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. W

    This has nothing to do with race. It was a lost case for murder from the start. Pay attention people, NO cause of death means you cant prove murder 99.9% of the time. By the way remember that thing called the economy and those wars and the debt ceiling......can we move on now please?

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

    what is this world coming to? I lost my faith in humanity when the murderer of that beautiful little two year old, Caylee, was found NOT GUILTY. I would like to know how the jurors who served on this case can look at themselves in the mirror each day or face their own families after allowing the killer of a child to go free?? I can only hope that each and every one of those jurors and defense attorneys face a grave injustice of their own so that they too will know what it feels like when justice is NOT served for their loved ones. All that has been done is to teach others that they can kill an innocent child, party and smile afterward and still walk free

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

    A child is dead and now her family returns back to their everyday lives.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CAHuntress1

    This was an injustice! Casey did murder her baby girl. Baez says death penalty is disgusting? He's a disgusting, morally bankrupt idiot who defended this guilty witch and now she's gotten away with murder. MURDER. GUILTY! Not only is she guilty, but she should be put to death. As for the death penalty, Mr. Baez, it's a waste of tax dollars to feed, house, and offer cable & a/c etc to those convicted of heinous crimes. When Casey kills again, it will be on your soul.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. what a joke

    people of florida u must be proud of your justice system . MAKE IT RIGHT...... LINCH MOB!!!!!!!!!

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

    I wonder what the jury is going to think when Casey has more children and something accidentally happens to them, too? I hope the jury gets to see all of the highlights of how Casey was a completely different person whenever the jury wasn't in the courtroom!!!!! Maybe then they will see the magnitude of their error!!!!!!!

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

      I blame the hit squad media and the likes of Nancy Grace for this misservice of justice. The way they handled this rushing to judgement and whipping the public into outrage forced the authorities to push this into court before building a strong enough case. Thank you Nancy...you just helped a child murderer walk!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. julius

    If you went to school for law remember you are innocent til proven guilty just because you have a degree does not mean you can covict someone news is over rated speak the real and quit wasting time brain washing people

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

    sad sad day.. justice was NOT served for Caylee. Casey will burn in hell though so just gotta wait for her day to come. unbelieveble, Casey sits there laughing like its nothing.. gross.. i hope someone takes her out just liek she took her daughters life.

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

      I agree! It makes me sick to my stomach!!!! We can only hope justice will eventually be served!!!! Maybe we will get lucky and she will die of AIDS or a long battle with cancer.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jimatmad

    Glad I wasn't on the jury. I think she was guilty, but that's not enough to convict her.

    Apparently, the jury didn't think the prosecution met the burden of proof.

    The good news it that OJ's still in jail, even though he got away with murder.

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

    I can kill anyone in this country and go free. Just need to cast a doubt.

    You are "FREE" to do whatever you want in this country – Even Kill! ... You actually dont believe this? Convicts and Murders are taken BETTER care of... it is encourged...

    Do WHATEVER you want.. whatever makes you feel good. There are no rules. Go on – do it!

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

      Nonsense. Murderers are convicted every day.

      Even if Casey's guilty, she's just one.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sue

    so now what, they want us to believe that little girl put the duct tape over her own mouth!! Shame shame shame on this jurty!

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

      It is such a sad day!!!! 🙁 I used to have sooo much respect for the legal system! I still do have respect, however this case along with Friend of the Court and how fathers get raked over the coals all of the time, makes my respect diminish all of the time!!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Prayerful

    I refuse to sit in judgement of her. That is not mine or anyone's role. She will (as we all will) have to face our God one day. Then we will each receive our judgement! Pray for little Caylee...................

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

    I just can't believe she she walked away and Caylee has been forgotten. She killed her daughter and she got away with it. Unbelievable

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MOM&2BOYZ

    Any money made from a book or tv show whould go back to the Government that PAID FOR HER DEFENSE. She belongs in hell if she profits from her daughters death. They say what goes around comes around. The whole sick family will get their day – and I doubt it will have anything to do with the PEARLY GATES. The jury should have taken more time to think it through – I would like to here how they justified their decision to the many lies and ridiculous stories that were told.

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

      I totally agree. Besides the book and TV deals, I am dreading the magazine centerfold offer that's probably coming to Casey.

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

      Unfortunately, evil people live forever and they get away with all sorts of things all of the time!!! It is sooo sickening!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Concerned

      What if casey moves to Canada and writes the book then who can stop her from making millions????

      July 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. frank

    why don't the people who think it was racism. Her being a white female. Go somewhere else besides the land of the free, USA. And find out what racism is really all about. Then you will know how good you have it in USA. Stop your complaining.

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

      I think people are looking at money more than race. Poor, disadvantaged, less educated people do not have access to a good legal defence ...But it has been proven that your appearance has some influence in guilt. If you look like a thug the jury will convict!

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