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. Phillip

    Hugo, hit the nail right on the head. The evidence was there, but the State did not prove their case and convince the jury. What comes around goes around!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tkessler45

    To all you naysayers out there, the Jury had far more knowledge of the case than you ever had or ever will have. Justice was done. Even though you have already convicted Casey Anthony in your minds, the worst thing is to put her away because you feel like it, more than what the evidence suggests. If you do not have enough to convict, then you can't do it...plain and simple! The worst thing in the world would be to prey upon an innocent person because you feel some sort of justice needs to be done. Someone did kill Caylee and it's horrible we can't figure out who did it, but as it stands there is no evidence to prove her mom did it.

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

      that's absolutely not true. We hear a lot of evidence in the public that never makes it in front of the jury.

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

      Right tkessler, EVERYONE looks up Chloroform & neck breaking! Everyone has traces of chloroform in their car trunks w/the smell of death. And EVERYONE parties while their little girl is missing. Mmm hmm.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chick

    cant believe it! are those jurors blind not to see all those evidence. she killed her own daughter and got away..this is so pathetic! starting to have question marks for jury system. does it really give justice??

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

    Wow she sure does look happy. You'd think she'd be upset that someone murdered her child?

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

    OJ Simpson all over again only worse. Now SHE gets her freedom & the "Bella Vita" she craved so badly; and there will never be justice for Caylee. Those jurors are morons. I hope when she meets her maker justice prevails.

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

    Thank you Baez and Jurors (12) You all just taught hundreds if not thousands of neglectful parents how to get away with murder. It's on you.

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

    I wonder how Casey's parents feel?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bella rinebold

    At last Justice was served! You want the killer ? GEORGE ANTHONY! what kind of parent's run off like scared liars when their own child is not guilty! Casey was framed by cops and father as well as her mother! May God Bless You Casey and our deepest sympathy in YOUR LOSS of YOUR DAUGHTER . I hope you you get out thursday and sue every single media,or otherwise ,parent's for taking away your right to mourn the death of your own child. Justice for once was served today ,May you find peace and remove yourself from all those who judged and hate you without an before your trial. Please make your sick,perverted sorry parent's pay for the abuse and my guess one's who buried your baby after she'd drown. AMEN

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

    That defense lawyer is probably going to make an unbelievable amount of money from this case forward. Can't say I'd want to be him though, knowing where he's going to end up.

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

    Shocking.
    As people, we are incapable of the heavy task of judging other human beings. All we can do is leave it in God's hands now. He will deliver what is ultimately right and just.

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

      I agree God will judge us each one by one! Now with this said all of you wacks camping out like your waiting to get in the damn super bowl ! You all have made me sick to my stomach with all you hater's ! Casey DID NOT murder CAYLEE! You all have no fking right to keep judging Casey! Your all caught up in this media hype of assuming Casey could murder her baby clearly Casey loved her daughter. Just because she has made bad decision's and clearly was raised by two evil control freak's does not make her a cold blooded killer! Facts are fact's ! The state had NADA for evidence! Thank God those 12 people on that jury was'nt exposed to all this media assumptions of guilt,thank GOD! Your all wrong for all your hate, maybe had the police and da done a real investigation on all those in caylee's family then caylee may have had justice, but to throw casey out as you have is 100% wrong. This is true Justice! Take a hard look at george and cindy! Now they both are capable of anything we've seen that as fact. Let Casey alone ,it's over ,she did'nt kill her daughter . I hope your all judged as hard as you all judged Casey. Casey lost her little baby girl,nobody ever gave a damn how she was coping best she could ,knowing her own father buried her little princess. Time you all shut up.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bryan

    I wouldn't want to be her. The media made a mockery of her and her life will never be the same again. Everyone around her will dismiss her as an evil human being and maybe, just maybe she will kill herself.

    I would definitely not want to be her; the life ahead of her is a bleak, cold one.

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

      We can only hope.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Texas

    HELLO!!!!!!!! What parent waits 31 days before telling the police your child is missing. If it wasn't for her mom being persistent to try and locate her granddaughter this might not have come to light. She will get her due one day. Karma always has a way coming coming back 10 fold!!!!!!

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

    Well guess thats life, a evil little woman gets away with murder, goes on to get book & movies deals, lives the "good life" as she predicted.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Orenthal James Simpson

    You go girl.

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

    I am not sure whether she killed Caylee or not, but Jose Baez was amazing in making sure the jury knew there was reasonable doubt.

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