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. Melissa in Minnesota

    Today a child murderer was found not guilty! There is no justice for Caylee! Rot in hell Casey Anthony you will face the ultimate judge someday. I hope karma kicks your ass every day of your life till then!

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

    ok Jose. you wanna talk about the death penalty & about how we need to stop trying to kill our people. why dont you explain that to caylee? tell her, sorry "eye for an eye" doesnt count here! this is pathetic. no justice for caylee.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Laury049

    The defense attorney did an interview with Terra earlier talking about the case:
    http://en.terra.com/latin-in-america/news/terra_exclusive_interview_with_casey_anthonys_lawyer_jose_baez/hof15569

    Ultimately, he did his job and the prosecutors did not.

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

    How can anyone EVER be convicted in our insane judicial system. Common sense has to be suspended to find this monster not guilty...and yet, much like with OJ, that has occurred. Guess we'll hear about Casey searching for the real killers in the upcoming months as she boffs her boyfriend and parties like its 1999.

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

    It must have taken a lot of work to relocate the OJ jury all the way over to Florida.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jerry walters

    Nancy Grace is a fool! The prosecution never proved a thing and for that fact ... I never believed this girl killed her daughter! Nothing was proven (except that she lied).

    Sorry Nancy - you have been schooled!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Laura

    I think I am the only one who agrees with the verdict of Casey Anthony. They had a family computer with multiple accounts so you can't really tell or say who really looked up the chloroform search. There was no DNA, fingerprints that linked Casey Anthony to actually killing Caylee. Therefore reasonable doubt comes to play because it is uncertain who made the searches and who actually killed Caylee due to the lack of DNA evidence Its a very confusing case to say the least, don't talk unless you know all the facts. They did not prove their case. . .so obviously she is innocent until proven guilty.

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

      I agree with you Laura, as hard as it may be to digest for most Americans and other nations watching... Too many wanted to convict Casey Anthony on her immorality, lies and actions. However, if she had been convicted, so many others could have been convicted on mere inference from others. It's a shame. Whatever the verdict, there is still a 2 year old dead and Casey will have to live with that forever.

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

      laura...who spent a month lying about the location of her daughter? Who spent a month partying every night while her daughter was gone? Who got tattoos saying beautiful life the day before police confronted her? How nieve are you? What "evidence" is required to see a person's guilt? Amazing?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • 4life

      I too agree with the verdict as the evidence simply did not connect the dots for a guilty verdict. Yes, it was proven beyond a shadow of doubt that Casey lied to law enforcement countless times. Yes, it is proven that the taped skull belonged to Casey but nothing presented proved how this dear child died or who was responsible. Irrespective of our personal opinions of guilt or innocence, our justice system is designed to convict or acquit on evidence and not opinions.

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

      I never said she did not do it. I am simply saying the evidence does not prove it. I am not naive at all RAY B. I am actually a forensic psychology major so please do not insult my intelligence. And yes, the only verdict I agree with is the guilty verdict about lying to police officers. I can't say she did kill her or not. It is a very confusing case that involves countless people other than Casey Anthony. People do ridiculous things when they are grieving, isn't that was the grieving expert said?? You might want to re-evaluate your facts.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RCBinTN

    Nancy Grace found to be wrong by a jury of her peers.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jersey355

    c'mon! not even guilty of child abuse? so where does knocking out your daughter with chloroform fall? i guess that's the justice system for you... well regardless, this woman will have to live with herself now and I'm sure eventually little Caylee will get her justice one way or another!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TeddyBallGam

    Poor little girl will never have justice. This case will never be solved since the muderess has been found NOT guilty. Must have been the nanny! Oh wait no one can find her. She must have commited suicide and threw herself to the side of the road in a trash bag. I can't stand this! What a bunch of American idiots on that jury!

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

    The new lady luck.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joanne

    Same thing happened in Canada folks ! http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Turcotte+found+criminally+responsible/5051662/story.html It's pretty sad when "Animals" have more rights than our children !!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. teedy

    my heart hurts for that little girl...casey will have to answer to an higher power one day!! she got over on the man but cannot get over on god!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Theresa

    Bella Vita

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Moth1

    Stunning! – We all know now Casey got away with murder. Thanks Mr. Ashton and Linda DB you made an impecable case – Caylee appreciates it – Did it get lost to the jusrors? Obviously it did – I think it will be in their conscienses – a murder of an innocent child that will go unpunished – The only thing I hope at this point is that she gets 5 or 6 yrs for the charges she was declared guilty on and they pull a Jeffrey D. on her – Other than that this baby died for nothing – so her mother could go party and have fun and be young and carefree – Crime does pay sometimes – R I P Caylee

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