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. Patty deCheubel

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^l |^^^^^^^^^^| |P
    | ♥~♥ NO JUSTICE FOR CAYLEE MARIE ♥~♥ ||”"”;..\___.
    |……_______________| l______________l _||__|…, ]P
    “(@)’(@)”""""""*l'(@)l'(@)l """"""""""""""(@)'(@)""""'(@)
    ...Put this on your status & Keep this Convoy Going..

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    Well, now this may be a little worst then a death sentence. Casey will have to live the rest of her life knowing she has blood on her hands and that the whole world hates her. Though now we have a monster sent back into society as the downside. It's a lose lose situation sadly...RIP Caylee.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pandora Russell

    That's good ole Florida justice for you. I hope she can live with what she did . I'm a mother so I feel strongly about this , I can't understand how a mother especially could hurt/kill her own child. Some day she will get what is due her. God will see to her punishment.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    I don't know if the prosecution ever offered her a plea bargain deal, but next time when you have 0 evidence (no witness, no DNA, no tying the mother to the crime in any way, no proven cause of death, etc), I suggest they do that.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maze1

    I have been watching the Casey case since da begininng, and she has been found not guilty, but guilty on lying to the police... faulted by the state on not gathering evidence right, BUT I WILL SAY "A LITTLE GIRL LOST HER LIFE WIT NO EXPLANTION" I love Kids and i have 2 daughters, just think if that had happened to ure kids... RIP CALEE, TRUTH WILL COME OUT...

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jenny Gutman

    This jury has given hope to future child killers everywhere...what a disgrace. I am disgusted by this injustice.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BDK

    While I think Casey is a vile, disgusting piece of garbage, the justice system worked.

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

      I disagree, Florida has proven again why it is a state full of uneducated idiots.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ruth

    People have been convicted on less evidence than presented. I am a working mother of three and grandmother of one. Two of my kids are adults and married and I still call them everyday to see how they are. If my 1 yr old grandson is out of my daughter or her husband's sight for a minute they go crazy. Are you really telling me that a reasonable person would wait 31 DAYS to report their child missing, and all she gets is a guilty charge of lying to the police. If she did not kill or dipose of her childs body, what did she lie about. Come on people common sense. No parent that cares about their child would ever let something like that happen. Not know where your child is and not tell your family, the authorities, nobody but then party. PLEASE. Now I know that in Florida you really can "Get away with Murder". That should be the state's new slogan!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lost faith in system

    I now know that our justice system is going down the drain. People can now literally get away with murder but if u sell some weed you get life in prison. What has the world come to. This is the example we our setting for our kids that you can get away with murder doesn't matter what the evidence shows. If the jury couldn't see that she was guilty they obviously don't have children and have no idea what they were doing they just wanted out of there without feeling responsible for someone's life they didn't have the heart to convict a true killer. The justice system is now on pace with the economy going down hill.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. scRIP

    At this moment Casey can get on NATIONAL TV, FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, OR ANY OTHER MEDIA SOURCE AND SAY
    "Yes America I killed my daughter because of what every reason." NO ONE CAN DO A THING ABOUT IT. ppl are protected by double jeopardy.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Marc

    They can convict on a separate murder charge still....they can't convict of what they already stated.....there is so much they can call her out on but the real question is does the jury and judge know the loop hole.

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

    Caylee Anthony received zero justice. Casey was clearly and blatantly guilty of the murder of her daughter. At the VERY LEAST, she should have been charged with having something to do with it. She is a filthy liar and she has karma coming to her outside of court.

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

    The crux of the failed court system issue is, she should have been convicted of a felony for witnessing a toddler's death, hiding the body, and not reporting the death. Period.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TJ

    Now maybe CNN will replace Nancy Grace....finally

    July 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DL

    I was afraid this would happen. Remember the OJ Simpson case? The jury engaged in "jury nullification." That is, they chose to the evidence presented to them.

    Maybe this jury felt that they had spent enough time sequestered on the trial and ended up, perhaps unconsciously, rushing their deliberations and being too quick to settle on not guilty verdicts, rather than spend the time and effort debating each count, because they were anxious to finish their service and go home. Maybe they didn' t know the difference between a reasonable" doubt and any doubt. Maybe they just got so sick and tired of hearing all the evidence and arguments and just got turned off to the whole process and figured it was the easiest to just acquit. Maybe they got turned off to the prosecutors' compelling argument because they thought the lawyers were too slick anfd unlikeable.

    Right now I have little confidence in the American justice system. Emotion rather than logic plays too much of a part in it. Right now I wonder if a computer would do a better job. The only justice I can foresee is what will happen to Casey in the "next life." We will never know the full truth of what happened to Caylee Anthony.

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