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. MEKA 34

    THIS MAKES ME THINK THE SYSTEM IS NOT BEHIND US, 100%, VERY DISAPPOINTING!!!!!!

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

    When each juror was polled as to say whether they agreed to verdicts individually, the very first juror, when asked if he/she agreed with the verdicts, the first juror, who sounded like she was up there in years, replied "huh...?" That kinda says it all.

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

    Told you so. Nothing to say? Bunch of pathetic noisy low IQ animals you all are. I'm glad she's been found not guilty. The state had no case. They HAD to say she drove around with a dead body for two days because THAT WAS THEIR WHOLE CASE. If they had said she buried the child right away, they wouldn't have been able to use not ONE of the forensic experts who testified, because the car odors would'nt have been relevant. You don't get up there in closing arguments and call a defendant intelligent, and then expect a jury to find it reasonable she drove around with a dead body for days. Oh and it gets better, she went clubbing, drinking and drunk drove with a dead body in the car. I mean really, give me a break. Not even a blithering fool would do something like that. Oh and, jurors don't like seeing arrogant prosecutor's laughing when the defense is up there. Especially in a murder trial for the death of a 3 year old. I expressed this a week ago on the net, got trashed and insulted. Life is good now.

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

    The jury are idiots. The state of Florida is a state full of uneducated idiots. There is a reason OJ Simpson moved there! This is a national embarrassment!

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

      Move to Florida, kill your kids and walk away......beautiful country we live in!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Julie

    I I can't believe this.... then who killed Caylee? Are we just going to forget about her and her killer? This is our justice system – we have humans judging humans....people in prison who never committed a crime and criminals walking the streets like Casey Anthony!!! Just like OJ...go figure!!!

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

    Law failed on us!

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

    Wonder how much each jury member got paid?

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

    I am ashamed of our (un)justice system and I am ashamed to be an American. She killed that little girl and the prosecution proved it. Was the jury bought? What the hell happened?

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

    Crappy prosecution.....she was overcharged...should have went with manslaughter at the start......she will be in Playboy within the year.

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

      I believe Casey drugged Calley so she could go out and party...and I think she OD'd or suffocated in the trunk....that is not murder 1.....the state wanted blood...and it cost them.....manslaughter should have been the way to go and I think they could have got a conviction....the jury did what they were instructed to do....Baez poked too many hole in the weak prosecution.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sirod518

    Unbelievable!!! If she didn't throw the baby away – who in the hell did!!! Crazy!!!

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

    She should have been found guilty of child abuse. Covering up your child's death is abuse plain and simple but not even that. And when she's done with her 1 to 2 years for lying she'll go get another tatoo "I love lawyers"

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

    PLEASE, PLEASE, require that this woman be rendered sterile so she will never be able to reproduce again!!!

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

    I hope she has a miserable life with no one wanting to party or sleep with her again. Well she won't have to get a job, just write books and appear on all talk shows. Her parents better change the locks on their doors, they are next! How in the world did they find 12 jurors with rectal crainial inversion?

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

    Justice for Casey but certainly not for Caylee. What a tragedy for this little girl. Common sense went right out the window on this case. Shameful....

    July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. concerned mom of two

    Today is a sad day. A travesty of justice for this child. Any mother whose child is missing and tells no one, any mother that parties hard while said child is missing, and any mother that does not call police when a "babysitter" kidnaps their child is GUILTY of doing something with that child. The sad part is now she will be on every TV station known to man, doing interviews, writing books and making a killing off of killing her own child. And the sad part of it is that so many people will watch with bated breath and hang on the child killer's every word, they will buy her book and make her rich off of killing her own child. I for one, will NEVER watch an interview that she gives, will never watch any program that puts her on nor will I buy any book that she may put out. This woman killed her child and she should be punished, not make millions off the killing of this poor baby.

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

      Fully agree. Maybe they should not have tried to get the death penalty then she would have been convicted. She should get to go to jail for child abuse, not having said anything for a month.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
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