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.


[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."


[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.


[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.


[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."


[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.


[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.


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.


[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.


[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. piggie72

    Even tho the verdict saddens me, I believe the jury did their job. There was reasonable doubt. They could not get a positive autopsy because of the time of decompose. Now, yes she may have gotten away from murder, but she could not be found guilty if there is even a small amount of doubt. In my heart I believe she did it, whether it was accidental and she covered it up and hid the body long enough to know the autopsy wouldnt be conclusive, as her father could of assisted her of because of his knowledge, or she was tired of being a mother at a young age and just had enough help to be acquitted. BUT I think the jury should have been a hung jury, at least then this case could of retried and possibly more evidence could surface that could charge her. But now that she is not guilty, she cannot be charged for the same crime...nice double jeopardy! Now if she is ever to be charged, the most she could get would be conspiracy or something minimal. Even though the law couldn't put her away, if she really did kill her daughter and had help covering it up, May god have mercy on all souls involved. Judgement day will punish the true guilty ones even if our courts couldnt.

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

    First off, thanks to those who point out that "not guilty" does not equate to innocence. Thankfully we live in a country where the burden is on the state and not the other way around. Second, I wonder if those who are so shocked and horrified by this verdict actually watched the trial the jury experiecned. For instance, did you hear every bit of evidence the jury heard and nothing more? Third, did you start with an open mind and worked off the presumption of innocence?

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

    How can we correct such a broken system? The only people who can change it are the politicians, and they have used corruption and lies to make sure that our system of injustice will continue, as long as they can hold on to their own power. Maybe a good start would be to ONLY elect people to Congress who are for term limits and judicial reform.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. THunter99

    Let's hope she gets sterilized . . .

    July 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. G-Rant

    The maximum sentence she faces now is 4 years. She's already been in jail for over 2 years. Worst case scenario is she's out by Christmas 2011. What a joke American justice is!

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

    I'm totally depressed about the verdict. She got away with killing her child. If it was a so-called accidental drowning, why was there duct tape found on Callee's face? Reasonable doubt my ass!! What is wrong with people? Race had absolutely nothing to do with this verdict people.

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

    un-f'ing-real!!! yes, there may have been no solid evidence, such as DNA; but for God's sake come on!! She is a PROVEN habitual liar! She was partying in Florida for a MONTH while her kid is "missing", and does not even seem concerned about it what-so-ever, much less mention it to people! She says her kid is with a nanny that does not even exist! She asked neighbors for a SHOVEL! You may have fooled 12 idiots in Florida, but you are not fooling me Casey; you are now the white, female OJ Simpson. RIP Caylee. Sad, sad day.

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

    With all the predetermination of her being guilty made by the media (Nacy Grace and others) it is a merical she received a fair trial. It is not the medias responsibilty to be judge and jury....only to report the news.

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

    Yeah OK, most mothers/families put duct tape on their kids face and throw them for the animals when they accidentally die in their pool – the glove did not fit either… All I have to say is KARMA!!!!!!

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

    Reality Show: she's locked in the house with 12 jurors...someone gets chloroformed or duct-taped every week. Time out is in the swamp...

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

    May God have mercy on Casey and her defense team now! You can't get away with murder. Look at what happened to OJ's defense team; Johnny Cochran dead. Kardasian dead. OJ in jail. Shame on that jury and shame on our judicial system.

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

    Funny how she did not cry once while pictures of that dead child's body was shown in the courtroom, but she sure cried when her verdict of not guilty was read. Well, karma is not as forgiving and it will come back to her. I relish the day when it does...

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

    I am truly at a loss for words...not guilty on almost every charge?? Child endangerment?? NO??? What is this showing other negligent parents...? That poor little girl....rip Caylee!

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

      Absolutely disgusting......i at a lost.....just this morning here in montreal a father got off with killing his two kids – http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Turcotte+found+criminally+responsible+deaths+children/5051662/story.html
      what is wrong with our systems here in north america....i dont get it!

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

    Race is not an issue because we do not know the ethnicity of the jury, what the issue is, we wasted soooo much time and money to hold this case to come up with such a simple verdict. Then how do we explain the death of her daughter? This case is unsettling...

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

    I am not surprised by this verdict. After listening to Baez's closing arguments I too felt Caylee's death was an accident. The prosecution did not produce sufficient evidence for Casey to be convicted. She will do time for lying, and she needs help for her mental instability, but I think the jury got it right.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318