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. Susanna Lerma


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


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

    This verdict is more an inditement of our education system than it is about race. People have lost the ability to think analytically and draw reasonable conclusions from facts. Fact, we have a dead little girl and a proven liar. If Casey didn't kill this girl in cold blood then who did?

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

    How disgusting!!! Makes you lose faith in our juror system. How can 12 people be so ignorant?

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

      I agree. This is a bad example to young people out there that put their boyfriends and lifestyle first. It is a free card for them to go out partying all night leaving their children behind because it is possible to be found not guilty even when all the evidence points to the defendant. Sad day.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DC?

    What about trained dogs? They smelled dead body in her car and back yard. Did it even matter? Who's daughter was it anyways? Nobody's? If Casey is the mother and her kids dirty and hungry then state takes them away from her. But if the child gone missing it's no one 's responsibility. Casey did not even report her missing, her mother did. So it would've been still unknowing that she even had a baby.

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

    Yup Im sure Vandersloot had nothing to do with Holloway or Florez's deaths too! Total BS way to go another EPIC FAIL jury. OJ loving this too. Maybe Casey can hook up with OJ?

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

    Thank god I'm not American – the land of the free ??? (yes to commit murder of your 2 year old child and get away with it) and of the brave ??? (definitely not – obviously when you have a jury that don't have the brains or the b@lls to do what is right and sentence this psychopath to death for what she did). The only satisfaction that I can find is knowing that Casey Anthony will always be looked upon as the killer she is, and one day when she least expects it while she dances on the grave of her little girl laughing with glee about getting away with murder she will get hers in spades.

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

      I'm glad you are not an American either! You can't convict someone without HARD PROOF that they did it. The prosecution didn't even have a cause of death. She probably did it but probably isn't strong enough evidence. Emotion is no reason to convict someone of anything let alone first degree murder.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mhgal

    What the jury decided was not that Casey Anthony was innocent, but that her guilt was not proven. As long as the defense produced a believable alternate theory, even though her father disagreed with it, the jury may have felt there was not enough certainty to convict. Common sense and burden of proof are not necessarily compatible, and this is a perfect example of that.

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

    For all of you SO SURE that Casey Anthony was guilty, may I ask why you didn't PROVIDE EVIDENCE to the prosecution? They surely need SOME EVIDENCE instead of just their speculations.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • zhawk88

      problem was that common sense said she was guilty, not evidence. She did it dude, who the hell doesn't report their child missing for 30 days, and goes out and parties during that time?!?! She'll have a fun time in prison for the other charges, of that I have no doubt.

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

      @zhawk88...You don't go to prison for misdemeanors especially when you have already served three years.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MadMardigain

    Her home is in Baez bed until he realizes she is truly nuts and gives her the boot.

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

    I am so mad! The jury will have to live with this with the rest of there life! People that deserve justice never get it and the people that don't desrve it get it! This is one time that the jury has made the worse desicion in there life! This women is a murder and with all the evidence she should have got 1st degree murder with the death pentaly! She may not get her judgement in this life but she will in the next when she stands before the lord! When she stands before the lord she ain't going to be happen and crying in relief that they did not convict her but she is going to be crying in torment from the pain she is goiing to have to indue! There will never be justice for that baby and casey should be ashamed of her self and i hope the guilt haunts her for the rest of her life! HOw much evidence does someone have to have to convict a murder! Lord a mercy from someone who amitted to druging her to make her sleep and does not get a child neglect charge there is something wrong with the state government there! I think they need to check all there judgements

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

      There was no evidence!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. clickron

    This was the CORRECT verdict. A little girl died, but they never proved murder. The justice system still works.

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

      Exactly! They had absolutely no evidence.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave

    The jury found her not guilty. We may not agree (I certainly don't), but there's a HUGE difference between "not guilty" and innocent! What goes around, comes around. Sooner for some than others.

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

    I would really like to hear what the jurors have to say. I feel this is a huge mistake. I can't believe that Casey gets to walk away from this, I hope it haunts her until the day she dies because she does not deserve to be free of the punishment she deserves for Caylee's death.

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

    So who killed the child, then...?

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

      ...now THAT is the real issue!!!! A beautiful little girl was 'lost' for 30 days, the mother had no real concern about WHERE she really was, lied every step of the way when the police FINALLY got involved. The prosecution did not prove that she physically killed her baby, but the mother will have to live with what she did to her. SHE is the only one who knows what happened...

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