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. Chris

    She wasn't 'acquitted' she was found not guilty. Big difference.

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

    Just like fricken O.J. – What is wrong with the jurors & legal system in this country?

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

    to ted r and all the others whom making this about race! how did this turn into a race case ....a little girl is dead and never coming back and her mother is at fault and will not be held accountable for it in a court of law?? UR sad if thats what your worrying about??

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

    "It's not a lie if you believe it."
    – G Constanza

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

    The fact that the jury found her not guilty for child endangerment proves that nobody on the jury sees the duct tape and chloroform as a factor in this case.

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

    The system has been broken for years! I guess nobody remembers the racial discrimination from police officers back in the days. The murders that took place and the people that got away with hate crimes. People of the United States, you ALL broke the system a long time ago. So I would stop boo hooing like the system broke a few minutes ago.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gary M

    Its a sad day when even Stevie Wonder knee Casey was guilty of killing her child but once again justice isn't served in the court of law! Good luck trying to cross the Gates of Heaven Casey, you just bought a one-way ticket to Hell'

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

    There is a huge misundertstanding about what reasonable doubt means. It doe not mean beyond ALL doubt. There is no reasonalbe conclusion to be made that Casey Anthony's behavior, along with some of the evidence, would fail to meet the standard of beyond reasonable doubt. Most murderers do not do murder in front of anyone ! That the body was hid and so there was no tissue left to determined cause should not be a reason to be arrogantly claim the prosecution did not prove cause ! (as the defense keeps doing). her behavior alone, even without the evidence, screams of guilt. Common sense was lost for sure. I am listenting to Attny Mason now.... this verdict does not prove her innocence in the least ! It merely shows that 12 people had what they considered to be reasonable doubt. She will reamain guilty in the court of public opinion. It is a tragic story and there are no winners.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gary Sea

    The effective and collective IQ of the jury has to be in the double-digit range for them not to see that Casey is ethically and morally bankrupt and thus capable of doing anything...including murdering her daughter...to satisfy her own desires. Casey is a liar and a murderer...plain and simple. I guess the only way that jury would have been convinced would be if there was a video of the crime and it was narrated in a fashion understandable by imbeciles then presented to the jurors each day so they would not forget that Caylee died for her mother's pleasure.

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

      So, because you don't agree with her lifestyle choices and see her as morally bankrupt, you automatically assume she is guilty? Is this Salem? Iran? People like you are why we have our legal system. If it were up to your moral righteousness(idiocy, lunacy) then our prisong problem would be a heck of a lot worse. I think you should be thankful we have a legal system that requires the state to actually prove you did something....with facts...not your pathetic emotions, religious or moral zealotry, or even worse...divine judgment.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. roger dial

    if dna or finger prints were found on the masking tape that would have made a big difference in the prosecution proving its case

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

      Probably not. They declared her "not guilty" for child endangerment, which means that they believe the duct tape was applied after death. So finding fingerprints wouldn't have meant anything.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jaime

    Wow, this is hilarious. Everyone is freaking out like this type of thing hasn't occured on numerous occasions before. This lady probably did it, but the prosecution really sucked and the defense destroyed any semblence of a case they had. You cannot convict people based upon smells and odd(wacko) behavior. Our legal system doesn't work that way, and before all of you tards keep ranting about how much BS it is, just be thankful you've never been charged with a crime that you didn't commit. I had been accused of arson over ten years ago and I had to get a great lawyer to defend myself against a really pain in the @ss fire marshall. Anyway, this is good for all of us as it serves as a reminder that you can't convict people on flimsy evidence. Your emotions don't matter, only the facts. Please, get back to work now or go read about something really important.

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

    Just WHO killed this baby!!!! No one will pay for the life of this beautiful little girl. I am so sick. How can they decide that she wasn't to blame, then WHO did it???? No ONE!!

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

    That's one sick family. At least Kaylee was spared a lifetime of psychotic dysfunction. But we all know now. They can now live in our spotlight. It is not over until we know what happened to Kaylee.

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

    Being God... I've looked over the evidence and just don't really give a damn..

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

    Karma is a son-of-a-b***h.

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