Jeff Ashton talks Casey Anthony, state attorney race with WFTV



ORLANDO, Fla. - This time next week, there will be a new state attorney in Orange and Oceola County for the first time in a quarter-century.

Jeff Ashton beat his former boss, Lawson LaMar, in November and will take over Jan. 8.

Channel 9's Greg Warmoth sat down with Ashton for Saturday's "Central Florida Spotlight," and Ashton said he won't waste a single minute getting to work.

"So, just to be sure, I'm going stay up late on Jan. 8, so when my assistants come in, there's no question about legal authority and its business as usual," Ashton said.

Instead of running things the way LaMar did for 24 years, Ashton said he'll focus on trying fewer but more winnable cases.

"We are not going to be able to try every case," Ashton said. "We just can't give everyone a day in court. We have to determine which case gets the most bang for its buck."

Ashton sent a letter to a number of his former coworkers, letting them know they would not be retained.

"Some of them had been doing desk work, could become trial lawyers and if they couldn't, I felt it was time for them to move on to other jobs," said Ashton.

Ashton is trying to move on from the Casey Anthony case and didn't want to talk about a so-called "foolproof suffocation" search done on the Anthony home computer that was not given to him by the Sheriff's Office.

"Honestly, I don't know all the information on exactly how this was missed and I don't want to make comments and lay blame without complete information," he said.

Ashton said he learned a lot from the Anthony case but doesn't dwell on the case or the defendant.

"I was asked last night, 'Where is Casey Anthony?' and my answer is always the same: I don't know and I don't care, and honestly, I don't," said Ashton.

For more on Ashtons's sit-down with Warmoth, watch "Central Florida Spotlight" at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Next week on "Spotlight," LaMar will sit down and discuss losing to Ashton, his career and any regrets.