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. Katshark

    How did this turn into a race thing. Obviously the defense team did its job in planting reasonable doubt. "Too bad ignorance is legal

    July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cat402

    I would move if I were her and her family! She may have to watch her back with so many skeltons in the closet! Never know what kind of crazies are out there......

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

    Let Casey celebrate now. I hope when she gets out she gets what is coming to her. The public will get justice for that baby!!!! Casey, you will get yours......jury........you will get yours too!!!! Letting a killer go free! What comes around goes around!!!!!!!

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

      She'll be shunned like OJ was until he got over confident. She'll trip herself up.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DJ Problem

    Listen, can you guys stop with the BLACK & WHITE crap? You guys are immature and the reasons ignorance perpetuates. IF THE JURY IS NOT CONVINCED THAT CASEY DID IT, THEN IT'S THEM. Don't send someone to prison or the death chair just because of your feelings. If you tell me I ate your sandwich, don't say it simply because you saw me in the fridge during the time your sandwich was eaten. Prove that I was the one, show the teethmarks. NOT GUILTY means exactly what HUGO stated. DONT LET THIS CASEY TURN THIS INTO A BLACK VS WHITE or OJ,etc. People are quick to say "if this was a white, if this was a black." You don't know! The jury decides and the prosecution and defense has to prove. The prosecution wasn't sincere in this case, and it seemed like it was just being done for money and a name. The defense had great points. There was nothing! No DNA, even the people that testified had nothing on her. For all you know, you could be pinning and innocent women. Not saying that I believe it, but, they didn't have evidence. This is not a flawed justice system, they've been investigating. It would be beneficial them to hold her, because they are making money. So, they wouldn't want to let her off. But again, don't just pin a murder on someone and you don't have evidence.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • movement31

      Could not have said it better

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

    and she will probably get rich off of killing her daughter!

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

    Waiting for the verdict felt like the longest 2 days of my life. After three years the court has finally made a decision but unfortunatly it was wrong in my opinion. That poor little girl, WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR CAYLEE? Who DID cause the death of Caylee, if Casey Anthony didn't???

    July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. movement31

    people..come on..be reeal about this..i have a 4 year old and its a very sad situation about this little girl..but this is the court system and evidence and the jury has a job to do..the evidence given was not good enough and did not prove that she murdered her daughter..I wasnt even convinced and i was hoping she was found guilty but the evidence says otherwise

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

      Exactly! Perfectly said! People are putting their hearts more than their minds in this.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. andrea martone

    I have lost all faith in the US justice system. God help baby Caylee.

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

    Was anyone on this blog actually there? Does anyone know what "really" happened? The real joke is how our society judges guilt or innocence. A person was found not guilty, but society still says guilty. If you were not there or know "EXACTLY" what happened then who are you to judge? Let this little girl Rest In Peace with God. Casey will have her judgment with God.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mike

    How do you feel Nancy. You trashed that girl daily for years and now you are "stunned"? A jury of her peers found her not guilty. You need to fade away

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

    Unbelievable – the american justice system is a joke of the very worst kind when a killer likes this gets off with a pat on the wrist fir some bs charge. Well I'm sure she'll get pregnant again and years from now we'll go through this circus again because she is a pathological psycopath who loves the attention. God forgive the jurors in this case, because I can't – you failed miserably to bring some justice to this poor child whose only crime in life was being born to this monster of a human being.

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

    The jury came to the only verdict of not guilty, you could understnd that verdict if you didn't listen to the talking heads like Nancy Grace who pumped more trash through the cable than should be allowed. The media should be ashamed of themselves.

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

    Not sure what she's so happy about, that her daughter is dead, or she got away with murder.....only in America! And what kind of mother doesn't report their daughter missing for a month?? REALLLYY???? That's all I have to say.....

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

    stunning in it's shamefulness

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

      what is stunning in its shamefulness is your inability to believe that someone is innocent until proven guilty

      July 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • WENDYINCALIF

      Innocent until proven guilty? A baby died while in the care of Casey Anthony. Who is responsible for that? WHO? WHO WRAPPED DUCT TAPE AROUND CAYLEE'S MOUTH AND NOSE AND LEFT HER IN A SWAMP WHERE DEAD ANIMALS AND TRASH ARE DISCARDED? WHO!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. FURIOUS

    I can not believe this !!! Yeah she better watch her back !!! Someone will get her in jail or out.

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

      Hope they do get her back. She better not have no more kids!!!!!

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

      the next pic we will see will be casey.the jury and oj at a hot body contest

      July 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • douglas

      you are a joke. your life is a joke. and you are worse than caseee anthony for saying such stupid ignorant things. innocent until proven guilty. you pretend you are god and can judge someone from your puny life?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I sure hope she is delt with before she murders another innocent child

      July 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
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