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. Military Wife

    I am shocked, I cannot believe she was found not guilty. Of course, that doesn't mean she was found innocent either, it just means there was someone that had reasonable doubt. I think it went this way b/c they didn't want to give her the death penalty but that is just my opinion. I am shocked because there are people who have been convicted on a lot less. But she'll never escape this no matter what she does, most people will dislike her and think she is guilty. Hard to escape either way. Just a different type of punishment.

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

    And why did she have to lie to the police? Because she was innocent?

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

    Listening to Mason and Baez now,I feel so sick.Did Mason just threaten people with lawsuits?

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

    No matter what really happened with that baby, I know that she is in heaven and she does not want her mommy to be hurt because I bet she really loved her like any two year old loves their mother. Casey's punishment is that no one will ever trust her again. this is an opportunity to give compassion and forgiveness. Caley would want that for her mother

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

    Horrible....she can't lie to God...He will pass judgement on her....now she is free to reproduce ....that is what is scary

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

    I believed that this jury would see though the smoke and mirrors of the defense and Casey Anthony. Although there was no hard evidence, there is no reasonable justification nor explaination for the evidence at hand. She killed her child and now there is nobody held accountable for it. I must say, I see that it there will be no justice for some, no matter their race.

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

    EAT THAT NANCY GRACE!!

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

    Disgusting. Child dies, left out as trash, while she parties and lies for 31 days. And she has has no responsibility. Seriously. One day she'll meet her maker and she will pay a higher penalty than she would here on earth. Until them, let's hope that she has no more children. Anyone want to bet where you will find her on her first night out of jail? I bet she won't be at home or church.

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

      I don't think anyone will be her friend, who would hire her to work for them? Anyone who meets her will know who she is and what she is accused of. She said herself she is the best liar in the world. Who would want someone like that working for them or being their friend. She might have eluded justice in the system but not in the real world.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michael

    Did this Jury not think. If she was not guilty and have nothing to fear then why didn't she even argue her defense. I'm outraged. She has already been labeled a liar. Why can't they put two and two together. She is just laughing and so so so happy and smiling that she was found not guilty. What about Caylee? Is she just a memory now? It's like she never existed. Casey is now going to get out of jail after maybe a year and she will be roaming free. She got away with murder. And if she knows what happened and is so trying to tell every she didn't do anything then why the hell won't she just tell us what happened. I am absolutely in outraged. Has nothing to do with prejudice, or attacking Casey for no reason. She killed her daughter even if she didn't have a first hand in it, and has no remorse. If she did have remorse or honestly didn't kill her and loved her daughter, she as would I (me being a parent myself) would have spilled her heart over that stand telling everything. This is going to haunt her for the rest of her life and if she doesn't care, then the world will show her no mercy.

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

    I have never been more ashamed of 12 people. The sad thing is all 12 will probably make a mint for their interviews after this. Words can't even describe my anger.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nita Wilkes

    There is no justice in this country anymore! How twelve people could find that little piece of trash not guilty is beyond me; the evidence was so overwhelming, a two-year-old could have understood it! It's OJ all over again. Hopefulle, this woman will NEVER have another child she can kill so it doesn't get in the way of her own pleasure. If ever there was a poster child for the death penalty, it's Casey Anthony. May she never enjoy another happy day as long as she lives.

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

    I did not think she'd be found guilty of muder. It seems that most of us believe that Casey is guilty of something though. I don't believe a word the mother said and her father was just throwing stuff in to add to the confusion. It still all boils down to there was nothing to absolutely prove Casey killed her daughter. If there is a "hell" all three should burn in it because I have no doubt they were all in on whatever happened. Let's see how Casey behaves, "now" that she knows her little girl is dead.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michael B

    Poor prosecution then... shows if they have no evidence.. Other than the fact the kid was in your care..and you apparently cared less when they went missing. If they can't prove it...make sure you give them nothing. These prosecutors will lose their jobs.

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

    Defense attorneya are allowed WAY WAY too much power in eliminating anyone with half a brain from these trials.

    After the O.J. trial, one of the jurors was asked about "all the blood" evidence. Her reply: "What blood?"

    July 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TNT6990

    Unbelievable. Although I am a firm believer in what goes around, comes around...

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