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. Concerned Mom and Grandmother

    They could and very well should have convicted this young lady in the death of this small child. Jose Baez did a wonderful job of antagonizing the prosecuters and the judge spent so much time mediating their personal arguments, he did what he set out to do. He got the jury to like him and dislike the prosecuters, therefore it came down to which attorney the jury wanted to vote for. This is not the Prosecuters fault, he simply responded to provication. This is not Jose Baez's fault, he was doing his job. This was not the Judge's fault, he tried to mediate and calm the circus. There were 12 other people in that courtroom. I would love to know how they can let an obviously guilty child killer back on the streets.

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

      Not Guilty, she didn't murder her. Reading is hard

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

      You would like to know? Well, I'll tell you. The state did not prove its case. It wasn't about lawyers. It wasn't about the judge. It wasn't about the boy who flipped off Ashton. In fact, Baez in his closing remarks told the jury to ignore the actions of the lawyers and focus on the evidence. There were way too many holes in the state's case, and I think the defense did an excellent job of exposing those holes. So at the end of the day it was about the law, and whether you and I like the outcome or not, the jury did its job and followed the law in accordance with their instructions and delivered, in my opinion, the right verdict.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anathame

    Oh. Well anyway, uh... mazeltov?

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

    If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. debbie boswell

    HOT TIP for Jose Baez and Casey Anthony...the trial is over...now you must face the real world!!!!!! I dont envy your positions and im pretty sure that life as you know it will be forever changed! people didnt take kindly to this murder and they wont take kindly to the 2 of you! everywhere you go you will find people who detest what you have done and you will not be welcome in many places. no matter where you go you will have people whispering and pointing and recognizing you as the person who killed your child, or for you baez, the man who put her back on the street!

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

      Sorry Debbie, I would like to think that we do not live in a fickle society but we most certainly do. Jose Baez is about to get PAID and so is Casey. Regardless of what you believe, there was not enough evidence. If we put Emotion, Nancy, and Jane to the side we all will see that.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Eric

    So is casey going to still live with her parents? She'll be homeless on Thursday....

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

      She will probably have more material assets than she ever has. The media will make her rich doing interviews.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      You don't think Jose Baez would put her up? Don't worry; she will have plenty of places to go. Like the previous comment, she will have no problem affording her own place.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tcrosby

    Only in white American... you can kill your kid lie to the police and party party party ... and get off! damn

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

      tell it to OJ

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

      Well said.

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

      amen to that had her name been casandra anthony she would have been convicted 2 years ago and fried by sundown ...no im wrong they would have never found the body because the would not have looked for the child if that was the case . crazy world we live in ...even crazier country

      July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jojo

      What about OJ?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nicole Zion

    The verdict given has literally made me sick to my stomach. As a mother of a 15 month old, all I can think about is Caylee. That poor child. I hope to God that karma comes back to bite Casey in the ass. Karma will get her in the end and I hope she suffers as she made her poor innocent child suffer.

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

      iI believe in karma too.................... she will pay one day!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • linkin

      Either we believe in our system of justice or not. I think that those Jurors were better informed then we out in the general public are; and I might say that some of them have childeran also, and are up-staning citizens also - assuming you are. This is our country and this is our system. You would of cause respect the system if you were charged and then aquited.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kiki

    Is this a closed case? If it wasn't her, who was?????? Somebody killed that little girl and we know who did it but the juri didn't..... now what? Now nobody cares? I don't understand the American justice!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stryfe

    listen to Metallica; And Justice For All...appropriate here

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


      July 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Grundoon

    I think the outcome would have been different if the police would have come right to the meter reader when he found the body in August rather than finding it 4 months later. Perhaps a cause of death could be determined. Regardless, the entire Anthony family's done for. The jury's in for the court of public opinion, too, and she and her parents are left with a miserable, broken life, as Casey and her perjor of a mother so richly deserves. If you thought the protesters were bad before, just wait. I'm looking for the next bi-line to be "Anthony family goes in to hinding."

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

    There are some stupid people in these forums, and yes, racisim is alive and well. Morons..

    July 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Just like the juice

    I want Casey Anthony in my office death pool for next year. Good luck staying alive....

    July 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    wow......Nancy grace failed to convict someone.....and yes, I know that she wasn't the prosecution in the courtroom but she led the prosecution in the court of public opinion.....and she failed.....just as she failed in selecting an attractive hairstyle and also a decent personality.....you failed Nancy.....and please quit showing photos of your homely kids on tv.....no one wants to see that.....as for Jane Velez Mitchell....well, it's obvious that she has issues.....major issues.....perhaps counseling or just go back to drinking.....I'm willing to bet that you were a much nicer person as a drunk.....
    In short, get over it.....justice, in it's most basic sense was done......either prove it or drop it.....

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

    I'm sorry but Cayle was not a little puppy or kitten that disapeard and will come back she was a Child a very young child. When you lose a pet you put a plate of food and water out for it put up signs and continue about your day. YOU DONT DO THAT WITH A LITTLE CHILD!!!! WHAT has this world come to. Casey might have been found not guilty by her peers and those peers I pray to the LORD of above never lose a child the way that Cayle passed. Cayle was a little girl with no chance at life. So all of you that are trying to make this a race thing put it to the side for the sake of Cayle and all the other children in this worl that never got JUSTICE and has been treated like a lost pet. ONLY GOD KNOWS THE TRUTH AND HE WILL BE THE FINALE JUDGE.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Michigan

    I hope she knows better now, get your tubes tried Casey. Next time you may get caught.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318