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. john

    What the heck has come of this country... She was absolutely guilty..
    I am speechless, we have a murderer on the streets... How dumb can the jury be?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Karen

    The jurors must be idiots. This is absolutely ridiculous. I hope those people can't sleep at night letting a cold blooded killer off

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • SeanT

      Disgusting. Just disgusting. You have to be kidding me

      July 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      I wish the justice system would stop picking uneducated mentally handicapped jurors. They let a murderer go free! I hope an assassin gets her.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      The jury had the facts and could judge, as for the hanging crowd all they had were the prejudices.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luiz

      The prosecution failed to prove anything. She was judged and rightfully acquitted. Now go have a life.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tra

      Florida loves their child killers and child molesters.....the happiest place on earth – for crazy people !

      July 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hank

      Only in America.
      Only morons would find this woman not guilty.
      Didn't report the child missing. Lied about a non-existant nanny. Didn't mention her child once to friends during those 31 days.
      Decomposing air samples from car. Chloroform levels extremely high. Performed search for 'chloroform' on her computer.
      Lied about her job, her boyfriend, etc.
      Body was found 1m from home in garbage bag and duct-tape that were linked to home.
      Honestly, I think if Casey Anthony was videotaped murdering her child she would be acquitted.
      It's been said before, but only moron's get stuck doing jury duty and it seems to ring true here. What a joke.
      In any event, this doesn't bring Caylee back. God bless your soul child. You're in a much safer place away from that monster of a mother you had.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tra

      I hope those jurors see that little girl's face in their sleep.....no justice for Caylee is on their heads and the rest of America needs to let them know it !

      July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      Too much doubt, blame the prosecution

      July 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicekatt

      What about the mother who layed down with her child to take a nap, the child awoke first and wandered down the street (unharmed) and they gave her(the mother jail time. Yet the evidence on this case (C. Anthony) clearly shows some foul play was done and you let her off. We have a crazy justice system that needs majoy re-evaluating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      The cost of the money spent by the state of Florida doe not compare to the lose of that little girls life...It is just HARD to believe that she is innocent...Justice was not served today...The honor of a young girl has been disgraced by this entire circus surrounding her death and lack of closure! SO SAD!!! 🙁

      July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mikky_H

    Nancy Grace's head just exploded

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gaven

      In this case, I will allow a non-guilty verdict. Nancy Grace sucks!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicekatt

      How do i know i just got hit in my head from a piece of flesh-LMBO!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jared

      Yes it did and hope she stays off tv now

      July 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benefitsspecialist

      HAhahahahha. Then it was allllll worth it. Best comment ever.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luiz

      I hope so.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. carl m

    So much for American justice. Where is the justice for that little girl? Mama, will you have more children and then change your mind and kill them too?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • CECE

      Where is the justice for the child? American people has become total idiots, we feel sorry for KILLERS now! She will be judged again and she will not get off. She will not be able to escape her daughter's face in her sleep at night. THIS IS WHAT OUR TAX DOLLARS PAID FOR!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luiz

      Are you all dumb? Nobody should be convicted without evidence. The prosecution couldn't even prove the girl was murdered.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Susan

    That son of a biscuit eater (you know what I mean). If she didn't do it, I don't know who did. Also not guilty of abusing her child. Wow...Well, here's a fine example of how our system works. Supposed to be fair and unpartial. But it always works for the guilty...never the innocent, especially when they are dead and can't speak for themselves. Have a nice day and may all of you have this on your minds for the rest of your lives.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karla

      I cannot blieve my ears!! So, just kill a child and go FREE?????

      July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Wow.... I cannot believe you're talking this way about the American Justice system. Innocent until proven guilty. Your ancestors should have never migrated here. If you really believe in unfair trials and our justice system, you should migrate your family over to the middle east. Maybe you'll get a more fair trial over there if something like this ever happens to you. Idiot.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nyc635

    WOOOOWWW! What a load of....

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shocked but not surprised

    This just in:

    Nancy Grace's head has just exploded

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neener

      that's about the only good part of this verdict. I knew there wasn't enough evidence presented for a murder 1 conviction, but not even child abuse? tragic.
      At least Nancy Grace is wrong AGAIN. she's a pig

      July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      We could only hope to be so lucky

      July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Papa112262

      I don't agree with the verdict, but if Nancy Grace's head really did explode, it is worth it, cause she is the worst propagator of B.S I have ever seen.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • paula

      funny

      July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOMEONE THAT CARED ABOUT CAYLEE

      how disgusting. USA the land will you can kill your baby toss in swamp and go home. SICK IN THE HEAD JURORS. ONE MORE DAY IN JAIL MAYBE SHE WILL GET HERS AND THEN TOSSED IN SWAMP. SHE HAD MO TIVCE, SHE HAD OPPERTUNITY,AND ACCESS TO MURDER WEAPON. YOU THINK SHE WONT DO THIS AGAIN SHE WILL. WHO PAID THE JURORS? I STILL WOULD NOTH AVE BIAS REP ME IN TRAFFIIC COURT HE LOOKS LIKE A CLOWN. MUST HAVE BEEN JURY WANTED TO GO HOME, YOU CANT TELL ME ONE PERSON DIDNT FIND HER GUILTY ..

      July 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. you got to be kidding me

    you got to be kidding me!!! so she walks now......karma is a b*&tch i hope she gets what's coming to her...hope she gets hit by a train. this legal system is a joke!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Texas

    She needs to be fixed so she won't have any more.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • nyc635

      Guaranteed the day she gets out, she's out partying. What a joke....So then who did kill Caylee??

      July 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Oh, I'm sure there is someone out there who would do it for free.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dee

    There has been a terrible injustice done to this beautiful baby girl!! I hope this evil nasty woman finds her life filled with hell!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Terra

    Humanity has no hope

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nicole

    MURDERER! MURDERER!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mac

    The jury believes Ms. Anthony is not guilty of murdering her daughter. So who is the killer?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • thefacts

      Actually, they didn't have to find that she did not kill her daughter. Some, many, or perhaps all believed that she killed her daughter–the only thing the jury could decide was whether the state proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt, i the state didn't meet its burden, it doesn't matter if the jury had "some" belief that she was a murderer. I didn't watch the trial, so I have no opinion on the issue.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gabby

      Exactly !!!! This is a JOKE for the justice in thise Country. Sad really sad!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. KS

    Wow. What a sad day for justice.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. omginohio

    im lost for words she must be freinds with OJ!!!!!1

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
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