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. Robin

    Karma can be a real PITA.......

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Billy

    This pathological liar, this insensitive semblance of a human being, may indeed walk free legally, but I hope she'll NEVER be free emotionally or socially. I hope every day of the rest of her life is more miserable than the one before. Whatever evil looks she has to endure, whatever things she has to hear from the public, she deserves every one. Like it or not, she'll always be considered a killer in the eyes of the majority of Americans.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ree

    Caylee should be first and foremost on everyone's mind. I'm surprised she wasn't found guilty on count 3. HOWEVER, this should be a reality slap in the face for all of these biased, nearly slanderous talking head lawyers and show hosts who basically said "guilty before innocent," led by pitbull Nancy DisGrace. They should all be ashamed of themselves. Cheney Mason hit the nail on the head in the defense's post-trial conference.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ree

      In the second sentence, "she" = Casey.

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

      Cheney "Fuzzy Face" Mason is a stupid, drawling, arrogant so-and-so (look up references to him online) ... I hope he gets his for the travesty of "justice" (sic) he and his smarmy-faced pal Baez inflicted. He truly is the archtypal defense "lawyer' – defending his "client" (sic) even though he knows full well she's guilty as hell.

      Thanks, Mason, you arrogant moron.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. May Angels Lead You In

    RIP Caylee Anthony <3 You are forever in the hearts of Americans all over. You may not have gotten justice today but I believe in karma. And whoever murdered you will have to answer to God. Now rest in peace baby girl <3

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |

    Lies and Covers up the death of her child and walks pretty much free, Their are just regular Pot Smokers that have been convicted to spend more time then she ever will now. That is the greatest justice system in the world:) lol. Hey get 12 brain dead jury members and will call it the greatest justice system in the world. Wow.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wallabear

    The verdict means: if you're WHITE and FEMALE in America, then you can "accidentally" and/or deliberately kill your child and get off scot-free! (rolling eyes). (Jury interview, taped July 6, 2011, for NBC's "Dateline" – Jury spokesperson: "We're very sorry, America. We were all high on crystal meth while in the deliberation room."

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Scott

    Apparently, the prosecution didn't make their case. If there was not enough evidence to tie her to the crime, then how was the jury supposed to convict her? What everyone seems to forget is that a poor little girl died a horrible death, and she will never be brought back, no matter how calls for blood there may be.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Natalie

    This murderer will be out and our kids will be in an immediate danger? This is the country I came to and I am SO disappinted in that decision. People seating in jury are brainless.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Laura- GA

    Baez= Johnny Cochrane..... This is our OJ trail... I am disgusted and find this ridiculous.. Casey I hope you start thinking of your daughter and give yourself the justice you gave your trail.. You are a disgrace to our country and not human.

    Caylee Rest in peace sweet baby girl... You have millions of mommys out here that love you!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JUSTICE 1

    I am going to Florida. Justice will be served.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • clickron

      Dude, I think you just got yourself in a lot of trouble.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • what a joke


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

      FOR CAYLEE!!!!

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

    This is going to give Nancy Grace a stroke...it is, isn't it? Isn't it?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. what a joke

    IT would be nice if she left jail and was hit by a bus. THAT WOULD BE JUSTICE !!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kathy M

    Gidoug, This will not bother Casey at all, this is a woman that can not feel emotion or sympathy, all she cares about is Casey and what Casey wants. It is a shame that the courts can't prevent her from having more children, because she got away with it this time, when she gets tired of her next child, she will dump it like garbage again.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. clickron

    This proves that Nancy Grace knows nothing about the law. The evidence was never there, period. The verdict, based on the evidence was correct.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Leoandjinx

    Everyone in my office is in disbelief – how on earth could they acquit her?? Seriously?? It is the OJ verdict all over again!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
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