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. nosnobunny

    You have got to be kidding me!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    What a horrible injustice for that little girl.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Today, in the United States of America, we have witnessed just how UNJUST we the people are

      July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      That's true. But that's not how the justice system works. There was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If we convicted her just because we 'knew' that she did it in our hearts, there'd be tons of innocent people in prison.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Observer1

    What do you have to do to be found GUILTY of anything in America?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reason

      Be black lol.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      VICTORY FOR THE LEGAL SYSTEM! DEFEAT FOR THE MOB! There was never a good case...just a whole lot of hate stirred up by the media. SIT DOWN NANCY GRACE! TODAY THE HATERS LOST!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      What do you have to do to be found guilty? Leave proof that you committed a crime. In this case, they had no actual proof.

      With that said, I freely admit she did it.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. poopsy magee

    i want a piece of that action. MMM MMM......

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bryan

    YES! Finally a victory over the mindless mob! Sit down Nancy Grace, sit down all you haters....there was never a good case here! Justice is finally served!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherri

      A child is dead. Where is her justice?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Justice for WHAT? The only people that think she's innocent, are idiots! I bet you're a lawyer!?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      Did you not hear any of the evidence?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DC603

    I think she did it, I think she lied about a ton, but there's no proof beyond a reasonable doubt, so the correct decision was made.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • RIALgal

      I completely agree.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      how can it be correct if she did it!!!! This is another case that proves the justice system doesn't work.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      It can be correct because proof beyond a reasonable doubt is needed to convict someone. Sure, I KNOW it in my gut, but can you imagine how many innocent people would go to prison if they jury just 'knew in their gut?'

      July 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Deborah

    She can thank her lying mother for casting doubt in the jurors' minds.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sponger

    OJ hepled her!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. blind_justice

    so who did it? Jimmy Hoffa, OJ ?
    She was Partying, having body shots while her little baby was missing...what more do you need?
    She made up a history about a nanny that doesn't exist...What more do you need?
    Her car smelled like dead corpse...what more do you want?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      "She was Partying, having body shots while her little baby was missing...what more do you need?"

      Proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

      "She made up a history about a nanny that doesn't exist...What more do you need?"

      Proof that she was guilty of murder. Her made of story shows she was guilty of lying. She was found guilty on that charge of lying.

      "Her car smelled like dead corpse...what more do you want?"
      I want you to reread the information; there was also a bag of trash in the trunk. Forensic experts found no human remains. That's not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Don't get me wrong; she did it. But our justice system requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That was not here in this case. As terrible as this is, they made the right call. You can't put people in prison based on emotion or gut instinct.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      @DC603 You are a retard. What you just said is the EXACT REASON the justice system is a JOKE. You say she was only guilty of lying, but WHY was she lying? You don't care, because your brain doesn't think any deeper than the surface? She lied because she was trying to cover herself up and throw people off. If you're innocent, you have no reason to make up elaborate stories about people that don't even exist! You, along with the justice system, are an absolute disgrace to America. I'm truly embarrassed to be even associated with people like you.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      John,
      You don't need to be embarrassed; you're not associated with me.
      I'm merely pointing out how the justice system works, since many people here don't seem to know.

      "You say she was only guilty of lying, but WHY was she lying? You don't care, because your brain doesn't think any deeper than the surface?"
      No, I don't care because the justice system only requires the answer to 'Did she lie,' not 'Why did she lie.'

      It's obvious she lied because she was covering up something. Most likely the murder of her daughter. But there's no actual proof she did it. The prosecutors weren't even sure how the little girl died.

      My gut instinct, and yours too, tell us that she did it. And I'm sure she did. But are you suggesting we convict people without proof?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gabe

    I feel sorry for this jury. They knew she was guilty, but had to follow the law and fulfill their duty as jurors. Remember the old saying, "it's worth letting 10 murderers go free to prevent 1 innocent from being imprisoned." Well, here is one of those 10.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      Agreed; she is guilty, but they followed the law. It has to be done this way.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. garc

    That is CRAZY. This psychopath is as guilty as OJ. Her poor daughter.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. right_wing

    american justice system = weak democratic influence = garbage

    July 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reason

      Floriderr = Republican hellhole populated by rednecks

      July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sherri

    There is no justice in this world.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Grogin13

    Wow, no justice for Caylee...Its like OJ all over again.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. EPV

    What an absolute sin that she's been found not guilty! I'm hoping someone will assasinate her on the street!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
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