthony of using chloroform to sedate Caylee and then suffocating her with duct tape; the defense said Caylee drowned accidentally in the family pool and someone else hid the body.

Perry said that while he didn't fault the verdict, had jurors come to the same conclusion that he did, Anthony might have been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

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If that had happened, odds are Anthony might still be in jail today -- instead of living in West Palm Beach and working as a photographer. Either way, she still has to live with whatever really happened for the rest of her life -- and even if Caylee's death was accidental, as Perry thinks, Anthony obviously never should have given her toddler chloroform to keep her quiet in the first place. Of course it's not as serious an offense as intentionally murdering her, but ... still.

And then, there's the lengthy cover-up to consider: Even if Caylee did drown, how could any parent go on and pretend that everything is okay knowing his or her child's body is rotting in the woods? 

Ultimately, there's no way of looking at this case that makes any of it remotely acceptable. Caylee's death was an unthinkable tragedy, no matter how you spin it. And Casey Anthony will most likely never be truly innocent in the public eye, acquitted or not.

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