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. Caylee

    mental retards....im ashamed to call america home! im no longer celebrating for the 4th of July...because of YOU PEOPLE! the so called "jury". thanks a lot america this is your fault!1

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

    Well I'm certainly glad to see that the case turned out the way that it did. I'll tell everybody like this: if you weren't there and you didn't witness anything that happened first hand then how could you possibly say what did or did not happen? I'm glad that at least Casey Anthony will not be imprisoned and spend more of taxpayer dollars to house her in prison for an excessive amount of time. Anybody that disagrees, be my guest, but try to be a decent human being and look at this case as if that were you and you had to face a jury about something that was being thrown at you in the court room. Just think about that from now on before pointing the finger at the person in the court room because one day that very well could be you in that court room on the opposite side of those fingers being pointed at you and all the gossip and media attention.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David

    We have not learned from media involvement in trails by jury. Media needs to stay out of Court Rooms and let the Criminal Justice System run its course. Find a Media involved Jury Trail in recent history that is put out to the public everyday and the Person gets a GUILTY VERDICT and you will NONE. I strongly believe that the media is at the biggest fault not the Criminal Justice System . But the media got what they wanted "Ratings". As for Ms. Anthony, she will be in torment for the rest of her life here on earth and when GOD Judges her. For the all the followers of this Case by the book watch the the Movie and put money in her pockets.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rohan

    Well, if the family cries in joy and celebrates the death of their child, WHO AM I to disagree. What is the point in even writing in these forums...no one cares. I am off to see the Yankees game....what a waste of my time following this. NICE FAMILY THO AND NICE VALUES....I REJOICE TOO. At least we as a society tried to help....

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

    Juries–Go Figure.

    HOWEVER-even though WE the public believe her to be GUILTY AS SIN, WE don't get to DECIDE that. The JURY has spoken.

    RESPECT THE SYSTEM because even with the occasional flaw, it beats the (#$)*@) out of the alternatives. ALL of the Alternatives.

    I have been to countries where you are guilty of what ever crime the police said you committed, no matter what evidence you have to prove your innocence. I have also been to countries where YOU WILL CONFESS your GUILT to a CAPITAL OFFENSE, because protesting your innocence makes the rest of your soon to be shortened life too miserable to continue. (In other words, they WILL beat a confession out of you, or they will beat you to death and sign the confession for you–along with your suicide note in broken ENGRISH).

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Laurafairlie

    So sad that if you can throw a body in an area where it is likely not to be found for a few months and be exposed to the elements long enough to destroy any potential "hard evidence" that you can get away with murder.

    Now she gets to go on with her partying just like she wanted.


    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DBM

    Now she can write her own "If I did it" book and maybe Casey should request a foreword from O.J. on how to conduct searches for the real killer.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. J.M

    In O.J's case you could not prove O.J mental intent to kills his wife he did not have a provable motive. In addition one could not prove he carried out the act of murder. In C.A situation you also can not prove she intented to Murder, But the Child died, intentionally or unintentionally therefore she should have been found guilty of a lesser charge.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rhonda

    This just proves our justice system is severely flawed.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sad Elaine

    Poor little Caylee, no justice for her...........it is so obious Casey has something to do with Caylee's death, accidentally or intentionally. Now, with Caylee being gone, Casey can go back to her parties. Make sure to wear gloves to do any crime because no one can ever prove you did it......legal system sucks!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jueceman

    Do you see what you can accomplish when you don't snitch??? I know she did it cause she told me last night, but I mean, it is what it is, she was tried by her peers and was found not guilty.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ben

    She partied following the months of the death and showed no emotion for the loss of her child. She didn't call the cops when it happened. Doesn't that strike you as impossible to ignore?

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

    lookout world they let the devil out

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Marn

    She is GUILTY base on the evidence from not reporting the kid missing, go party and shopping while her daughter is missing and lost of affect during police interview and lying her job and everything. She is a big liar who try to get out from the justice system and she was able to get this in this period but God will sought her at the end co'z I know "She knmow what happen to her daughter" Justice was not served to this young girl. She should be ReTrial again !!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Axel

    Mexican, black, white, oriental, it really doesn't matter. There are liars and murders of EVERY race.
    Regardless if we all think this woman is a liar or a murder she was proven Not Guilty! No of us can change that. I honestly believe you can live on earth and do right or wrong but before we go to the heaven up above you Will pay for all the wrong you've done. Only you know what you have or haven't done. The sad part about this is that baby girl never had a chance to grow up and live life she was just an innocent precious little girl that meant no harm to her mother and look where that got her. And this is directly to Miss.Anthony you have no reason to give anyone an explanation but you do have to have a clear conscious not just for you but for the simple fact that your daughter can Rest In Peace.

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