Imperfect Justice?: Jeff Ashton

The Verdict, The Reaction
When a jury acquitted Casey Anthony of murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, many were left stunned and infuriated. But perhaps most frustrated was lead prosecutor Jeff Ashton, who details his feelings — and makes new revelations — in his book, Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony. Ashton sits down with Dr. Phil to answer tough questions about the case.

“Wow was the only thought in my mind, over and over again. Wow! How could this have happened?” Ashton says about the moment he heard the not guilty verdict.

Dr. Phil asks if there was ever a time during the trial that Ashton thought his case was in trouble. "This could spin out of control — that never occurred?" he asks.

"It didn't, really," Ashton says. "We felt the trial really went well for us."

[AD]Dr. Phil shows a clip of Casey's defense attorney, Jose Baez, calling Ashton "this laughing guy" during the trial, which resulted in a court break and a discussion in the judge's chambers.

"Why did you smirk?"


When asked what he thinks about Baez, Ashton says, “He was not honest, I felt, with myself, with the Anthonys at one point, and at some times with the court.”


Dr. Phil asks Ashton to discuss jurors’ claims that without a cause of death, they could not determine who killed Caylee.

"No one outside of the jury and us, or people at the trial, has seen the photographs of how Caylee's remains were found, and to me, that spoke volumes; that was the proof," he emphasizes. "If someone can look at that photograph of that little girl's skull with duct tape from ear to ear, going across her mouth and nose, and say, 'I don't know how she died,' so be it. But when I look at that photograph of that little girl, there's no question in my mind how that child died," he says. "The one thing I've always been interested in, that no one has ever asked the jurors or anybody else, is, 'How did that duct tape get there?'" 

Dr. Phil shows a clip from an interview, in which Casey’s father, George Anthony, says he thinks that Caylee may have died after being given too much of "some kind of drug.”

Ashton says the theory is at least possibly closer to the truth than some previous versions he’s heard from the family. “It still doesn’t explain the duct tape,” he adds.

“What do you think happened?” Dr. Phil asks.

[AD]Ashton says the only scenario that makes sense to him is that Casey decided Caylee was keeping her from the life she wanted. “It is clear to me that on June 16, [Casey] used something — probably chloroform, because there’s chloroform in the trunk — to knock Caylee out, and then very humanely dispatched her with duct tape over her nose and mouth so that she would suffocate; she died in her sleep, in the trunk of that car, and Casey went off to her boyfriend’s house and hung out with him for a couple of days.” Ashton says he believes Casey intended to kill her daughter. “There’s no reason to put duct tape over a child’s nose and mouth unless you want to kill them,” he says emphatically.



“So, you never for one second believed that this child drowned?” Dr. Phil asks.

“No!” Ashton exclaims. “Nobody takes a child that has drowned in a pool and then dumps them in a swamp with duct tape over their mouth.”

Dr. Phil asks what Ashton thought of the jury.

[AD]Ashton says there was difficulty in getting a jury who was as passionate about the case as he was because of the pre-trial publicity.

"You weren't that kind to them in the book," Dr. Phil points out.

“They were bland,” he admits. “They were not the jury we wanted.” Ashton says he preferred jurors who were passionate, decisive and liked to put the pieces together. “But all of those people had already put the pieces together,” he says.

Ashton shares what he says are the never-before-revealed contents of Casey's psychological report.