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. ponce1970

    So who killed this inocent child?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Linda

    What is so ironic is we in this world cry for Caylee, Casey cries because she gets freedom.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Idiotfish

    This is free county you can get away from killing your own child. Great! I hate America for that.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Coley

    NOT GUILTY! wow! well who did it then they should know what happened and who did it before they can give a non guilty verdict! she knows what happened to that little girl! i hope she overcomes soooo much guilt she takes her own life..or hopefully someone will help her out make the process sooner! and for the jurors all I can say is KARMA..!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Arthur Edwards

    Thank goodness she was found innocent. Under similar conditions, I would hope all Americans would be found innocent. Congratulations jury!

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

      No, she was found "not guilty" which means that the prosecution failed to proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. You can believe she was guilty but if there's just not hard evidence to convict you would have to vote the same way if you were a jury member.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nina

    After listening to one of the Jurors – it is OBVIOUS they are completely against the Death Penalty – and that may be what broke this case........Making a statement for their personal beliefs – a murdered child with no justice? The jurors stated they are Happy and Proud of Casey Anthony and theirselves..........UNBELIEVABLE

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

      if that were the reasons for their not guilty verdict that makes no sense because they could have found her guilty of manslaughter and she would not have gotten the death penalty as far as report i have read go... what would have gotten her the death penalty was the 1st degree murder charge

      July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mich

    The verdict would be easier to accept if the judge orders her to be sterilized.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jon

    I know I will catch a lot of flack over my comment, but I will say it anyway. There is a verse in the Bible that says" be sure your sins will fine you out". My God have mercy on Casey's soul. I am a Bible believe person and one thing that Caylee have in her favor is that she is in Heaven with God.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hazel

    Poor Caylee. Who is to blame then Florida? Shame. I hope the members of the jury prays for the soul of the lil girl. The not guilty verdict was like adding insult to injury, oh yes adding insult to the killing of Caylee. I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow murder rates will rapidly increase in that place.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hekesq1

    I find it amusing how almost every legal analyst convicted Casey Anthony of 1st degree murder weeks ago. Even this morning an analyst said she would be convicted. As a lawyer myself, I know that you can not predict what a jury will do, especially when you are not in the court room throughout and even more so when you are not in the jury room deliberating. The morons who are "legal analysts" are always wrong. I guess if they were good lawyers they would be representing clients and not on news shows.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jhoannaz

    Everybody knows she did it! hopefully life outside bars will be more painful 🙂

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lola

    What a mockery of our justice system. This child killer lied and this jury believed her lies. Perhaps it was not 1st degree but definietly guilty of Child Abuse and Neglect. What a shame! I am sickened by this verdict....Jurors are you pleased that you let a child killer walk!

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

      Jurors must follow a very strict set of rules. You can't base your verdict on what you believe happened. The prosecution has to PROVE it beyond a resonable doubt. There just wasn't enough direct evidence

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

    What a crying shame.........for little Caylee and a country that looked for her, and then mourned for her, and STILL does not know exactly what happened in the hands of her mother

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joanne

    All those times Casey was out partying with no nanny, she HAD to have been keeping her baby drugged up in her car trunk somewhere (like an airport parking lot) and that one time she just left her - to die/starve/suffocate - so if the murder was not intentional, was that the child's "accidental" death then? Or did the jury believe the pool death and cover-up theory then?

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

      Nothing makes sense...how come twelve sane people buy what the defense said....just unbelivable and sickening! Poor little girl....

      July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joshua

    To sum it up...This was a case of insufficient evidence. We all have our theories on this Casey Anthony case, but jurors had to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt... and there were lots of "reasonable doubts" based on the lack of hard evidence. Our justice system is far from perfect, but its better that other nations. She was found "not guilty" in the court of law, but definitely found "guilty" by the court of public opinion (based on what everyone is saying). Once she's released from prison, life won't be so pleasant for her. I'm not sure if any club owner would allow her to set foot on their property

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

      Absoutley! We all sit back here and think, "Well, she SHOULD be convicted of SOMETHING!". But unfortunately, based on the strict rules that jurors are given they couldn't convict her of any of the charges even though some probably wanted to.

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