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Anthony judge: Evidence ample to convict her in daughter's death

| Monday, May 6, 2013, 8:45 p.m.
Defense counsel Jose Baez and Cheney Mason listen to chief judge Belvin Perry during a hearing on the Casey Anthony case in the Orange County Courthouse in August 2011 in Orlando. Perry told NBC's 'Today' show on Monday, May 6, 2013, that he believes there was sufficient evidence for a first-degree murder conviction of Casey Anthony, even though much of it was circumstantial.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The judge who presided over the trial of Casey Anthony said on Monday he believed there was enough evidence to convict the Florida mother who was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter.

Judge Belvin Perry told NBC's “Today” show that he thought there was sufficient evidence for a first-degree murder, even though much of the evidence was circumstantial.

Anthony was acquitted nearly two years ago of killing her daughter, Caylee. She was convicted of making false statements to police and got credit for time served.

When he read the jury's verdict, Perry said he felt “surprise, shock, disbelief” and read it twice.

“I just wanted to be sure I was reading what I was reading,” Perry said.

Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez, refused to comment.

A spokeswoman for the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which oversees Florida judges, didn't return a phone call.

The judge said he saw two sides to Anthony. The one she showed to jurors was a wrongfully accused mother grieving for her child. The other was a woman who wasn't afraid to shout and swear at her attorneys, as she did when they talked to her about a possible plea deal for aggravated murder.

“There were always two sides to Casey,” Perry said. “The public persona that she wanted the jury to see and there was a side that she showed when the jury wasn't there.”

Perry also said he thought prosecutors were better attorneys than Baez, who the judge described as “personable.” All the defense had to do was create reasonable doubt, which they did, he said.

“He came across as someone you would like,” Perry said of Baez. “Like someone trying to sell a used car. Who are you going to buy from? The most likable salesman.”

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