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. Anonymous

    Florida's new slogan..."Wanna kill or molest a kid scott-free...come on down!"

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

      Sorry, I think you are confused... that is the TSA's recruitment slogan.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chuck

    What a joke! How can Casey Anthony get off with lieing to police and when ask where her daughter was lied about that. When she knew her daughter was dead when she called home only was interested in her boyfriend phone number and wasn't even upset that her daughter was dead and she knew!!! But you find her not guilty? Thats bull crap! Another child muderer gets off!

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

      She didn't get off. She was found guilty of giving false information, aka lying.

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

      She didn't get away with lying to the police, she was found guilty of misleading them.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colleen

      She didn't get off for lying to police. That's the only charge on which they found her guilty.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherri

      I'm with you Chuck....

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

      Did you read? She was found guilty of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement...

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

      Obviously it's more important to the twelve (piers) that you don't lie to the police, but go ahead and KILL your child "CAYLEE" so you can party.....Guess CASEY DID get the life she wanted!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CAYLEE IS MY HERO

    the name explains it all..

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    The thing is, the entire jury can believe she is guilty and still find her not guilty, and just because she is found not guilty doesn't mean she didn't do it.

    The jury is supposed to put aside their feelings and look at the evidence objectively. I really felt it could have gone either way, there was no really SOLID proof that she did it, even if everything pointed to her. They just couldn't get that "beyond a reasonable doubt" part taken care of. There was still that slight doubt.

    If it's worth anything, I think she did it myself. I think she lucked out and there was just enough uncertainty for the verdict to come out in her favor. I think if the evidence was handled a bit better, like the whole duct tape incident, it might have gone the other way.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherri

      I am with you Mike, I think she got away with it....

      July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. baraeinga

    maybe no justice on earth, but if she did those cruel things to her baby, justice will prevail... by the only one who has a right to judge her. My God will take care of Caylee till those who love her go home to Heaven to be with that baby! This excuse for a human will be judged and found guilty and will suffer the consequences for all of forever. she better enjoy the rest of the time she has because she will burn in hell for her crimes, while the people who love, loved her child will get to take proper care of Caylee, and love her as a innocent, sweet, precious angel she is!! casey anthony will get what she deserves if she killed that baby!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CyndiLouHooo

    She will get her justice one day... Someone out there will get justice for Caylee.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ceridwin13

    Of course she's smiling as she leaves the courtroom. She got away with murder. Wouldn't you smile?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JC Reyes

    Take That Nancy Grace!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ryan

    CNN is supposed to be a neutral news providing source, but this verdict has shown that almost all of the CNN "personalities" were hoping for a guilty verdict. Clearly, CNN is biased, not reputable, and all I can say to them is "You want a tissue, you all look like you want to cry"

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CAsteph

    Yes, she could have killed Caylee and probably did (I also think her family was involved), but the fact remains you can't convict someone of murder beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence the prosecution provided. If they wanted a guilty verdict they should have done more work before the trial started. It's sad but I'm not surprised.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Martin

    Casey to appear on Letterman Thursday night! Set your DVR's!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cee cee

    i just dont understand how someone like her gets away with this, but at the end only the lord knows what really did happen i do know that her day will come an she will not get away again . how can she get away with murder

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      "someone like her gets away with this"

      Ummm, because you are guilty just because you're a lying manipulator? It's still up to the prosecution to provide evidence and prove someone is guilty. Passion should not be part of our justice system...

      July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jdog

    guilty of giving false evidence though...crazy, crazy crazy system

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Donna

    Maybe she will now get some jailhouse justice. We can only hope!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I was thinking the same thing

      July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J

    This is a state that needed their votes re-counted because they are so stupid.I'm definitely not surprised she got off easy.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
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