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. lkey777

    I hope that she (Casey) does not get a book or movie deal from this...whomever offers her that deal is (how did the defense put it) morally corrupt

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

    OMG!!!!!!! What the hell???? I have watched this story unfold from beginning to end, and CANNOT BELIEVE the jury found her not guilty. Were they even at the same trial I watched on tv??? Well, gee....I hope they can sleep at night knowing they let a murderer go free. Poor Caylee. Lord, I pray the truth comes to light and all will be known as to what really happened to Caylee. I have a feeling this case is far from over.........with Casey smack dap in the middle of it.

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

      If you watched every moment of the trial like you say then one would think you could see that the prosecution didn't meet the burden of proof required for conviction. They had no evidence at all, not even a cause of death. Emotion and speculation are not proof. You have to PROVE she did it BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

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

    THe US need to protect children from these hidious crimes against them. Where's the justice for this little girl?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mikey mike

    Unbelievable. Well if you're gonna kill a child you better make sure there is a swimming pool near by that you can blame it on. Was the jury awake during the WHOLE trial? Fire the entire D.A.'s office now.

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

    system is failing man

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    This beautuful little girl is in heaven with our Father and Jesus, and they know what happened!!! Whoever is responsible for her death will "NOT" escape God's judgement. No one got away with anything!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • caseyishot

      You are a religious extremist freak.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jessica

    I am outrage. The verdict was CRAZY!! She was guilty, everything pointed to her and the evidence is RIGHT THERE!! Now there is a killer on the lose and Now Hope everyone keeps their child on short leash because it is juries like these that make it unsafe on the street. there are real innocent people in the jails rotting and this woman gets to go and party and be free. and I HAVE NOW LOST ALL HOPE IN THE JURY SYSTEM AND THE COURT OF LAW. I may seem bias but she is GUILTY as was O.J Simpson and she wil have her day again in court just like O.J, and she will be found GUILTY!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • common sense

      Exactly! I lost my hope in the system a long time ago. My good friend was randomly stabbed by a drug addicted. He was found not guilty and let go even though he confessed to the stabbing. Possibly because my friend had a foreign accent. It's disgusting when you punish people based on a hunch instead of common sense.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kat

    This is a travesty, no justice was rendered here. So we ask, who killed baby Caylee Marie? we will never know as we will never know who murdered Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.

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

    the jury may have found her not guilty, but she has to keep living and remember every single day what she did to her baby.

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

    Disgusting. I watched the trial on TV . If you can add 2 + 2 you can connect the dots to see she is clearly guilty. What a little psycho– lies on top of lies– her narcisstic (sp?) mind is a tangled mess of lies and self delusion. What kind of animal could suffocate her own daughter!?! I only hope the reality of all this tortures her for the rest of her life– but probably not since she is delusional. Once last thought– the combined IQ of that jury must be less than that of a house plant. Our jury system is broken. What an embarrassment....

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hazel

    That's why I still believe in a court where the verdict is held down by a single judge rather than the jury type, composed of ordinary (random) citizens, not to mention being ignorant with the law.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John Marshall

    Josh, Dan, Caseishot:

    While I respect your opinions and in fact, I agree with you that Casey Anthony MAY not be inncoent, that is NOT the standard that we use in our judicial system. There is reason for that. You guys are just letting your emotions control your objectivity. By the way, I do have two wonderful kids – just so that you know that I DO know what it takes to be parent. While you are at it, you may ask that question to the Casey family ; that family – I am saying this on a personal level, not as a legal professional – is totally dysfunctional and of pathological liars. They lie about every little thing. Also, did you notice how Casey's mom and dad were sitting apart from each other? At bottom, the State of Florida did a terrible job; they were counting on emotions to carr them to victory as opposed to objective evidence; too bad, they did not see the jury's intelligence.

    Lude:
    Please tell some of our peers how our judicial system works.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kevin

    Some of you people have ZERO idea about courts and the judicial process. I don't know where you went to school, but your teachers have failed you.

    The judicial system is NOT flawed or 'failed' here. As a matter of fact, the judicial system did exactly what its supposed to do: Which is take what you can prove and see if you can make it stick.

    If you're mad about child-murdering Casey Anthony being found not guilty, then you blame the good-for-nothing Orlando cops. You blame the horrible forensics people who worked on the case and couldn't prove anything because they are inept and stupid. You blame the prosecution for not having better evidence.

    Seriously, Orlando cops only know how to do one thing well: Issue speeding citations. Central Florida cops in general are a crooked, questionable bunch. If you live in Central Florida, you know there are more bad stories about our police than good. A freaking cop breaks an 90 year old man's neck because the man was resisting arrest... and you expect these same cops to actually find a missing girl, her dead body, or at least collect enough hard evidence?

    No, don't be mad at the judicial system. Be mad at law enforcement. They are the failure here.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Marshall

      Kevin:

      Thanks for being obejective, buddy! People are getting too emotional, and it is no wonder we have quite few people are getting convicted on flimsy evidence, or worse, on false evidence.

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

    I will not spend one cent on a book, movie , magazine or anything that will provide any money to her and I urge everyone else to do the same thing. It is bad enough she killed her child but now being able to live and party from the proceeds she gets from any book or movie.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. William

    She and her family wil have to live with this for the rest of their lives. Wonder if anyone will ever really find out what happened to an innocent two-year old??
    OJ all over again. Does Casey play golf?

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