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. William

    Next thing for Casey Anthony is to file a Complaint and SUE Nancy Grace and HLN for trying to switch public opinion against the Defendant. What ever happened with the 4th. Amendment: “The Right for a Fair Trial?”

    Justice was served, and this woman should had been allowed to walk free today. She has already served more time in prison than the one stipulated in the Law for the four counts in which the Defendant was found guilty.

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

    After reading some comments, why are so ppl so upset. It is the prosectors duty to present a flawless argument. There was NOTHING to tie Casey to the murder if so she would have been charged on the assalt or negilate, but she wasn 't she was charged with LYING, like we didn't already know that. And please what 20 year old does not like to party, child or no child. The JUSTICE SYSTEM WORKED AS IT SHOULD HAVE.

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

      We are upset because anyone with an OUNCE of common sense outside our ridiculous legal system realizes that a killer is walking free and a little girl has received NO justice.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray B

      When will we stop talking about 20 year olds like they are children. They are ADULTS...grow up and take some f'ing responsibility instead of killing the problem that is keeping you from your Jersey Shore life.

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

    Life is going to be different for her... when people see her... will always murmur... here comes the 'Baby Killer' ; even if she has done anything wrong.

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

    Believe me she will be back to jail or she will suicide. her daughter pic will follow her. just matter of time

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

    does this mean KC wont be a carpet muncher ? dangit

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

    A self-centered, selfish pampered individual eliminates their problem (a child) and gets away with it. Pathetic.

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

      this was injustice to poor Caylee.... who will be punished ...nobody, what kind of people would let her walk free, karma will get her in the end!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary E

      How much money will she now make on the story, the book rights, movie deal, appearances. 10:1 she's already got an agent lined up. What's the max penalty for lying to the police, 2 yrs? out in 6 mths?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      Do you personally know her?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray B

      Kay...I know many people just like her and they are all the same....the universe revolves around them and anything goes for them to be "happy"....read her diary entries if you have any questions, but then again, I don't think any amount of evidence would be enough for you (or others on here) for the pretty young white girl.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. What!

    She was found guilty by her peers, but God will have the final say. If in fact she killed her child, she will pay, her life will be miserable and that is a fact! Where is OJ now? His life has been a living hell.

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

      Exactly if she has done the crime and she was survived due to lack of evidence ; she sure will have a miserable life. God will pay her and punish her back. You have to pay for your bad deeds and receive for good deeds in this life.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nitehawk

    resonable doubt ? here's a reasonal fact a beauitful little girl was killed. who done it ? someone in her family knows what happened and they have to live with that the rest of their sorry lives. YOU WON'T BE FORGOTTEN CAYLEE!!!

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

      appreciate your sensationalism but Caylee will be forgotten. Very quickly.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. c

    I am shocked by this verdict, Casey Anthony is pure evil. shes guilty

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

    Live that racial stuff alone....ENOUGH with that stupidity...a child is killed...A CHILD!!! A mother that can't get enough with parties and fun, and lies humiliating and destroying the whole family...AND a jury that let her go Happy Around. This is what we should be angry at...

    July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Xombie

    I hope she gets what is coming to her...Its bullcrap that this happened in the first place.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kimmer

    There will probably never be justice for Caylee. Maybe the grandmother should never have forces Casey to be the mom she didn't want to be....one will never know. I think Casey did it, and she is a cold heartless wench since anyone who is missing their child.....whether there is a kidnapping or a murder....none of that relates to Casey going partying as if she is not a grieving mother of a missing 2 year old. I only hope that Caylee died peacefully sleeping.
    I don't think anyone will ever forget that regardless of what these 12 people think........she is going to be judged by everyone she meets.
    They should make her get a hysterctomy.......never to have the chance to have another child that may risk getting too old and will talk........never to get a second chance at being an adult with responsibilities!!!
    If you are reading this and know of a woman who has a child and does not want the responsibility, maybe it should be your duty to get that woman with someone who will take that child off their hands......there are plenty of people in this country who would love the chance to love a child. All a child wants is to be loved.....and that does NOT necessarily need to be with the one who gave birth!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    As part of police investigation, I've been watching this circus and here is my first comment on the situation.

    I think she is guilty.

    The jurors did their jobs. There is no murder weapon, murder scenario, link between the suspect and murdered. You can come up with 100 alternate scenarios.

    Every day we KNOW people are guilty of a crime, many times murder. We never encourage charges until we've collected enough evidence to where there is at least a chance of winning a case. Obviously this women is selfish, a liar, a horrible parent, and most likely responsible for the death of her child. But thats the problem – If you are just guessing about 1st degree, 2nd degree, gross negligence, under the influence of illegal drugs, or an accident – theres no strong case for any particular charge. All we know is she lied but we still dont know what happened. If she was high on coke and left the child for a few moments and the child tripped and died that a crime. If she murdered the child with poison thats a much worse crime. Who knows what happened? – with the death penalty involved there is no case.

    The prosecution should have never gone forward. This lady would have self convicted herself or more evidence would have come out. They should have at least waited for 2-3 more years. It sounds wrong but thats how hundreds of successful cases are built every day across the country . The prosecution is a joke.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Tia

      I agree with you John. Sound sound advice.

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

    How is allowing your daughter to disappear for 31 days not some type of child abuse they can charge her for. People go to jail for years just for not watching their child close enough and that child having an accident. She's going to get off free of even those issues.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Capt George R

    Word has it that along with book and movie deals, Casey is opening a nationwide franchise: "Zany's Nanny Service"...Business Motto: "We treat them as if they were our own"!!

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