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. Amanda L

    Our legal system is a joke, and as for the jury I cant believe they could sit there and be at peace with their choice. They are just as guilty now as she is. A killer will freely walk our streets again, and the justice that belongs to that little innocent child goes unoticed. You the jury are FOOLS and this will haunt each and every one of you forever!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Angel in Heaven

    Thoughts of you Caylee.

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

    "You cannot convict someone until they have their day in court." And apparently if you have a really good attorney you can't be convicted at all.

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

    Black, white, man, woman, OJ or Casey- it doesn't matter. She will eventually face her maker and HE will judge her accordingly. Psalm 7:11 – God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. Psalm 7:16 – His mischief shall return upon his own head; and his violent dealings shall come down upon his own pate.

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

    Guilty Guilty Guilty!! Reasonable doubt? First your child is missing, yet your dancing on a bar. Then you say that she died in the pool, yet you felt the need to bury her? Not to mention that someone thought it made sense to tape a dead child's mouth closed? Why, would anyone do that if you are innocent and she died by accident. Kids die every single day here in Florida and across the country, due to pool drownings. No one would have questioned the death, if she called 911 when she found her lifeless drowned child.

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

    I truly hope she can rebuild her life.

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

    absolutely shocked by the verdict....so who killed caylee? Maybe she committed suicide...

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

    I gues those jurors did what they were supposed to do"Beyond a reasonable doubt" there are too many things still left up in the air why the lyind if youre not guilty she sent the coops on a wild goose chase, who is the babys father? was she really molested?, and did her mother lie for her, and finally if not her then what the hell happened to poor Caylee???

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

      Beyond a reasonable doubt is NOT beyond a shadow of a doubt! Common sense people, really. The jury are a bunch of idiots. The whole world knows she murdered her baby, including her own parents. What Jose Biaz said about her family (with no proof whatsoever) in court is appalling.

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

    Casey on TV now smiling and laughing hysterically! Wow, her baby is dead and her family is destoyed and she is laughing, WOW. I think her sentence for lying should be one month of babysitting service in each jurors home, yeah, that would be perfect! If the jury doesn't think she is a psychopath, then they should have to live with her....

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

    jury suckss!!!

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

    My heart goes to Caylee I will always remember your sweet cute loving kind face. Your song I never knew dear how much I love you will play through my head the rest of my life. Jeff and Linda You tried your best and it is not that your best was just not good enough because 90% of the world can see what 12 others just rushed to not see.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Renee

    THIS IS SOME BULL.ORG!!! THAT GIRL KNOW SHE KILLED THAT BABY!! I HOPE THAT SHE, AND ANYONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT THE MURDER NEVER GETS A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP EVER AGAIN IN LIFE!! EVERYTIME THEY CLOSE THEIR EYES THEY SHOULD SEE CAYLEE'S FACE!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jdb

    this is horrobile, i hope this women "if you can even call her human" spends the rest of her life in missery. she deserves that and much more. i feel so bad for poor little caylee she has not yet gotten justice. this jury must had been the stupidest jury on this earth, no to be able to see that casey did kill caylee. i hope this animal lives the rest of her life in missery and burns in hell.!!

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

      well said part part is she will not have to work she will find some dude that just want company and is willing to live in isolation with her because she can never walk the streets anywhere and just because 12 idiots could not see the light of day the rest of the American people can and will not tolerate her in public laughing and smiling and can see through all her lies and hurt she has caused.... So good luck trying to eat somewhere or go to a mall because the rest of her life is secluded. I sure hope she does not try to convince the people that seen no justice she is innocent...............

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

    You people are convicting her because she went and partied? Seriously, that is not evidence.

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

      Nope, we are convicting her because her baby is missing for a month and she doesnt tell anyone, really? Look at the facts!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Outraged

    I consider myself a very ethics bound man, but today has changed my mind. I give up living my life according to a justice that doesn't exist. Please don't respond about not enough evidence and the 12 jurors decided. I realize this, obviously. It has only showen me that the only real evil in this world in evidence, and without it any person is conviction free.

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

      So you think we should convict people without evidence? That's your stance?

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