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. PhillyGirl

    Sad. But she will suffer. People will always remember and refer to her as "the one that killed her baby and got away with it." Look at O.J.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bOBHAS

    It should be reguired that the defence attorney and the jury has to alternate using Casey as a nanny to their children. A roundabout darwinian award. Justice is no more and were with out employment does she go for support ? A rich, non existing boyfriend or her brother or father ?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. YOSHI

    THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE!!! A CHILD HAS BEEN MURDERED, I WOULDN'T CARE IF SHE WAS PURPLE, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS NO LOVING MOTHER...NOT ONE...WOULD EVER ACT IN THE MANNER THAT SHE CARRIED HERSELF IN IF THEIR CHILD WERE MISSING, POINT BLANK PERIOD. IF MY CHILD WENT TO ANOTHER AISLE IN THE GROCERY STORE WITHOUT ME SEEING HIM, I'M PANICKING. AN ENTIRE MONTH IN ENTIRELY UNHEARD OF, BUT ONE THE FOR SURE AND TWO FOR CERTAIN, KARMA IS A B***. IF SHE DIDN'T DO IT SHE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT LITTLE ANGEL. R.I.P CAYLEE...MAY YOU PLAY WITH THE ANGELS AND FOREVER REST IN ETERNAL HAPPINESS

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stephanie

    I cant believe she just got away with murder. Like really its that easy now a days. This is ridiculous, the poor baby wont even be justice for her. RIP Caylee Sorry your mom got away with murder

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kristi M.

    I'm am literally SICK to my stomach to know that she got away with murder like OJ. But keep in mind where OJ is now, you can't take the evil and bad out of a bad seed. She will get preggers again with some stupid idiot, make a beautiful baby, and NOW have more practice to abuse and ultimately kill this next child, even better than the first one. I'm sickened by this jury, by these people that WE the public counted on. If they honestly feel this physco did NOT kill her daughter than they should be judged with a jury themselves. Justic has NOT been served, just sickening!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. auloria

    What else can you do? Prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • JA

      Time for a professional jury system. Too many people are naive and are not smart enough to logically come up with a verdict.

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

      A serious injustice. Our system just gave the green light to every slighted mother who feels the world owes her something. Our system has failed Caylee. A cold hearted murder will walk freely amongst us, with an opportunity to commit these uncomprehendable acts again.

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

      reasonable doubt? well here's a reasonable fact a beauitful little girl was killed. who done it ?

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

      Jury blew it.

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

      I believe they did – I think the defense team just keep throwing out scenarios until one apparently stuck. It's so sad that someone can commit such a horrific crime and just walk away. Her daughter was dead, she knew she was dead, and she went out and partied...wonder what nightclub she'll be celebrating getting away with it tonight?

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

      Exactly. Personal feelings should NOT come into play during a trial. The evidence didn't do what it needed to do, therefore they acquitted. I thank this jury for doing exactly what they were required to do.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • NI

      Since she says she is mentally ill. They should lock her up for that. Something is not right. This beautiful child is dead, and everyone is walking away. She wont make it. Maybe she can stay in the limelight by taking her brother and dad to court for molesting her. Or better yet just go back to the bars. she is more than guilty. Too bad the system doesnt work. Wonder if it was Baez's kid.......how he would feel....??

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian DC

      JA: They are better known as dumb rednecks. FL has many of them.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      HLN should have its license revoked. Never in my life have I heard such biased "reporting", folks there was no evidence, did she do it, probably, but the prosecution did not prove it. Could not even prove it was homicide. You can not convict someone on probably

      July 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mother of one

      the state did put on an excellent case and they did not leave reasonable doubt if one was paying attention....If you are the last person with your child and you say that you drop her off to the nanny and there's no nanny....hands down the girl is guilty......now Baez and mason knew she was guilty and thats why they threw her dad under the bus...only thing he was guitly of was having an affair but the bottom line here is no justice was served for Caylee becasue the trail was not about her it was about George and his affair.......Casey got away with hurting her child and taking her life and now she can enjoy the beautiful life that she wanted and I hope that lil Caylee haunts her.....this is truly a sad day for Caylee, her grandparents, and Uncle......becasue they would never have closure.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      She was acquitted by a jury of her peers, that explains it all. Did you not see the local Floridians fighting outside the the courtroom to get in.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • SUE

      So...how did the baby die?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jason

    The justice system in this country is broken beyond repair. How lawyers like Jose Baez can even sleep at night is beyond me.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reyhan

      I completely agree with you. I don't know how you be able to live with yourself.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • h

      Sorry for the family, especially for the little girl but the jury has spoken, do not care for that lynch mob mentality either, it is our judicial system and we choose to live with it and its imperfections. If you do not like it you can always move to one of those countries run by dictators and their special brand of justice. ….

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

      Jason, I am going to have to disagree with you. First off, I do believe that Casey did kill Caylee. But in Jose Baez's defense, that is his job. What I have learned in college so far as a Political Science and Pre-Law major is that as Casey's attorney, it was Mr. Baez's job to represent his client and try and get her justice. The justice for Casey may not be what we all wanted, but it is still justice for Casey. So no, the justice system is not broken. This just shows it is working perfectly. The jury disregarded the media and their personal feelings, and went off the evidence. If they did not feel that Casey was guilty, then shes not guilty.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharon Thompson

      This is the greatest form of JUSTICE NOT PREVAILING. A 2 yr. old was totally forgotten until, joke attorney, Jose Baez, finally decided he had to acknowledge the real victim. The mother walks free in life, after murdering this child she did not care about, and will PROFIT greatly from the child death. Every juror failed a dead child. Every juror only saw the party girl and the party girl was the only important part...WHAT HAPPENED TO THE JUSTICE FOR THIS CHILD. THERE WAS NONE. THE DEFENSE DOES NOT BELIEVE IN JUSTICE..JOSE BAEZ now has the nerve to TRY to say the dead child was part of this case....Watching Casey laughing and smiling is obscene..Murder of a child is okay in florida.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. EJ Rotert

    Correction: will `soon' be walking among us.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. superdave

    Casey,is one of the most vile killers this country has seen in years.. She has no remorse for the murder of a baby and that makes her really dangerous to the public. The jury can go home now and sleep knowing they just released a baby killer. I can't save them from the nightmares they'll be having soon and wouldn't if i could.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian DC

    I bet Scott Peterson is scratching his head right now. Bottom line is women get the benefit of the doubt far more then men. Even the blank-faced redneck, I'm dumb as can be, women.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vestas

      I guess you dont remember OJ.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oykevalt

      Yup.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michele

    OMG, I cannot believe this! Just like OJ, I'm sure she's already cut a deal for a movie and a book. They should've put her on the stand to testify. I agree, call DEXTER.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tammy

      That thought is SICKENING! The worst part is .... youre absolutely right. That poor baby girls life and death will now serve not only as a conveninece for this disgusting excuse of a mother, but will profit her for a lifetime no doubt. God help us.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tom

    Jeffrey Toobin and Debra Opri are the only intelligent lifeforms on the analysts panel. The rest of them are nothing more than overrated, biased lawyers who want everyone found guilty.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. maggiev

    I wasn't sure about 1st degree/death...but a not guilty plea is just shameful for that sweet child Caylee. To many things pointed to the Mother's neglect of her child. At least a manslaughter charge was warrented! I guess a ghost killed her.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JohnH

    Its funny how many of you act like you know for a fact that she killed her daughter.....when the reality is that this jury was given more info than you probably will ever see about this csse, and not-guilty is thier verdict. sorry if i side with them, and not reality-show thrill seekers who are as arrogant as they are self righteous. Im sorry theres nothing interesting on tv, but pretending like youre an expert on this case, or that youre opinion on whether or not shes guilty has any weight is just sad.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. T

    The new Lady Luck.

    R.I.P. Caylee.

    I just really hope your mom didn't do it, especially IF she was found Guilty.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
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