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. Mike

    What else did everyone expect?......the prosecution didn't prove it, they only suggested it.....im just waiting for Nancy Grace's head to explode now as she tries to somehow absorb this into the small amount of brain matter that she has.....

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

    Look no further than how long it took to come back with a verdict and that tells you how strong the Prosecutions case was. Everything presented her convicted her in the court of public opinion but CLEARLY the case was built on just that since the jury came back so quickly with an 'acquittal' verdict. Personally, I think she did it or had something to do with it, but we will no never know.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rose

    RIDICULOUS how people can get away with murder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    Casey Marie Anthony.. This century O.J with a pale face... Let's see what the media does with it.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Technical Vault

    Beyond Reasonable doubt and Guilty or Not Guilty. The jury who has actually listened to all the evidence found that there was some and thus the verdict. It's not a verdict of Innocent, it's a verdict of not guilty. Frankly noone will ever know what really happened, except those who were there. We can guess, but guessing is not the standard hundreds of years of trial by jury has followed.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. i hate fl

    this is bull. she is a psycho dumb cant say the rest who i hope and pray gets torchered and beaten to death in prison. why is it fl has a very low murder conviction rate on parents murdering kids. there is no justice in fl. you do a small crime you pay time . you kill your own kid and get by with it just charged with lying???????????????? i would kill over my kid not kill my kid and go out and party like nothing is wrong??? . may the monster get what she deserves may justice prevail in a diffrent way. because evadently fl sucks!!!!! and i live in fl. trust me the justice system here is a joke its about who you know

    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    I have zero faith in the justice system now. It wasn't very high to begin with, but now, it's zero. That woman is so guilty it's insane. IF anyone signs them to book deals or movie deals it will truly show how pathetic this country really has become.

    Florida must have the most inept individuals ever. Hanging chad's anyone!?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LORe NZO L Gonzales


    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Martin B

    I hear a lot of people who sound as opinionated as that ho, Nancy Grace. The prosecution presented a ton of evidence that she was a crappy mother. There are millions of those in the world today. The prosecution never produced a single bit of substantial or positive evidence that this lady killed her child. The jury had little choice.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. You're all suckers to believe in the system

    I'm not even mildly surprised.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rsprings

    Shocking verdict. Baez..threw so much spin and crud into the air it must have confused the Jury. I'm not confused. She is guilty.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. woodrow

    She shouldn't have gotten away with this. She stuffed her child in a car trunk to rot and buried her like a dog then lied through her teeth to everyone about it. There is no way she should not spend some quality time in jail.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jey

    I've always said that our justice system is flawed. I don't believe Casey killed her daughter. I think it was aaccident and the entire family was suspect to me. But back to justice system that's why we as people can't conduct something like this properly. We all have our own opinions and decisions and some people can't make good decisions with the truth right infront of them. But justice system will always be bogus. We lock people up who are innocent because prosecuters can put a good story together and then some gulity people go free regardless of what you prove. You can't ask people to put somebody to death. Well not all people some people just don't care.

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

    My advice to those who served on the jury...

    Thank-you for your service now go kill yourselves you ignorant pieces of garbage.

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

      I'm physically sick about this. To see her laughing. She will now become a millionaire. This is a huge miscarriage of justice.

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

      hmmm I would agree...did they think this was all a joke?

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

      Tell us how you REALLY feel

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

      proof again the people that our gov't hires are for the most part incompetent , OJ and now Casey. We really need to start hiring better people. Then how many people in jail because of false info by prosecutors.

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

      where is dexter?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Then who the hell killed that little child? Casey Anthony reclklessly allowed that child to die because Casey wanted to go out and get tattooed and party. Disgusting jury verdict. Just like O.J. verdict. Nowhere else but America would you find this unjustice done. Sometimes I would prefer the swift justice of some foreign countries. This jury and the system were total bull crap!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • amyw4125

      God is the one that will judge her. She will pay for what she did. She is going to have to watch her back everyday of her life. I have no children and I am so angry with this verdict but I had a feeling she would get off since it is innocent until proven guilty. All I know is that she will have to walk around everyday of her life being known at the child killed. She will get hers.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Whitney Muller

    Very disappointing. Justice was not served.

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

      she got what she started out wanting – Bella Vita!!! Caylee died what life does she have none

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

      That poor little girl will never have justice.
      Now her mother can go on partying and lying because she has gotten away with murder and that poor little girl has turned into nothing but a bag of garbage. So so sad.

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