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Pinellas woman regrets serving on Anthony jury

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Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 02:28 PM

If she had to do it all over again, Jennifer Ford says, she might not have been as willing to serve as a juror in the Casey Anthony murder trial.

She was kicked out of her house the day after the verdict. Swarms of media have tried to get interviews with her. There has been nationwide scorn for the 12-member jury panel that cleared Anthony of first-degree murder and other felony charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

"If I knew then what I know now, I might not have been so honest," says Ford, a 32-year-old nursing student. "I didn't know the whole world was watching and that everyone had their mind made up on what the verdict was. I didn't understand the magnitude of it."

Now, however, she does.

For the woman who in May hadn't even heard about the case when it took two weeks to seat a jury from Pinellas County, it has been an eye-opening experience.

"It's just overwhelming," says Ford, who has lost about 10 pounds from all the stress related to the case.

Reporters were at her house before she even arrived home from Orlando after the six-week trial. The same was true at her mother's residence.

When friends came out of the house, they were under siege from reporters. So was the air-conditioning repairman.

"I was pretty much forced to talk," she says of an interview she gave to ABC News in which she said there was not enough evidence to convict Anthony of more-serious charges. "They wouldn't go away."

If she had it her way, Ford says, she would not have given that interview – in which she returned to Orlando for a chat with a network reporter.

"I don't think you should have to talk about it," she says. "It wasn't my idea. It certainly wasn't what I wanted. I just wanted my freedom. If that is what I had to do, so be it."

Ford blames the media for much of what has happened after the verdict that led to much anger and many protests.

"I think the media helped them to determine what their thoughts are," she says. "I think the media helped to determine the case before the jury saw it."

Ford says she hopes to never again see a criminal case from the jury box.

"I should get a lifetime pass," she says.


rshaw@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7999

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