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. HaHa

    Baez...first you praise the country...then you slam it...that's the kind of person you are.

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

    I can't get over how this jury found her not guilty!!! I would love to know who each and every one on this jury is. I hope they reveal themselves so the world can focus on them them and let them know that the entire country thinks and feels they are a bunch of morons!!!!! In the end there will be and we WILL get justice for Caylee.

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

    Now it is between Casey and God. She has been acquitted, she needs to be able to get on with her life. Don't Judge if she did do it, her conscience is enough.

    'There is more happiness in doing one's own (path) without excellance than in doing another's (path) well.'
    The Bhagavad Gita

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

      Thank you!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • debbie

      Unfortunately, Casey doesn't have a conscience, so it won't be enough.

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

      If your "god" existed, then why did he not only let her murder her kid, but then get away with it.

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

      Narcissists like Casey Anthony don't have a conscience. It's OJ all over again.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • c.thurston

      Yes, I agree that it is between her and God but...we as humans, feel that she should of gotten something out of it besides a slap on the wrist. If your child is missing(innocently enough) wouldn't you tell the police first thing? come up missing or even find 'her' dead, my first reaction is to call the police...cuz guilty or not, it is on my head/heart! I want waht is best for my children not MYSELF only like she was! child was missing for a month before seh bothered to open her damn mouth about it...now to me, that made her look guilty JUST for that!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Patty

    What a travesty! The jury should be hiding their faces in shame.
    Who will ever hire her for a job or be her friend? There is no place she can go that she won't be booed. Her family will forever be tainted and so will the jury members. What happens when she has another kid? Her parents know the truth.

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

      She won't need a job. She's about to become extremely wealthy. I honestly despise her.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. eddieVroom

    Can we put Nancy Grace out of our misery nao?..

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

    This is ridiculous! How could you let someone get away with murder?!?! This is why the crime is so high in America because with the corrupted judicial system, criminals KNOW they can get away with it. She killed an innocent little girl and was partying the very NEXT day! Are you serious? That jury is full of crap. She needs a re-trial. She is guilty. Anyone with eyes could see that. There was more than enough evidence. Smh. I'm waiting for Nancy Grace to put some words on the judicial system in regards to this case. This is crazy..

    July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • MDC117

      Your an idiot, crime rates are the lowest theyve been in 50 years, why don't you do your research before spouting off.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TheFalcon

    Justice was done. There was no direct evidence connecting Casey with the death of her child. Odors and aromas are very subjective. No one saw her putting Caylee in the swamp. The prosecution should have never gone to trial with the flimsy evidence. There was no smoking gun and the dots did not connect. They claimed aggravated child abuse and yet all the pictures they showed of Caylee were one of smiling, laughing, playful and a healthy child. No pediatriciain, teacher, neighbor or family member came forward to say that they suspected abuse. This charge was a stretch of the law.

    Finally, justice is for the accused not the victim. If you want justice for the victim then work to change the law.

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

      You must not have children of your own.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • MDC117

      Or this is just an intelligent person. I have kids and I couldn't agree more.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Agreed. There was no direct evidence linking Casey to the death of Caylee. A lot of people on this board claim the evidence was irrefutable. If so, then they watched a different trial than me. Convict someone on FACTS not emotions. That's what lynch mobs used to do. Scary.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Serena

      UGH! YOU SUCK! YOU MUST BE A KILLER YOURSELF!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ellen

    Hopefully the other inmates will give her the special treatment that she deserves while she serves out her other sentences.

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

      I'm afraid she won't spend any time in prison (although I'm sure JP knows she's a murderer and will give her the harshest sentence) but.... if she does I hope her fellow inmates give her what she deserves.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ana

    What a shame! From where these jurors come from??? Anyway, bad seeds tend to destroy themselves one way or another. Remember OJ Simpson and Ted Bundy? Also, Casey, you can not escape Divine Justice.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Avril

    I am sad and angry at the same time, how can our justice system fail like this? this is a perfect example of what technicalities do. I feel like not just the child didn't get any justice, i feel like I DIDN'T get any justice! I am a mother of a baby girl THE SAME AGE her kid wouldve been if she was alive and I can't imagine my child going thru what that baby did, never the less DONE BY HER OWN MOTHER. What a joke

    July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James

    It was the right verdict agree or disagree. The system of justice works. What a waste of state money for florida. I hope the truth comes out and that sweet little girl gets her justice. This was a very major failure for the state and they should have a true case before bringing it to trial in the future.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NoJustice

    This sociopath will be free, on the streets. Granted, from the forensics, it may have looked like reasonable doubt. From her behavior, it is clear Casey is culpable. Time and decomposition saved Casey.

    Still I can't imagine the jury having a clear conscience in this matter. Would they hire Casey as a babysitter? I bet not.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hollie

    I am just disgusted!!! Anyone who does the things that she did in the month prior to her admitting that her daughter was missing are just disgusting! What kind of person parties like she did when their child is missing! She is pure evil!!! And with the admission that poor Caylee drowned in the family swimming pool....Why is she not charged for that? Why is she not guilty? I dont get it!!!! Our judicial system is corrupted and disgusting!!! I cant even believe that she is going to walk away from this free and clear!!! I guess her day will come when she stands before the ultimate judge!!! I cant believe it!!!! Now Jose is saying how he wants Casey to be able to grieve her daughters death now that the trial is over and she is not guilty!!! Really!?!?!?! She will just go out and party just like she did when her child was "supposedly" missing. Jose Baez is only happy because this is going to make him rich and famous!!! DISGUSTING!!!!!

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

      I feel like I need to join a support group for "Casey is guilty as Hell. Even the Grand Jury found her guilty of 1st degree murder and they didn't even have half of the evidence produced in this case!!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. carla

    i think the jury was sooo stupid! casey killed her daughter! nobody should get to walk off free after killing her daughter! we should have had a better jury! soo she could have stayed in prison for the rest of her life or they could have gave her the death penaltiy!!!!!!

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

      no proof. none

      July 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jody

      As much as I don't like the verdict, the jury did what they were called to do. There was no way they could convict her because the DA could not give evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt. While we all have our theories, we may never know what really happened. I don't think anyone walked away feeling good about this. As long as there was reasonable doubt, the jury couldn't say she was guilty.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Co Cal Mom

      I agree, stupid JURY. They let a murderer go free.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeFace

      The Jury system no longer works, as it requires a slightly educated populace to work properly. Today's Ignorant America, where crime pays and you really do not have to worry about conviction unless there is a photograph of you committing the crime. What a savings of tax payer money if the Defense simply said, "There is no photo of my client committing the crime; therefor, she cannot be guilty". People are as dumb as rocks in general in this country, they should have rendered the verdict on the 4th of July in celebration of our Ignorance-Dependence Day.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • SadAmerica

      so this is what America has come to?...a mexican defending a killer and winning? and we all thought Obama was as bad as it could get...the U.S. is a superpower that is going down the drain

      July 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • kathy

      Maybe when she gets out of prison Jose Baez will hire her as his nanny.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • SHOCKED

      I guess this means that not only can someone kill their child and get away with it, but this is why we have so much child abuse and neglect in our country. We have such flaws within our legal system that need to be corrected. It goes to show you that we care more about the war on drugs than we do protecting our children from MONSTERS like CASEY ANTHONY!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ms.magic princess

      Hold up. That woman need to go to jail. And if she was black she would be in jail now. One day when God come for this world all the killers, all the killers,robber ect... will be found guilty. All you people out their need God in your life and stop being stuck up against one another.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ms.pink

      Hold up. That woman need to go to jail. And if she was black she would be in jail now. One day when God come for this world all the killers, all the killers,robber ect... will be found guilty. All you people out their need God in your life and stop being stuck up against one another.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • YahYah

      Stunned. If she didn't kill that poor little girl, who did? Think Mom and Dad will be happy to have her home, after she acused George of molesting her? Shame on you, Casey. You destroyed the life of your daughter AND destroyed your family.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justice for Caylee

      How in the hell can they let this lady off. Im not a judge or anything. But common sense would tell you she is GUILTY! By all means necessary. Like really. What is the world coming to?? They just let murders walk? To me I think its more of a racists thing. If it was a BLACK women I bet she would have gotten the MAX time in jail. SMH its a shame how after all these years there is still racism. Dr. King said FREE AT LAST FREE AT LAST. && One day all his sisters and brothers of all colors could come together. But yet this is still not happening. Not saying this to be funny, but after looking at different trails and cases, and observing the color of each person in the case. The African American people are ALWAYS guilty weather you know they didnt commit the crime or not. Letting her off will stir up a lot of things. I just wish they would have made a better decision, but in the end Casey have to deal with what she did to her child EVERY SINGLE DAY. Poor little Caylee, she was only 2 I dont understand why people do such things to their children, a blessing from God. I mean if your going to do something like that just DONT HAVE ANY CHILDREN.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • KAREN

      FOR ME THIS ISN'T A BLACK OR WHITE ISSUE, THIS IS ABOUT HOW LITTLE CHILDREN( WHITE, BLACK, BROWN, PURPLE OR EVEN GREEN) ARE NOT VALUED. A LIFE OF ANY CHILD THAT IS TAKEN BY ANY ADULT SHOULD BE GIVEN THE HIGHEST REGARD. THERE WASN'T JUSTICE FOR CAYLEE OR ANY OTHER CHILD THAT HAS BEEN MURDERED SO COWARDLEY. IT TAKES A COWARD TO MURDER ANY CHILD!!!!!!! CASEY ANTHONY WILL GET HER REAL JUDGEMENT SOME DAY, IT IS NOT OVER YET. GOD DOESN'T THROW AWAY CHILDRENS LIVES.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Janice

    JURY HAS FRIED BRAINS FROM THE FLORIDA SUN. You can murder your children and get away with it in FLORIDA.

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