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. SavedByGrace

    I'm glad that our God is more forgiving and gracious than some of the people's opinions on here. Such toxic venom, hatred and condemnation. Even though I think she knows or perhaps maybe did have something to do with Caylee's death there was resonable doubt and I couldn't find her guilty. The only thing that I disagreed with was not finding her guilty for "Child Abuse and Neglect" as she didn't report Caylee missing until 30 days later. Everyone of us has to give an account for sins and we should practice more forgiveness and mercy towards others if we want God to judge us as such. You guys remind me those screaming "Crucify Him" when they crucified Christ. Why are you so hardened and can't see that everyone has suffered by this and everyone deserves compassion and forgiveness? Did not Christ die for your sins as well?

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

      Too bad God isn't real.

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

      What a bunch of nonsense! Are you seriously comparing the crucifixion of Jesus to anger over the release of a mother who murdered her own child? You can be a moral person, without having your head in the sand.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. blake

    It's amazing what you can get away with these days. She not only killed her daughter, but did so in a very cruel, inhumane way (suffocation). Makes me sick.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    Ugh. Now for the real question...how long before Casey gets her own reality show?! Technically she's been on one for the last two months already.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shyone

    So should we expect a "If I did it" book from here in the near future???

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

    Even OJ Simpson was saying, "Come on, what the F*** was the jury thinking letting a guilty person go free???"

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jill

    She knows she murdered her child. She knows that the world (and the jury) knows she murdered her child. But in court, it's not about guilt or innocense, it's about playing the game. I was once told by a successful criminal defense attorney (my ex husband) that it's all about playing a game. His job is to prove his client innocent, even if he or she is guilty. To do that, all you have to do is plant one seed of doubt and it's over. It's true that Casey Anthony can never be tried for this crime again....under the current charges. However, it's a game and all a good prosecutor would have to do is re-word the charges and it starts all over again. However in this case, in the end, the child is the loser (no matter who wins). RIP Caley, your momma can't hurt you anymore.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. carrie

    Justice not served today and we as society say it is ok to do what she has done. I am flabergasted at the decision of this liberal jury. Why don't we let all the criminals free too. Seriously? Outraged!

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

      "liberal jury" ... brilliant and timely ... Karl Rove couldn't have done that better.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. SueB

    Casey Anthony will now visit every talk show, write a book, get a movie deal and make millions of dollars...all off the back of her dead daughter. What a shame that the jury could not see the truth. So sad for this little precious child...now gone, but hopefully, never forgotten.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. crewhawkins

    I am dissapointed, but not surprised. I guess you cant lock someone up for the rest of their life due to bad parenting. She will live her life full of regret and guilt and in or out jail, that is a miserable life. I hope that one day justice will be served to the person that hurt that beautiful little girl and she can finally rest in peace!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Yanelys

    “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”
    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
    The Jury screwed up big, How can you find her not guilty!!!!!!!!
    Her daughter is missing and she goes and gets a tattoo saying Bella Vida, please she is going to hell. And her parents are just as trashy as she is. Mom searching for chloraform and dad having an affair while there grandaughter is possibly dead.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SMD_lawyer

    Just because she was found not guilty does not mean she is innocent. Common sense tells us she did it. Unfortunately, common sense and the law don't always coincide.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. pat

    if she was black or mexican she would of been guilty

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

      And the only people that would know about the case would be her family and friends since Nancy Grace and Geraldo only like little hot white chicks. I new nancy was a butch.

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

    A jury found her not guilty, get over it. Guilty have gone free and innocent have been jailed. Perhaps we should just let the prosecution decide who is guilty. Those of you who hate the "jury" or "court system", are a bunch of spoiled little brats. Grow Up!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Noodles

    As if any of you were in the courtroom day after day hearing the mountains of testimony. I do understand that some of you live a worthless life and have nothing better to do but watch Nancy Grace and Geraldo Rivera all day long. So you are indeed biased by the Witch hunters (aka associated press).

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

    americans....

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