ORLANDO, Fla. — Ten years after the disappearance of Caylee Anthony, Channel 9 anchor Greg Warmoth sat down with WFTV legal analyst Belvin Perry Jr., the former chief judge of Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit who presided over Casey Anthony's high-profile murder trial.
On the episode of "Central Florida Spotlight," Perry shared insights into the scientific evidence he admitted and excluded from the case, including odor samples.
Perry also discussed a recent conversation he had with an alternate juror about how jurors felt they were treated by prosecutors and defense attorneys.
In Warmoth's interview, Perry elaborates on his theory of how Caylee died and what he thinks Casey Anthony possibly did after her death.
Perry also discussed why defense attorney Jose Baez was allowed to present his theory of the case in his opening statements without providing solid evidence later in the trial.
Perry likened Baez to a "riverboat gambler" who took great risks and won over jurors with his charm.
He told Warmoth during the interview that he had to re-read the verdict to ensure it was correct.
"When the verdict was handed down, I remember watching Chief Judge Belvin Perry taking his time to read the decision," Warmoth said. "He, like so many, was surprised by the verdict. Perry said it felt like time stood still, and I recall that exact feeling."
Warmoth, who covered the trial with WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer, said one of the most memorable aspects of covering the disappearance of and the search for Caylee Anthony and the trial of Casey Anthony was the immense national interest the story generated.
"We had a counter on our interactive website that showed us how many people were logging in," Warmoth said. "It was my first taste of the power of social media. And when the verdict was read, you could watch the counter clicking by so fast you couldn't even read the numbers."
Anthony Colarossi, Channel 9's executive producer of special projects, said the surprising verdict prompted a series of questions among those who covered the trial.
"Many who covered the case for so long and knew the evidence figured she would be found guilty of first-degree murder or a lesser included charge," Colarossi said. "So the not guilty verdict ... added more drama and lingering questions to the whole case. Did the prosecution fall down on the job? Did everyone underestimate the defense? Did Casey’s legal team outclass the prosecution? Did the prosecution overcharge the case?"
Colarossi said it was clear early on that the case had garnered broad interest because reporters from national news organizations had traveled to Orlando to cover the search for Caylee Anthony.
"Everyone was watching this trial. It was like a soap opera people had to see. And it was a circus for the media," Colarossi said. "But it was also a tragedy -- the death of a beautiful, young child. That was rightfully part of the national obsession with this case as well."
Cox Media Group