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. brent

    wow..... RIP caylee hopefully karma gets anthony because our justice system didnt

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

    I guess she will now write a book and capitalize on her daughters death. What a shame.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ben smith

    The Justice System is alive and well. I bet none of you on here are attorneys. First understand the Rules of Evidence and what goes on in a trial before judging. Be mad at the prosecution if anything because they screwed up. Stop thinking with your emotion and start thinking with your head.

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

      just what we need. more advice from a lawyer. do us a favor and tape your mouth shut

      July 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • MF

      Well said Ben. How many innocent convicts have been executed? Americans are sometimes too trigger-happy and don't think things through.. Reasonable doubt! A wrong conviction does not right a wrong.

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

    Can't believe this!! Wow..so you can kill your kid and come up with some crap excuse and get away with it...well now we all know where all the criminals will go...Yay..FLORIDA. This makes me never want to set foot back in that state again...god forbid if some thing was to happen to me there...there would be no justice.

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

      I am ashamed to be an American today. Something is wrong with our justice system, when a mother can kill her child, keep it a secret, dump her in a swamp, lie to police, and be exonerated for everything, except lying. We can not be a great nation and allow this to happen. Did the jury need to see the child killed,by the mother, in front of them to convict her? Even the grandparents know she's guilty. Poor child. God Bless You Caylee.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Name*

    Horrible....she will get hers!

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

    Someone killed Calley. Someone is free. Someone got away with murder. The murderer is free. The child will not come back. This is not justice. What happens now? Will the child be forgotten? Is she really thrown away like garbage?

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

      that baby isn't forgotten. you will remember her. a lot of people will never forget

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Wow

    I hope the jury can live with their verdict. If Anthony has more children, THEY are responsible if something happens.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tell the truth

    America is so backwards. Casey Anthony was lying through her teeth and she still walks? Casey and these 12 jurors outta be stoned! Vengeance is mine says the Lord! She too will pay!

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

    Good God–She didn't call anyone to look for her baby girl for over 30 days–not minutes–days when she couldn't "find" her and we're supposed to believe that she isn't guilty????? Give me a break! Boy did those jurors want to get on this case just to get their 10 minutes of fame! I wonder if any of them will ask dear Casey will to babysit!

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

    I'm pleased with the jury's verdict, I truly believe it was the only reasonable verdict that they could come to. I was never on 'Team Ashton', in fact; I was appalled by his child-like actions in the courtroom, he is a seasoned, experienced, & much respected prosecuter, what was he thinking when he was smiling behind his hand in full view of the jury? Was he thinking that they found Jose Bias' arguements as ridiculous as he did? Apparently he was wrong, and it made him appear arrogant and disrespectful to the judge and American justice as a whole. The tragedy of the Anthony Family's loss was put under a microscope, the media & public ate this up with absolutely no empathy towards their horrific journey in this matter... How can anyone say they just wanted justice for little Caylee? We are not a part of their family & were never fortunate enough to have met that sweet child, I believe that most people just wanted to watch a family fall apart in front of their eyes, and that's a very sad reality. No one knows exactly what happened and we may never know, but it certainly doesn't mean that Casey killed her daughter. I have much respect for Dr. G. but I honestly think she got this one wrong because she said that any normal person would call 911 if it was an accident, but Casey isn't any 'normal' person... she's been lieing to avoid consequences all of her life, so it only makes sense that she would try to lie and cover it up if it was an accident, especially if she was afraid of the wrath of her mother who has clearly told her time and time again that she was an unfit mother... think about it.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Capt George R

    Amen to the guy that said "on the lighter side, maybe Nancy Geace will STFU now". I hope she enlightens us now on her "expert" coommentary on how a guily verdict was immenent because one of the jurors, who previously had shown up dressed casually, today wore a suit.
    I watch her show in the same light I view shows like "Operation Repo". Idiots acting like they really have something important to say, when in fact, they are truly morons.
    Someone should inform "attorney" Grace that our judicial sysytem presumes innocence until proven guilty. She had Anthony getting a lethal injection before an ounce of evidence had been presented to the jury.
    Although I am pretty sure that Anthony was guilty, I can live with the verdict, only because of the frequency that you see people who have been incarcerated for long periods of time being exonerated for their alleged crimes due to advancements in forensic science.
    I, like Anthony's attorneys, am sick of all the third rate attorneys on all the networks ( especially HLN), voicing their useless opinions. There is a reason they are on TV getting a couple of grand for their mindless ramblings, and that is because they are incompetent and unemployed. Otherwise they would be activly practicing law making a whole lot more

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

      Amen! I feel the exact same way...she's so self-righteous and just plain annoying.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. very upset

    how many idiots does it take to let a murdrer walk?
    ************
    12 is the answer. its a said day for justice...
    all i'm trying to do is wrap my head around what just happened
    i can understand not convicting her of first degree, but nothing at all(except the lying, which is pretty much nothing)
    how are these 12 brain dead ignorants going to sleep at night???? it's a shame...

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

    Playing the race card again, give it a rest black folks.

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

    i bet LulzSec has something to do with this lol!

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

    In Nancy"s FACE! HA!

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

      Oh yeah! Nancy had it coming!

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