July 5th, 2011
07:55 PM ET

Jury's verdict: Casey Anthony not guilty of murder

Editor's note: For more on the jury's finding that Casey Anthony is not guilty in daughter Caylee's death read our full story here.

[Updated at 8:20 p.m.] From the moment word came that Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, online networking sites were flooded with a cascade of amateur commentary. A few big names, including Kim Kardashian, joined the fray. Most condemned the verdict - "no justice for Caylee" was a common comment - which comes after years of the case serving as fodder for cable news, tabloids and the like.

[Updated at 7:55 p.m.] Mourners of Caylee Anthony want you to turn your porch lights on tonight in honor of the slain 2-year-old.

The Facebook event, "Porch lights on for Caylee Marie Anthony," urges people "all over the world" to start participating at "9 pm in your own time zone."

Already, 546,610 have said they're attending, and some say their lights are already on.

ALTERNATE JUROR SPEAKS

[Updated at 7:20 p.m.] Alternate juror Russell Huekler said he agrees with the jury's verdict "wholeheartedly" and surmised that Caylee Anthony's death was a "horrific accident" gone awry.

"The prosecution did not prove their case," said Huekler, who sat through the entire case but did not get to deliberate the charges.

Prosecutors failed to answer the question of how Caylee died, he said.

From the testimony, Huekler said he drew the conclusion that "it was probably a horrific accident" that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, covered up.

"Unfortunately it did snowball and got away from them," Huekler said. "It was such a horrific accident that they didn't know how to deal with it. The family appeared to be very dysufintional and instead of admitting there was an accident, they chose to hide it, for whatever reason."

CASEY ANTHONY'S FAMILY

[Updated at 5:08 p.m.] Attorney Mark Lippman issued a statement on behalf of Lee, George and Cindy Anthony:

While the family may never know what has happened to Caylee Marie Anthony, they now have closure for this chapter of their life. They will now begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.

Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the Jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented and the rules that were given to them by the Honorable Judge Perry to guide them.

The family hopes that they will be given the time by the media to reflect on this verdict and decide the best way to move forward privately.

The family also wanted the public to know that if anyone wanted to honor Caylee by leaving stuffed animals or other toys at any area near their home, that they would prefer those items be donated in Caylee’ s name to families in need, religious centers, or any other entity where the toys would be appreciated.

ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

[Updated at 4:10 p.m.] Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings issues a plea for restraint after Casey Anthony is acquitted of murder.

"As the verdict has been rendered we ask our community to respect the decision the jury and court have made today. We ask for your continued peaceful acknowledgement of that verdict.

THE PROSECUTION SPEAKS

[Updated at 3:47 p.m.] The delay in recovering Caylee Anthony's remains worked to the "considerable disadvantage" to the prosecution's efforts to prove Casey Anthony's guilt, Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Lawson Lamar said.

With no "smoking gun" and a victim who was "reduced by time and the elements to skeletal remains," made the case all the more the more difficult to prove, he said. Nonetheless, he said, police and prosecutors did their job - and so did the jury.

"I never, ever criticize a jury; theirs is a task of deciding what to believe," he said. "We're disappointed with the verdict today and surprised because we know the facts and we put in absolutely every single piece of evidence that existed."

He said his staff would return to the task of addressing the 101,00 cases that come to his office each year, including a handful of open child murder cases.

"Child murders, regrettably and terribly, are not rare in America today and those deaths are no less horrible," he said. "The only difference is the news has not highlighted their murders."

He also praised his staff for not talking about the case outside of the courtroom, saying the rush to convict Casey Anthony in the news "led to the great expense" of having to seek a jury "outside the media market."

"So much of the angst and taxpayer expense could've been avoided if others had not succumbed to the temptation provided by quick notoriety," Lawson said.

"For us the case has never been about the defendant in particular. It has always been about seeking justice for Caylee and speaking on her behalf."

THE JURY

[Updated at 3:14 p.m.] Members of the jury in the Casey Anthony case have said they are not interested in speaking with members about the case or the verdict, a court spokeswoman said.

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.] We are waiting on an expected news conference from the jurors in the Casey Anthony trial.

A room has been set up for them to address the media, but none are required to actually say anything if they do not want to.

THE DEFENSE SPEAKS

[Updated at 2:50 p.m.] Defense Attorney Jose Baez said he had mixed emotions about the case and that he had to work hard against media bias that existed during the search for Caylee and the case against Casey Anthony.

"You cannot convict someone until they have their day in court," he said.

Baez said he was happy for Casey Anthony and the decision made by the jury. Now he hopes Casey Anthony can move on.

"I want her to grieve and to grow and somehow get her life back together," he said.

Baez said the case was a true example of a jury doing what they are supposed to - finding their verdict based on evidence and not emotion.

"We have the greatest constitution in the world and if the media and other members of the public don’t respect it, it will become meaningless," he said. "And today and yesterday on the Fourth of July,  there was a breath of life."

Baez said he is thrilled that when he goes home today and his daughter asks what he did today he can say - "I saved a life."

"I think this case is a perfect example for why the death penalty does not work... " Baez added. "Murder is not right no matter who does it."

[Updated at 2:45 p.m.] Dorothy Clay Sims speaking first for the defense team addressed the media.

"I am thankful for today's verdict on behalf of Casey Anthony," she said.

Defense Attorney Cheney Mason also addressed the media, angrily scolding them for their coverage of the case.

"I hope that this is a lesson to those who have indulged in media assassination for three years," he said.

Defense Attorney Jose Baez added that "while we're happy for Casey there are no winners in this case."

"Caylee has passed on far, far too soon, and what my driving force has been for the past three years is to make sure there has been justice for Caylee and Casey," he said. "Casey did not murder Caylee, it's that simple. And today our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction."

[Updated at 2:34 p.m.] A room is being prepared for the jury to take questions from the media about their verdict.

THE REACTION

iReport: What's your reaction to the verdict

[Updated at 2:31 p.m.] For the first time a wide smile came across Casey Anthony's face. She began to smile and laugh as her team surrounded her and congratulated her on being found not guilty of murdering her daughter.

[Updated at 2:29 p.m.] Casey Anthony took tissues from a court bailiff and wiped her face at the back of the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:26 p.m.] Casey Anthony embraced her attorney Jose Baez and the rest of her legal team before sobbing.

Anthony wiped tears from her eyes as her team of lawyers hugged each other.

[Updated at 2:24 p.m.] Casey Anthony wiped tears from her eyes and clutched her attorneys' hands as the judge addressed the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:23 p.m.] Casey Anthony returned to the courtroom after briefly leaving with a slight smile on her face.

The judge set sentencing for Thursday at 9 a.m.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m.] Casey Anthony has left the courtroom. Her parents also quickly left the courtroom after the verdict was read.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m.] Judge Belvin Perry confirms the jury's verdict.

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] Casey Anthony cried as she hugged her defense attorney Jose Baez before she approached a podium to be addressed by the judge.

THE VERDICT

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] A poll of the jurors showed they all agreed on the verdict for every count.

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] Casey Anthony has been found guilty of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement in the case of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, who was slain in 2008.

[Updated at 2:19 p.m.] Casey Anthony is sobbing in court as the verdict is being read.

[Updated at 2:17 p.m.]  Casey Anthony has been found not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. She was also found not guilty of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter.

[Updated at 2:16 p.m.] Judge Belvin Perry is reading over the verdict form filled out by the jury.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.] The jury has entered the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.] Members inside the courtroom have stood up as Judge Belvin Perry prepares to bring in the jury.

[Updated at 2:11 p.m.] George Anthony is sitting with his eyes closed and his hands clasped next to his wife Cindy inside the courtroom as they await to hear their daughter's fate.

[Updated at 2:04 p.m.] Casey Anthony, flanked by her lawyers, is sitting silently, biting her lip and taking deep breaths as she awaits the jury's verdict.

[Updated at 2:02 p.m.] Casey Anthony has just entered the courtroom and was met by two of her lawyers. She is wearing a pink ruffled shirt, her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she was biting her nails.

[Updated at 1:57 p.m.] Jose Baez, one of Casey Anthony's lawyers, has just arrived at the courthouse in Orlando, Florida, In Session reports.

THE DELIBERATION

[Updated at 1:52 p.m.] The jury deliberated for 10 hours, 40 minutes and 33 seconds before reaching a verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, which included 33 days of testimony and two days of closing arguments, according to CNN sister network HLN.

[Updated at 1:45 p.m.] The jury has reached a verdict in the Casey Anthony capital murder trial, according to staff at the Orange County, Florida, courthouse.

The verdict, reached by the seven-woman, five-man jury, will cap a trial that stretched to more than six weeks and featured allegations of sexual abuse, questions regarding Casey Anthony's competence and various theories on what happened to 2-year-old Caylee.

The verdict is scheduled to be read at 2:15 p.m ET.

Casey Anthony, 25, was charged with seven counts - first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to a law-enforcement officer in Caylee's 2008 disappearance and death.

Read what each charge means

Watch Nancy Grace Monday through Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. For the latest from Nancy Grace click here.

soundoff (7,331 Responses)
  1. LMC

    Where did they find 12 of the dumbest people in America who cannot deduct from the most obvious of facts?!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Coco

    This is freakin' unbelievable. "[Updated at 2:23 p.m.] Casey Anthony returned to the courtroom after briefly leaving with a slight smile on her face." I hope she rots in hell.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. linda

    so a little baby is deal and no one cares? no wonder the parents walked out. this is unbelievable........... just like OJ! dont worry little Caylee, mommy will slip up and end up just like OJ. either that or she will get hers in the end. this is so unfair to this little girl. so its like she never existed!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sandy

    Are you freakin kidding me? Then who killed this poor, innocent child? I am so upset that there is not justice for this innocent child. This world is going to hell.........

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. George

    What a disgrace to the system and sending a message that individuals CAN get away with murder. Casey lied, evidence was stacked against her and she walks away. I have lost all faith in our system now. The individuals on that jury obviously was asleep during the trial or have no common sense at all. Disgusting!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim

    Now I wonder if she'll go home with Daddy, the bad guy that killed and dumped her little girl! Imagine how we look around the world. We're a joke!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    Told ya! Not enough evidence she participated in the death

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Arthur

    I guess she will have to live with it from now on. Only she knows what happened. Her biggest punishment is not being able to walk around in peace without being called "killer"

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Liz

    Remember that this was about a little one...let the Baby Mama fade into the shadows...turn away and let her suffer the worst consequence...no more attention...Bless Baby Kaylee and keep her in your prayers.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sUiCiDeR

    stupid ass jury.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fran

      Exactly!! They have to be brain dead.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Catherine

      This is stupid. The jury is clearly out of their mind!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • MOTHER

      Actually I think you are wrong, I think this is a smart jury. The state screwed up, and presented a case that could not be proven. The jury made a decision based on the law and what was presented to them, and did the right thing. There was too much doubt, no matter how much you dislike her, there are too many holes in the case from both sides to convict a 23 year old girl for being a "Bad Girl" . As a grandmother, it would not have taken me 31 days to call the police myself, if I was used to seeing my granddaughter daily and then all of a sudden no one is found? no one is seen? There is much more to this story.. and the jury knew it.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shocked

      If Law Enforcement would have gone to where body was found when the meter reader called the first time. They may have been able to get more info from Caylee and this might have turned out different. She wanted to be found in time but they didn’t listen when she called for them. I Believe Karma, what goes around comes around. Now go have your “Beautiful Life” Casey.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kelly

    Well she is guilty of lying to police, that will get her a few years of probation. She will go back to live with her parents and have more babies and be the white trash that she is. GO CASEY!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConradBezo

      She already has 3 years time served.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    OJ all over again

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • FrighteningPrecedentLaw

      This decision essentially establishes "how to kill your unwanted kid(s) in Florida" a) kill them by suffocation, b) hide the evidence well by not reporting them missing, c) IF the body is found claim, "well, I panicked... my kid drowned... and I didn't want to incur child abuse charges." Thanks broken court system! You should be proud of your dysfunction.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tasha

      This don't have a DAMN!!!!! thing to do with OJ........................

      July 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. movement31

    that little seed of doubt is really not little at all and there was a lot of doubt

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Nope – as a mother there was no doubt.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brian

    Welcome to America... Where you can get away with murder...

    It seems like the spineless idiots of our country always end up on jury duty...

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      Stop blaming the jury, the state needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and not to let emotion get in the way. The state provided their case with mostly emotions instead of facts.

      Sorry, but the state didn't make a strong enough case, the evidence was weak. I can't believe my tax money pays for such an incompetent investigation and DA's. I demand my money back.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • disgusted with jury

      I fully blame the jury and hope their lives are tormented over this

      July 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bob johnson

    Nancy Grace just downed a bottle of Valium when she heard the verdict

    July 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • jmace57

      Don't try and cheer me up.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • NOTAFRUIT

      Your mom just downed a bottle of valium

      July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
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