Casey Anthony investigator predicts difficult future for her

Casey Anthony smiles  before the start of her sentencing hearing in Orlando, Fla.,Thursday, July 7, 2011. Judge Belvin Perry sentenced Anthony to four years for lying to investigators but says she can go free in late July or early August because she has already served nearly three years in jail and has had good behavior. While acquitted of killing and abusing her daughter, Caylee, Anthony was convicted of four counts of lying to detectives trying to find her daughter. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool)

Casey Anthony smiles before the start of her sentencing hearing in Orlando, Fla.,Thursday, July 7, 2011. Judge Belvin Perry sentenced Anthony to four years for lying to investigators but says she can go free in late July or early August because she has already served nearly three years in jail and has had good behavior. While acquitted of killing and abusing her daughter, Caylee, Anthony was convicted of four counts of lying to detectives trying to find her daughter. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool)

Despite her acquittal on murder charges, Casey Anthony -- scheduled for release from jail Sunday in Orlando -- will face an uncertain future. She may always be blamed for the death of her toddler daughter, her lead defense investigator said.

"Everywhere she goes -- five years from now, 10 years from now -- there's going to be somebody yelling 'baby killer' to her," said Jeremiah "Jerry" Lyons, a private investigator hired in 2009 by Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez.

"Everyone, or someone, will always ... believe that she had something to do with the death of her daughter, Caylee," he added

Anthony, 25, is expected to leave the Orange County jail Sunday. She was sentenced to four years behind bars following her convictions on three counts of lying to law enforcement officials. She was given credit for time served, and time was cut for good behavior, records show. She's expected to serve a year of probation related to convictions in an earlier check fraud case.

Anthony's legal team expects her to go into hiding, Lyons said in his first interview since Anthony's trial ended July 5.

Lyons criticized the police investigation into the death of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, blasted the media for a nonstop onslaught of coverage and staunchly declared Casey Anthony's innocence.

"When I entered into this case, I thought there was a good chance she was guilty," he said. "And when I walk out of it, I know that she is innocent. And I believe her to be innocent, not just 'not guilty.'"

Lyons, who in 1994 retired after a 20-year career as a detective with the New York City Transit Police, insisted he never found a shred of evidence that proved Anthony was a murderer.

"Witnesses were encouraged not to speak to the defense, and it just made everything a lot harder for the defense to find the truth," he recalled.

"I don't think it's a secret that everybody has had Casey convicted and executed for almost three years now."

He held a similar attitude in 2008, he said, before authorities found Caylee Anthony's remains in a field near the home of Casey's parents, George and Cindy Anthony.

He never believed the toddler's death was a homicide, he said.

Lyons echoed defense claims offered at trial -- that Caylee's death was "a horrible accident that spiraled out of control."

Lyons said he doesn't know how Anthony plans to support herself, but he doesn't discount her selling the rights to her story for a profit.

"She's going to need a start and I would think that's a possibility and ... I don't see anything wrong with that," he said.

During a news conference this week, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and the top detectives in the Anthony case defended their investigation and insisted they'd built a strong enough case against Anthony to uphold a murder conviction.

Lyons said Anthony's legal team hopes to help her build a foundation so she'll be strong enough to survive what remains an uncertain future.

"But ... she'll have to eventually venture out on her own," he said. "... She survived this -- I hope she has what it takes to survive from here on out."

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