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. David

    I sat on a jury in a murder case not too long ago which involved a young lady murderer like Casey, and the 2 old women who were also on the Jury both said "we just can't see that poor young girl kill anyone", we made them sit and go through everything again, and had to prove to the dumb old ladies that "yes", young sweet girls can kill to. Jury selection is a joke, and it has never been as clear as it is today. And for all you POOR blacks worried that this was about race, GET A LIFE!! It was about justice for a little 2 year old little girl, and that's it!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • 6000years

      yep, prosecution really screwed up on the jury selection

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    You actually have to have incriminating evidence to find someone guilty of murder. Guess thats a new one for people to understand??

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

    In a word...DISGUSTED!

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

    While there might be no justice for Caylee on this planet, I am positive she is in a better place now and at peace. At least I hope for that.
    As for Casey – it's only a matter of time before the enabled-by-her-parents, spoiled, partying brat gets knocked up again and brings another innocent child into this world to neglect and abuse. If the parents want to help their daughter teach her about birth control., give her your best wishes and promptly throw her out of your house. It's time to grow up Casey.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. No Justice

    I can't believe the verdict that was handed down... This panel of jurors were ignorant. She was guilty... guilty.... guilty. It's so sad that you can have your child missing for 31 days, not report it... and have nothing done to you. She clearly was happy that her child was out of the picture didn't take a genius to see that. What did she borrow a shovel for? If she was molested... where was a psychologist to testify on her behalf of the emotional trials she has suffered due to this? Lie after lie after lie. So much evidence, yet found innocent. That is why they shouldn't have people off the street as a juror. A judge should decide – that is their job. I hope she spends the rest of her life in turmoil over this... but after watching her in court she doesn't spend a tear on her child, only when it affects her. A pathetic mom... and a stupid jury.

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

    So...Casey admitted, by and through her attorneys in court, that Caylee drowned. That means that Casey was there when her daughter died. That also means that she can now be indicted for hiding a corpse, disposing of a corpse...failure to make notification of a death...and Cindy can now be indicted for perjury. New charges will be forthcoming.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tisa

    That beautiful little girl is dead and her piece of garbage mother is free to walk away and live life the way she wanted it. That sickens me, little Caylee deserves justice. This absolutely sickens me.

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

    This is not JUSTICE.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mitsy

    You can bet Baez is grateful but justice was NOT served. If I were Cindy & George Anthony, I would pretend that Casey was dead as well because she murdered their granddaughter. This is not something that is forgivable. This jury is beyond stupid & unreasonable. They did NOT use their common sense...quite obvious to me.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Workingmom81

      Maybe Casey can get the names of all 12 jurors and go and live 1 month every year with each one of them. Hope they don't have any swimming pools or pets or children....

      July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Crow

    Our justice system sucks and what a waste of tax payers money when it all comes down to it. She might be better off behind bars for now she has to face millions of wanna be jurors for the rest of her life.RIP Caylee

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DDSilks

    I just don't get it. What a sad day for the justice system. What other conclusion could they come to but murder? I would bet anything that Casey was chloroforming that poor baby so she could party all night and sleep around, and one time it just went too far. Then she tried to cover it up to make it look like a kidnapping and murder. It's that simple, folks. What mother would party like she did and not know where her baby is? SHE KNEW. I hope the jury members who did this atrocious act of misjugdgment never get a good night's sleep for the rest of their lives, and I hope Casey Anthony rots in hell.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rum Dumb

    This is the kind of thing that happens after a society diminishes the value of life by allowing abortion. Why should the mother suffer just because she decided to kill the child at 2 years and not 8 months?

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

      If as a society we spent more time worrying about the children that were here than the ones who weren't...maybe we would have seen some justice in this case. No crimes go more unpunished than those against children and this case proves the point. But lets keeping bring more children into the world that parents don't want. Don't kill them in the womb..what a terrible thing...just wait till they get here then do it.

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

      There are millions of children being abused right this very minute because they did not want them. I completely disagree with your logic on this, but we probably will both agree that adoption should be streamlined and not so expensive.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Terry Robinson

    I do not agree with the verdict, But the jury came up with the right decision. If you would have convicted base on the prosecution it would have mounted and appeal because their was not sufficient evidence. It would have been a conviction based on emotion and that cannot happen. The prosecution drop the ball. They could not get justice for this baby and the burden of proof is always on the state.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. winnie

    O.j.'s case has nothing to do with the murder of an loving trusting and innocent child who in her precious little head thought t hat her mommie would cause her any harm and for that matter allow anyone else to cause her harm...Also remember O.J. didn't leave his victims in the trunk of his car then dispose of there bodies in a shallow grave with hopes of them never to be discovered The only things that O.J and Tot Mom have in common are great defense lawyers and heartless jurors!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chrissie

    For all of you people that automatically convicted Casey before hearing any evidence I pray that you one day don't get accused of something and get convicted just because the presecution has a nice story to tell. They didn't even have a cause of death or any of Casey's DNA with the body. They simply did not have any evidence at all. I knew she was going to be found not guilty, like someone previously stated put Emotion, Nancy, and Jane to the side. There was absolutely no evidence. I'm surprised she even got indicted over this.

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