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. Hahahah

    Disgusting. Our legal system is a travesty. Innocent people get locked up every day and sickos like Casey walk. I'm sure she'll start breeding again the second she gets out of prison...poor kid.

    And where is the justice for little Caylee? Forget it, honey...just try to rest in peace regardless.

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

      Legal system? Justice system? What's that??? What a travesty. Poor little Caylee. 🙁

      July 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharon

      The American justice system!!!!!
      And she got away with murder because she was not caught red-handed.
      All other evidence were there.
      Your reward is sure. It will surely come back to you Casey Anthony, so be prepared.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob-n-NC

      I am stunned, but at least poor baby Caylee won't have to deal with her crazy, uncaring, mother. I have only followed this case off and on and couldn't bare to listen to "how" Caylee died or if they really even know. All I know is that I hope it was painless and she went without being in fear. It's yet another young, beautiful soul laid to rest too soon which the dark and wicked continue to roam free.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • douglas

      i thought u just said innocent until proven guilty... wait you must have been sitting in your throne of judgment. you from your couch can not judge another nor do you have the infomration to draw a conclusion from anything from specualtion and stupidity

      July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I totally agree with you – it's disgusting that they let a murderous person back on the streets to bring another defensless child on this earth – she'll probablly that child also!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Esther

    This makes me literally SICK!!! There was no justice for this helpless child who was MURDERED by the one person who should have loved her more than any!!! So much evidence yet so much jury ignorance! I'm totally disgusted with our judicial system!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dot from nj

    Can't believe what I just heard (not guilty of 1st degree murder, but guilty of lying to the police...May God have mercy on her soul, if she has one. So, If she didn't kill her daughter, who did? As a parent of a 27 year old I feel sorrow for her parents. Can't even imagine the pain they have gone through RIP Caylee!

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

    Casey Anthony smiled like a Cheshire Cat when the "not guilty" verdict was read. Poor little Caylee will never smile again. Justice WAS NOT SERVED today. May God's little angel rest in peace–and I hope Casey gets her "just dues" from one of the many thugs walking around free in Florida! White trash with money is still white trash! (BTW–I am white–this is not a race issue, it is an issue of human decency–something Casey Anthony does not possess!)

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

      I completely agree that justice was not served today. That poor little girl will never smile, laugh, or cry again due to her own mother. No matter what Casey says she is GUILTY!!!!! And God has a way of exacting vengeance. May Caylee rest in peace and may God have NO MERCY on Casey's soul. This is a travesty of justice and sad day to be an American. The US judicial system really dropped the ball on this one that's for sure.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Disappointed, Not Surprised

    The defense lawyers did the job that they had to do – create doubt in the minds of the jurors. It is unfortunate. I just feel sad for little Caylee... that poor little girl. She never deserved having her life cut so short.

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

      Your comment was one of the more coherent. Like it, or not – there was no evidence to point to a murder – or, if there was a murder, who did it. Casey did lie and that is a punishable offense and I hope she gets the maximum. But, I also hope that the our 'illustrious' media and entertainment complex (sic) won't give her the time of day when she gets out. We've had enough of this circus.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nicole

    I can't believe she got off....she has to live with the fact that she killed her daughter and walked free!!!

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

      She's a sociopath. She doesn't care. She lacks the ability to care. It probably hasn't phased her. It's no coincidence that the first time she shed any real tears was today when she was acquitted.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • laslo

      I don't think she really cares or feels any guilt. I mean, she partied for 30 days after killing her daughter. She's gonna walk out and be no different.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • FromUpNorth

      But she won't "live with" any remorse....she's a sociopath and a narcissist. It's Casey's world. She is incapable of "feeling bad" about doing anything. She's probably happy that now she gets to be free again, without a child to burden her. Now, Casey gets the life she always wanted – no responsibilities, no regrets. 🙁 Caylee deserved much better.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. FryThatBytch

    They are saying this is payback for OJ. I believe the sh1t now. SMDH....

    July 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alina77

    Guys, it hurts. No justice for the kid, the murderer is about to walk away.

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

      It does hurt. It hurts to see this woman walk away from this with a smile on her face. Child negligence in the very least – 31 days – yet she is found not guilty. I am so disappointed. Caylee Marie Anthony, I am so sorry.

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

      i figured as much.i watched this everyday from first week........i wont look at the film or flordias news ever again........vengence is mine sayeth the lord neway

      July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Renee Cleveland

    NOW can we get some coverage of the Anthony Sowell trial?

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

    It is DISGUSTING that she just got away with muder...POOR CAYLEE!!

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

      Shocked, don't understand how this could happen, what is wrong with her parents?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Megan

    Just remember Casey, god knows the truth. You'll answer for this someday.

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

    Enough with partisanship and politics. This is a case that shows the "pit" into which our American legal system has fallen. This affects all Americans, Democrats, Republicans, Indpendents, but mostly innoncent victims, and especially children!

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

    What were they thinking? Where is the justice for that child! Unbelievable!!!!

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

      We are a country full of dodos with no common sense. Sadly not one juror had the guts to stand firm. She is guilty as sin.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob lee

      yea true...........i figured as much..........the jury needs to party with casey and oj/lol

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

      Just goes to show – we have a legal system in this country, not a justice system.

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

      Just look at it as a post birth abortion. Its the same thing she didn't want the child anymore

      July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • rita

      This makes me so sick... that poor child, this is not about race or color its about an innocent child being murdered, and the murder getting away with it. SHAME ON FLORIDA

      July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shak3n

    Ridiculous. The ruling was fair based on no evidence but her actions speak very loudly. She didn't report her kid missing for a MONTH. She partied away while her kid was missing too. There was a body smell in the drunk of the car, which she left abandoned. Seriously, her actions are screaming out in red letters that she was definitely responsible in some way for that kids death. Why lie, if it was my kid i would of been in the police station and calling the first day. Very sickening, no justice for that little girl. NONE.

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

      AMEN! You said it best!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • karen

      31 days was all i ever needed. your 2 year old isn't missing for 3 minutes much less over a month and you do nothing but mislead thousands of people. I am absolutely furious about this verdict – blind, stupid, didn't want to wait stay another two days for the penalty phase.? maybe they can at least put her away for a while – a year for each lie maybe? but true – what goes around comes around. hopefully we can all see her 'get hers'.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pat Emerson

    The prosecution should have gone for 2nd degree murder. No one really wants to sentence a young women to death.
    Only in America...

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

      We can only hope that the second she is released from jail that they turn arround and have her arrested for 2nd degree murder!!! We can only hope!!!!! Very Very sad. I also hope that her parents do not let her come back to their home.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJ

      The judge told the jury that they could assign several different guilty verdicts. He allowed them to lessen the charge from 1st degree, to 2nd degree or 3rd degree, or manslaughter. The jury had ample opportunities to lessen the eventual sentence, but they didn't. I never thought we would have another high profile OJ trial where the jury got it wrong...but here we are.

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