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. BC

    Those attorneys from the District Attorneys office who tried this case should be flogged and publicly humilitated. Oh, I'm sorry...they just were...

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RP03345

      bet Ashton makes sure he doesn't giggle in court again

      July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bryan Amato

    She is gonna be set for life no, a book, a movie, the possibilities are endless. The next J.K. Rowling here!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RP03345

      PLEASE everyone! if you think she was guilty...do NOT watch her upcoming movie or buy her book!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ONLY GOD JUDGE

    IT WAS PROVE ...SHE DIDN'T KILL HER DAUGHTER !!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RP03345

      so it's ok to not report your child if it's missing? you think God would be ok with that? I think not

      July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ONLY GOD JUDGE

      THE POINT HERE IS THE SHE IS NOT GUILTY FOR KILL THE DAUGHTER....BUT SHE IS GUILTY BECAUSE SHE LIES...RIGHT KNOW EVERYONE WANTS TO BE GOOD IN THIS CASE....LET GOD BE THE JUDGE!!

      JOHN 8:7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

      July 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. clickron

    Murder was never proved...period, end of story. The LYNCH MOB can all go home now, justice has been served.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • ONLY GOD JUDGE

      THAT'S DEFF RIGHT... SHE DIDN'T KILL HER BABY.....SHE WAS INNOCENT. BUT SHE DOES NEED PSYCHIATRIC HELP FOR ALL THE SHE WENT THRU SINCE SHE WAS YOUNG AND NOW...
      ...

      July 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • RP03345

      there were other counts on the table as well...such has child abuse, neglect.... it's ok to NOT report your child missing for 31 days and then only report it because someone makes you? if the jurors felt murder wasn't proven....they should have had the common sense to know if a parent doesn't report a missing child, that is neglect.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Moron Central

    What a travesty of justice. These 12 morons on that jury set free a baby killer. Which trial were they watching? Certainly not the one I was watching. They found the child drugged up and with a duct tape on her face in the woods while her mother was whoring around town? WOW, UNBELIEVABLE. How much more proof do we need to realize that the jury system DOES NOT work. First, OJ Simpson, now this.

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

    what will she get first...a book deal or a spread in playboy? i guess you have to murder someone to become famous these days. sad. sad. sad. but i do think her dad will kill her.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • SICK TO MY STOMACH

      Good one Sparkiesparks!!!! Maybe her own Reality Show....Starring "Bella Vita"

      July 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. martin

    the world is full of hate and man kind is always thinking they know whats best. she is not free.

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

    The American jury system is a failed system. It works for the guilty more so then the innocent. All one need do is plant any seed of doubt and an aquittal will follow. The defense claimed all those crazy lies about George, an accidental killing which proves she knew her daughter was dead and yet partied like it was new years, on and on. Just like O.J. The jury basically said "Unless I see a video of it, it didn't happen." Un fing real. I hope Casey gets run over by a car.

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

      Wrong! The jury system is good.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fox Mulder

    May Nancy Grace go the way of Glen Beck.

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

    I am sitting here in tears! I've watched this continuosly for 3 years!!! Casey Anthony did murder her daughter!!!! EVERYTHING pointed to her. No there were no fingerprints or blood left at the scene BUT 31 days not reporting your kid missing, her car smelled like a dead body, Her lies.....her computer searches.....her partying while her daughter is "missing", etc........ I can go on and on. How in the world could that jury come to that decision? I'm just literally in shock!!!! She should have gotten life in prison without the possiblity of parole!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now we will never get justice for Caley. I do not and will never believe in the justice system. First OJ Simpson and now Cayley Anthony????? What is this world coming to?! I'm sickened!

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

      and what about all the wrongly accused\convicted people in jail because a prosecutor may have falsified or hidden evidence?

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

      I'm with you. this Ho bag killed her baby so she could party. I pray to a God I no longer believe in that she rots.

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

      I love all of the people knocking 'the system'. So what, it should be changed to "guilty without a reasonable doubt, or if you really, really think they did it."? While we're at it, I'm pretty sure there's some witches down the street that need dealt with...

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. brenda

    If she's not guitly, then what the hell happpened??!!? There was a little girl's body with duct tape on her mouth!!! How the hell does that happen?!? If she's not guilty, then why isn't she doing what she can to find out who did that to her little girl?! I wonder how and how soon Casey is going to celebrate, tonight, possible? I'd be all over looking for the guilty party!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nancy in WA

    I'm upset with this jury. They were able to dismiss her from the major counts so quickly. Who do they think killed the little girl? Are we going to see someone else arrested? Did the jury actually believe the lame swimming pool drowning scenario. Does George Anthony want Casey coming back home to live? Does Mom? I can't wait to see the pieces of work that'll want to date Casey, and they'll be plenty. I hope Casey surprises me and does a complete 360 and turns her life around; that's the only way there can be any shred of justice for Caylee. If Mom goes on with her hard-partying life and/or becomes filthy rich off this case, there will truly be no justice whatsoever. Does the judge agree with this jury's views? After a wonderful three-day weekend, I'm now feeling a little sick and heartbroken. I expected, and wanted, a guilty on all counts.

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

    Looking at many of the comments I appears we should through out the US legal justice system and let the media handle our court system.

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

    Gotta love it! Only in America can you kill your kids and get away it! Stellar Justice system! Absolutely Stellar! (I am being sarcastic)

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

    Well, if anyone wondered where the OJ Simpson jury was after all these years, we now know they're in Florida.

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