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. Don

    Wow. Didn't see that coming.

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

      Are you kidding me! NOT GUILTY! That's just great. Now she will be out in a few years to get pregnant again and kill that kid too. Where the jury really listening in the courtroom?

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

      Me either, wow, maybe not the Capital murder, but yes life in prison...it's what I thought

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

      She had that little smile on her face, because she knows now she'll be back on the streets of Florida whoring it up in no time.

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

      This is a serious travesty in our justice system. She is guilty! No wonder she's smiling. All of the lies she has told. Its to bad I can't have 10 minutes in a room with her! I guess if someones car smells like human remains and knows of a missing person, just kill em because you will get away with it. May she get three times of what she did to her little girl

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

      She literally got away with murder! I'm still in complete shock!

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

      Unbelievable, I cannot believe she just got away with killing her daughter. There is no justice for Caylee Marie Anthony!

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

      Wow is right....Caylee's murderer just went free.

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

      Wow!!! SMDH. A bunch of nuts on a Jury let a murderer walk away scott free. Wow!!!

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

      The orange country police dept should be held liable for casey anthony being released! The police did not perform there duties correctly in result let out a child abuser and murderer. I am happy our legal system performed as it was supposed to!! THERE WAS NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE TO HOLD THIS WOMEN.. THE WHOLE CASE WAS BASED ON SPECULATION!!!!! People shouldnt be mad at Casey they should be shouting at the police dept!!!!!!!!!!!

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

      Sadly, not enough evidence to prove her guilty. She'll get hers. Trust it.

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

      I am a paralegal.....the prosecution had me up until they started laughing....then my credibility when out the window with it. I didn't know how much of it they were laughing at or taking serious! Not a game here folks...someones life was at hand.

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

      Our Founders never anticipated the current stupidity and gullibility of the general US public. If a murder case is high profile enough - the high priced / fame hungry defence snakes slither in (pro bono if necessary) and make sure they load the jury of peers up with morons (not a hard thing to do given the general population) and then they spin, lie and manipulate the 12 dunces into believing anything they want them to believe no matter how unlikely, clearly fabricated, and ridiculous. OJ and Casey - two glaring examples of why capitol cases should head to a carefully selected / filtered professional grand jury. This verdict is a direct result of the continued dumbing down of America - nothing more or less.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nicole

    I am disgusted with the decision of the jury.

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

      Me too.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tereas

      Me too ~ that girl just got away with murder ~ RIP Caylee......

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

      like wise completly an utterly disgusted....they know she did it. i dnt no how baez did it..casey deserves to go to jail for life str8 bs!

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

      Our justice system has failed once again !!

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

      Wow......this jury needs to have their heads examined. If my two-year old was missing for more than a minute, I would have the National Guard looking for her.

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

      ..and you should be since you know more of the facts than the folks that sat on the jury. Stop reading tabloids. Twit

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

      I have lost faith in humanity and ther actions and decissions.

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

      why?

      listen, everyone who watches tv thinks she did it. i am even pretty sure she did it. but there was a huge failure on behalf of the florida prosecuters (if infact, she did do it). In their closing arguments they argued that no one else could have done it, so she must have done it. and in a logical courtroom, the absence of information does not dictate conviction. the jury did their job perfectly. the florida DAs office failed.

      this is the same reason OJ was able to sell so many books.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michizzle

    Are you F*@cking kidding me?!?!?!?!?!?!

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

      My thoughts exactly!

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

      this is horrible

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

      The system works! (against the baby girl).

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

      This is bull**it.

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

      I think that this awful. The justice system is absolutly awful. I have lost all believe in the justice system. That they could let some sick person free like that. She has obviously guilty, why would they put duct tape over the mouth if she drowned that does not make sense.

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

      It's clear to me that not only an economic but a justice crisis we have going on here.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nina

    Our justice system is so messed up!!!!!!! What Happened Here?????? Fact: Truth and Lies DO NOT matter in Court!!!!

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

      That is where your wrong, it worked perfectly. The prosecution did a terrible job of proving she commited the crime. They based everything they had on speculation, can't win a case like that. I mean we all know what happen, they just didn't prove it.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pleo

    Unbelivable. It's like O.J. Simpson 2.0. Idiotic jury. Incompetent judge... It's all there.

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

    Yup, everyone is crying O.J. But where is the outrage that the white jurors MUST be the reason she got off? Bunch o morons!! THE PROSECUTION DID NOT PRESENT A GOOD CASE, PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

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

      This has nothing to do with the color of the defendent or the jurors. The state didn't make the case for murder 1. Although I cannot believe the jurors didn't find her guilty on child abuse. Sick and wrong. So is making EVERYTHING into a race issue. Grow up

      July 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mk

    Everyone on this jury should be ashamed of themselves. Congratulations, you've let a murderer go free. I hope you're proud of yourselves.

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

    The dumbest jury in the world!

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

    Miscarriage of Justice. I hope those Jurors can sleep at night. I hope Casey Anthony fries in hell.

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

    This is a travesty. Our justice system sucks !!!!!!!

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

    I am shocked, I expected she would at least get manslaughter.

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

    My heart just broke.

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

    Another Jury in a hurry to get out. What a crock another failure of our justice system

    July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kyle Stone

    "Not Guilty!" on ALL Counts!?!? I feel SICK inside!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brian Royer

    As they say, in the halls of justice the only justice in the halls...what a complete sham...shame on the jury!! Who says you can't get away with murder? Obviously this jury! Every last one of them should hang their heads. This is a disgusting, stomach-wrenching turn of events.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
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