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. Ann

    Another great victory for all the LIARS in our country. Same thing as OJ trial. The defense team should be ashamed of themselves. Let's see if the lead attorneys start to die off just as Johnny Cochran, Kardashian and F Lee Bailey did in the years after the OJ miscarriage of justice. Remember? Living with those massive lies must be hard on the body!
    We'll see and hear more of Casey just like we did OJ. PATHETIC.

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

      o ur a OJ fan lol

      July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John Marshall

    The jury reached the ABSOLUTELY correct verdict, and there is no doubt WHATSOEVER in my mind on that, based on the evidence that was before the jury. Having served on jury, I can honestly tell you that sometimes a jury can be very objective, dispassionate, and reach the right conclusion of facts and law. CNN Legal Beagles should be ashamed of theselves and they should be fired for being very prejudiced against the defendant right from the start. Despite that the State's evidence was RIDDLED with massive holes, the CNN Legal Beagles were pontificating that Casey Anthony was guilty. I assume that most of these Legal Beagles – Vinnie Politano, Nancy Grace, and Jane Velez-Mitchell – were prosecutors. Also, when the courts do voir dire, they always ask the potential jurors what their background is. If they are engineers, scientists, adn otherwise very analytical, the potential jurors are more likely NOT to be selected. We need more of those "analytical" people of the juries so that we reach a just verdict – be it for the state, or the defendant.

    I repeat, the CNN Legal Beagles MUST be fired for their loss of objectivity and their lack of reality.

    What happened finally is that it seems that the States, in its haste to prosecute, rushed the whole invetigation. It was not all objective; it did not consiser other potantial suspects; etc. It was deja vu all over again! (OJ Simpson trial redux!) I am AT ALL saying that Casey is not guilty, but only that she is not guilty BASED on the evidence presented.

    Dr. Drew just came on TV and stated that he "hated that," referring to the defense's rejoicing. Hey Drew, have you ever been through a criminal trial? I am shocked that you call yourself a psychologist/psychiatrist (whatever else the crap that they call you), you showed your emotions on TV, when you were supposed to have been neutral and objective. Shame on you for that!

    The standard here – ladies and gentleman – is a beyond a reasonable doubt. And that burden is on the prosecution. Jesus Christ, the CNN Legal Beagles were acting as if it was on the defense's shoulders to prove that Casey Anthonu was not guilty. Where did the CNN Legal Beagle get their law degrees – at the local 7-Eleven?

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

      You're pathetic John. Are you a parent? If your child was missing for a month, would you report it? You have evidence of a decompsing body in your car, and you didn't do it? You are the reason murderers like Casey Anthony get away with it. People just like you....

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

      You're a retard. Stop trying to sound smart. You disgust me

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

      AMEN

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

    Justice system and the jurors have failed. No faith in the judicial system. Casey Anthony was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and she walks. This makes me sick. Nobody makes a accident look like murder. Decomposition in her car and she walks.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Josh

    Yet another example of the AMAZING American justice system. As a parent, this makes me sick. O.J. all over again. Apparently, you can kill your child in this country and get away with it now. I hope every member of the jury, who ALL agreed on the verdict, can sleep at night. American justice at its best, letting a child killer go free to party and be a single free female, which is what she wanted all along. ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cheryl

    I hope Casey Anthony BURNS in HELL!!! This poor little girl was murdered and justice was not served! Shame on you 12 jurors!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. WOW

    OJ Simpson all over again !

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SAYWHAT???

    Just a matter of time 'til Casey is a millionaire. Just gotta find someone to help her write a book.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. peaceonearth

    I WISH THAT AMERICA WOULD GET OVER THE RACISM ALREADY! PLEASE WE GET IT ALREADY! YOU HATE ALL RACES EXCEPT YOUR OWN!! IN THE END RIGHT IS RIGHT AND WRONG IS WRONG....I LOVE HOW BLOGGERS CAN HIDE THEIR RACIST FACES BUT IN PUBLIC WOULD NEVER SAY HAVE OF THESE THINGS. GET OVER IT!! ITS 2012 DAMN NEAR. I FEEL SHE IS GUILTY WHITE BLACK OR YELLOW! GOODNESS!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Allan

    If the coroner can't give a cause of death how does a jury. You can foment all the hate and anger you want about a little girl dying but it doesn't mean you hang the most likely person in the room. Media coverage of this is a joke and does nothing to promote humanity. Perhaps media could do some time in honor of Kaylee. When does CNN get rid of the trash television or will it be done for them.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eileen

    "Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves!"

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sonny Trinh

    Oh my God, The Jurors must be crazy psychopath and some of them are child abusers that why they hand down the not guilty verdict. Then who killed Caylee? State has to re-trail her again again until she is found guilty.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rich

    Sentimentality aside it was the right decision. There was no evidence to prove that she was the actual person who killed Caylee. There was evidence that Caylee died and someone killed her but there was no evidence that Casey did it. while i'm sure in my heart that she did it, sentimentality aside as per the law it was the right decision.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tommas

    Let a 1,000 guilty men go free, to assure that one innocent man does not go to jail.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Diana

    What a waste of tax payers money.. this PUT@ should have been found guilty.. First OJ and now this PUT@ I hate the legal system in this country.

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

      Jury did its JOB, State failed to find enough evidence. You can't convict someone for murder just because they partied for a month while her daughter was missing.

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

    I am seriously appalled, as are my coworkers, that given all the evidence, she was still found not guilty. If nothing else, she should've been found guilty for the abuse. Your child goes missing and a month later you report it? Mother of the year this one...

    July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • RP03345

      I agree! child abuse at the VERY least

      July 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
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