Ex-fiance calls Casey's family a 'circus of dysfunctionality'
Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton also hit several shows today.
Reacting to the verdict at left the defense team celebrates, in center Casey Anthony smiles knowing she has been acquitted and at right, prosecutors Jeff Ashton and Linda Drane Burdick are tight-lipped. (Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel / March 5, 2014)
- Videos: Prosecutor reacts to verdict, Jesse Grund talks
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Casey Anthony's ex-fiancé Jesse Grund also appeared on the Today Show and described the Anthony family as a "circus of dysfunctionality."
Ashton, Grund and other key figures who participated in the murder trial or were involved in the case dominated network television shows this morning.
"Obviously, it's not the outcome we wanted," Ashton told the hosts of The View. "But from the perspective of what we do, this was a fantastic case."
Ashton on Tuesday announced he was retiring Friday from the State Attorney's Office. His announcement came shortly after the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Marie.
"The facts that we had…this was first-degree murder," Ashton said. "I think it all came down to the evidence. I think ultimately it came down to the cause of death."
Ashton explained that if the jury did not perceive first-degree murder when they saw the photograph of Caylee Marie's skull with the duct tape, "then so be it."
The attorney and other key figures who participated in the murder trial or were involved in the case dominated network television shows this morning.
"I think I mouthed the word 'Wow' five times," Ashton told NBC's Today Show host Matt Lauer about the moment when he heard the not-guilty verdicts.
He also complimented Casey Anthony's lead defense attorney, Jose Baez. The younger man did his cross-examinations well and has the potential to be a great attorney, Ashton said.
Former defense team attorney Linda Kenney Baden told Today Show host Ann Curry that the state was trying to "find Elvis on toast."
Baden also said the jury reached the right verdict.
"We should embrace their verdict," Baden said.
Meanwhile, Grund said in an appearance on the Today Show that he was upset about the outcome of the trial.
"All it took was the defense to show a little bit of how dysfunctional they were to start poking holes in the prosecution's case," Grund told Lauer. "[Cindy Anthony's] example of lying, as I've always said, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
He also said the not-guilty verdict shocked him.
"It was obvious from the evidence that was presented that Casey was the last person to see Caylee alive and her body was dumped in the woods," Grund said.
Tracy McLaughlin, the former bodyguard hired by bounty hunter Leonard Padilla to watch Casey Anthony, told Lauer she "felt sick to her stomach" when the verdict was announced Tuesday.
McLaughlin, who spent time at the Anthonys' home, thinks Cindy Anthony will welcome her daughter back home.
"It's hard to quit loving your daughter," McLaughlin said. However, she said George Anthony most likely will not remain in the same house with his daughter. Casey Anthony's defense team in court accused her father of sexually molesting her — a charge he strongly denied.
Alternate juror Russ Huekler, also known as Juror No. 14, appeared earlier on the Today Show.
"I definitely agree that they did get it right. I support that decision wholeheartedly," Huekler told Lauer about the not-guilty verdicts rendered by jurors. "Reasonable doubt" was a key factor for him.
"No, she did not get away with murder,'' Huekler told Lauer.
On Tuesday, a 12-member panel at the Orange County Courthouse rendered verdicts that shocked and outraged many in Orlando and across the globe.
They found Anthony, 25, not guilty of first-degree murder and not guilty of aggravated child abuse and not guilty of aggravated manslaughter of a child in connection with the death of her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.
After deliberating for 11 hours over two days, the jurors, who heard from dozens of witnesses and saw hundreds of pieces of evidence throughout Anthony's 36-day trial, convicted her of four counts of lying to law enforcement, which carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison per count.
Anthony is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday.
This is a breaking-news story. Check back later for updates.
Kevin Connolly of the Sentinel staff contributed to this story.