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. superdave

    She'll have to brag that she did it,she's that type of a b-h and when she does i just pray some good person of God,carries out her punishment. Courts can't protect us from people like her than i'm sure someone will and the courts better turn their backs and look the other way just like they did on this little baby. Her momma is just as guilty in this murder and better watch her back too.

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

    Tired of your young children, want to go out and party like a rock star, Call Casey Anthony child killer, she will take care of that little bundle love in less than 31 days.

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

    Well...atleast she can party now!!! First it was O.J ...now its C.A.....whose next?

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

    American jurors are mostly stupid.

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

      You got that right.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lori

    If what happened to Caylee was an accident, why didn't Casey just tell her parents and law enforcement instead of creating a web of lies? Because she caused her death, whether intentional or unintentional, that's why, and she didn't want to suffer the consequences. Instead of being grief stricken over the death of her daughter, she was more concerned about lying to everyone about what happened so she could go out & continue her partying life style.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vicky S

    If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, ITS A DAMN DUCK. This is not justice. Caylee is still Dead. With no answers as to how she died. She was last seen ALIVE with her mother nobody disputed that fact. Then found dead in the woods. What normal person says my child drowned then puts her in a trash bag like garbage. I would have dialed 911 trying to get help to save her not cover up an accident. If I ever get in trouble I want it to be in FLORIDA you can get away with MURDER. But now its up to GOD he will have the final judgment.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • You're all suckers to believe in the system

      blah blah blah

      I would have found her not guilty also.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. brenda

    For as much as I believe in my heart that she is GUILTY or has the answers, the Prosecution in my opinion DID NOT prove without a doubt with evidence. AND may I say that I am shocked that a professional such as Nancy Grace could show her disgusts with the verdict. Maybe we should be looking at how they tried this case and the changes that need to be made in order for our Justice system to better itself. AS THE JUDGE SAID, do not judge with your EMOITIONS!

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

      Brenda, Nancy Grace is most certainly not a professional. Her rabid coverage of this did not educate: it was calculated for drama and entertainment.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rick

    I think now is the time for CNN to evaluate Nancy Grace and JMV and their KANGAROO COURT reporting that all but convicter this poor girl before she ever went to court

    July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ree

      I completely agree! Nancy DisGrace's show is a microcosm of today's sensationalized, biased reporting and news in general. The text graphics on her show during the trial coverage were out-and-out libelous.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mother and Grandmother

    The verdict is wrong!! Where was her daughter when she was out parting? She will answer to God and he will take care of her. There was no justice done and what about Cindy she LIED... God bless Cayle may she rest in peace!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Meredith Sansbury

    How can these 12 jurors not have common sense? How could this happen? How can a jury not see that you can't get the full truth from a bunch of liars? Shame on everyone involved in this case that overlooked the obvious truth. I am stunned and disgusted by our judicial system. I have no confidence in our system any longer...

    July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      You would have been burning witches too, had you lived back then.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jessa1229

    Don't blame the jury, but the prosecution. If any of you had any legal understanding you would realize that the prosecution did not meet its burden of evidence. They should have had a more concrete case before ever bringing it to trial.

    It doesn't matter if you "know" she did it ... the jury heard the points of law that had to be proven and if you watched the case (Not what some reporter thought of the case, but what was actually presented at trial) those points were not met in a way that eliminated reasonable doubt.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bob

    OJ Simpson....Micheal Jackson....Robert Blake......Casey Anthony....what do all these cases have in common? Media Attention......These jurors spend every day looking at these people they're about to convict..day after day..until they start to feel sorry for them....any sign of innocence; anything in the accused favor? will set them free....Jurors traditionally feel its better to let them go> than convict an innocent person...And the whole-world is watching them.. and the easiest and, most convenient way-out? Not Gulity!!!!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    Mandi, Stop watchin Oprah and Soap Operas. Just because you have a daughter, does not give you a right to pass judgement on anyone.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cosmo2716

    i am in tears i work for a police dept. and i just cannot believe sitting at work watchig that verdict!!!! i started to cry. i am not a mother, but am hoping to become one someday. how can people do this???? this poor little girl gets nothing today....nothing but the jury thinking that her mother is a saint!! and she is far, far from it!!! poor little girl.......Caylee, you are missed and your mother will now have to live as will the jury members of the wrong verdict that was given today. the jury has let a baby killer out on the loose.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    This is a great example of why the court of public opinion is much tougher than the actual court of law. We should let the jury who has the details decide guilt or innocence and not the 24-hour talking news commentators whose job it is to babble endlessly all day about a particular topic and fill up a news day week after week. Stop letting the 24 hour news talking heads brainwash you into making judgments about people and issues when you do not know all the facts sitting there from your Lazy Boy recliner. Turn off the talking heads and get back to watching the real news that reports the facts, not the opinions of people they hire to be on their networks. We need real journalism news back not sensationalism editorialized media news that we have today.

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