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. Unbelievable

    How someone who doesn't even report their child missing for 30 days doesn't even get convicted for child abuse at a minimum is astonishing. The jury needs to get their heads examined. Unlike the OJ aftermath, there is no Goldman family to go after Casey for civil damages. Casey is going to make millions of dollars on book and movie deals, on selling more pictures of Caylee and exclusive interviews with People magazine and other outlets – this girl will be living large now. She won't need a large job and as a sociopath, she won't feel a minute of guilt in her life. Let's all hope that like OJ in Vegas, Casey slips up with the law again and gets her just due

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

      I agree with you 100%! Our legal system is a mess!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Coley

    She wont have too much fun out here! Someone will see her out partying prolly this weekend!....and hopefully end it all for her! 😀

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

    I cannot believe all the people that are turning this into a race issue. It is not about race. It is about the murder of a little girl whose murderer will never be brought to justice because she was found not guilty today!! Rest in peace little Caylee. Your mother will pay one day for what she did to you!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Old Dog On A Hog

    Wow!!! Casey Anthony not guilty? I couldn't believe my ears!!! Just shows that the people of Florida are "Brain Dead" !!! I don't know how anyone with one brain cell could render that verdict! No wonder their crime rate is so high! Between the politics and our legal system, I've pretty much, lost all faith in this country!

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

      Good! Move to a country where authorities can tell the public how you could have committed a crime, so I'll nvr ahve to hear from you again

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

      Well you clearly have not been paying attention, Ms. Anthony was not tried in the court of public opinion but in the court of law, where the state, thank god, has to provide evidence that a crime was committed and then tie that evidence to the defendant. The state failed in that respect. I am proud of the jurors, it would have been easy for them to convict her, and people like you who don't understand that justice is not about your own personal gratification would have congratulated them. But instead they did their jobs, weighed the evidence presented, and made the correct decision. This case should be a warning to prosecutors across the country, you cannot leverage public opinion in a court room. If they wanted her convicted they should have done a better job, the DA in this case wasted a lot of time and tax payer's money on a completely weak case.

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

    People are so fixated by all the media coverage of this case and from the very beginning automatically drew up your own conclusions without looking at the actual facts and evidence! I knew she would be found not guilty and im glad she was! The evidence speaks for itself and no one could prove that casey herself murdered her own daughter and neither can anyone else! The evidence simply isnt there. I pray there will one day be be justice for little Caylee but we may never know what really happened!! R.I.P. Caylee and god bless the Anthony family!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Barbara D'Antonio

    I believe the jury did not want to be sequestered for another 48 hours and this was the only way they could go home today.

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

      What ever people die everyday, and their killers aren't caught its a common occurrence, even for little white girls. True crime is the crime that is going on in wallstreet. Wallstreet causes suffering on a unbelievable scale, yet no one cares or talks about it on news. People need to open their eyes to how this country runs and get their priorities straight.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rick Moreno

    Unbelievable, I'm speechless

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

      no, you're just a loser.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      I agree with you. Why don't they find her guilty of child neglecting. She is definitely guilty of child neglecting for not reporting her daughter missing for 31 days. But I guess she will live her life in uncomfortable situation now since many people hate her already. I think living life daily like that is more than death penalty for her.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shawn - Ohio

    What in the world. You don't do the things she include duct taping and putting a heart on her mouth if the child was already dead. Now the courst and the idiot jury has given a green late to killing your children in the persute of care free life style.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Barbara in GA

    THis should teach the STATE of FL a LESSON....Have all the FACTS before you try to CONVICT someone. I'm watching all the idiots that think this was a travesty. I'm Happy for CASEY and her FAMILY!!

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

      Happy for the Family? This family will never be together again. If these parents have any brains, they will not ever speak to Casey. This girl did kill her daughter because she was the only one that the child was with. A mother would never stop seaching for her missing child, but this mother decided she wanted to party have her freedom with out a child. What do you really think happened here. How many woman have you seen in the past that had no maternal feeling for their children? All the evidence says that only one person could do this and the lies and behavior of Casey was the proof.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Casey Anthony's Verdict is the reason why I'm going to Law School: to get rid of monsters like her.

    Justice was not served.

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

      I agree.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • caseyishot

      You wrote your comment in the "Name" field. Law school is NOT in your future.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MN

    Not guilty doesn't make all those lies true, justice was NOT served, OJ all over again. Caylee couldn't save herself, it's just not fair. I don't think the jury was thinking of Caylee, more of what THEIR opinion was.

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



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

    I think the judge soiled himself when he read the verdict.

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

    So, I'm listening to one of the defense legal commentators on CNN – "2 things caught my mind – the jury was tired and Ashton was arrogant".....SERIOUSLY???? A defense attorney says this on CNN??????

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

    Casey may think she's going to walk free, but she'll never be able to live 'the beautiful life' in this nation.
    There is a dead child who was last in her care, whether she did or did not kill this child, she also didn't report anything for 31 days and should have been held accountable for that.
    Those who flee an automobile accident don't get off this easy.
    Sad sad sad day for Caylee.

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