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. Majid

    how in the world did the court find her not guilty?!?!?!?!??!

    burn in hell Casey

    July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kay

    Thank god!! Casey did not kill her daughter. You people need to re-evaluate the facts and information presented. Her parents did it, she was right to be convicted of providing false information to police but not to murder. Just to put this out there, just because she tells her father he is a great dad and she loves him does not disprove the allegations of him molesting her. Look up Stockholm syndrome. Whatever happened to little Caylee, no body but god will know and no body but god will be able to rightfully judge the person responsible.

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

      How can you say "nobody but God will know" and "her parents did it" in the same sentence. You just contradicted yourself, but your last statement is the truest. Only God knows and he will deal with it how he pleases, so remember that when you go blaming the parents for something you don't know.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • amanda

      Kay,
      Can I just say you are a complete idiot just like the people on the jury. Lets see, she searched for chloroform on the computer and there was proof nobobdy was home but her at the time, she abandons her car for over a month, when the parents are contacted to come get her car it smells of decompostion, her mom and dad are asking for the location of Caylee for a month, she doesn't once say Caylee is missing until her mom forces it out of her, Caylee's body is found in a trash bag with tape over her nose and mouth with a heart shaped sticker on it, need I say more. You are an absolute idiot if you think she is innocent of murder. She will get what she deserves. Trust me on that. Justice is swift at the hands of God.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Educate yourselves

      Not Guilty doesn't mean innocent. She did it but the prosecutors failed to show that.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wall-e

      I have to agree. I think that the Grand Father had something to do with it. I am also very angry with the main stream media. From the very beginning they had pronounced Casey guilty. in every report they passed judgment with out knowing the facts. I am so very disappointed with all of the disaster mongers that sit in front of their TVs just waiting for the next murder or child molestation to air so they can feel good about their own pitiful life's. I can not in good conscious judge Casey Anthony because I am not God and only he and the killer knows that happened. As far as her not being found guilty, the evidence did not support a Guilty verdict.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ms.Tia

    She better be lucky she wasn't in Texas....There is no way we would have let her off for this crime. Floridians need to get out of the sun, and stay the hell away from Disney World.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kren

    Poor Caley, no justice for her today. However, Casey will pay someday, and that's all that we need to remember.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Why do we care?

    Honestly? If you do care, go to your neighbors, introduce yourself and get to know them. The majority of people in this world are good people, bad things happen. If you do care, instead of wasting time watching hours of mindless water cooler conversational ammo, go meet your neighbors.Talk to someone that you've never talked to before, it doesn't matter if they are a different race, color, or don't even speak the same language from them. JUST DO IT.

    You just may prevent something like this from happening without even knowing it.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SophieCat

    Casey is very young. It's easy to "live for today" and let tomorrow's troubles wait until tomorrow – but time has a strange way of catching up to you, as you get older. It becomes harder to live with the things you've done. Your memory does a strange thing – and the past starts throwing ghosts at you. I predict that what Casey did will get harder and harder for her to live with. We may never know it – but it's that way for ALL of us. If you don't make peace with your past, it WILL come back to haunt you.

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

      The legal system is broken, goverment is broken!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. babynurse79

    UNBELIEVABLE. They found her guilty of LYING but they believe that she didn't kill Caylee????? They know she's a liar!!! So how can you believe she didn't murder that baby? I hope those jurors and Casey can sleep at night, knowing a murderer and sociopath is free. Casey got what she wanted. Now she'll have lots of time to go party it up.

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

      Do you understand our criminal justice system? There was evidence that she lied, there was no evidence that proved she was the cause of her daughters death. Personal opinion and emotion doesn't count in a court room.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Janice Steele

    Please tell me it isnt so. this has got to be a joke, not true.....this once again proves that the justice system is broken, broken, broken & the average person selected for jury duty is probably just as insane as those being tried. especially those found in florida.....this is a travesty

    July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Flor

    After the veredict we must conclude that little Calyee commited suicide then.
    BS
    I only Hope Divine Justice will be served

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

    A very sad day for Florida and for the U.S.

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

      It is an extremely sad day for Caylee no wonder the state of Florida has so many child predators living in it, especially since Mom can kill and be found not guilty.....jidiots on that jury, both jerks and idiots....

      July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Anonymous

    I suggest that we all black, white, red, or yellow skin, GET A LIFE in stead of dedicating your life watching another life be destroyed!!!

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

      Here Here

      July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. teresa, sno-hio

    Though the jury followed the instructions of the Judge per the law: which juror would like to have Casey Anthony babysit for them or their grandchildren? She has a special method of calming unruly children.....

    July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Colorado

    Prosecutor couldn't prove anything so shouldn't be a big surprise ...

    July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JC

    disgusting, makes me want to vomit. !!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rose

    So Caylee wrapped herself in her baby blanket that was in her room,threw herself in a trashbag and put herself in a swamp to decompose herself,amazing.

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