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. vanessa

    im waiting to see how can she explain how she can heartless to throw her baby in a trashbag with 3 ducktape on her mouth. and then dump her as trash for the animals to eat. this is simply extremely sad that a pshico is on the streets

    July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David

    Nancy Grace is going to kill someone.

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

    Casey will now make millions of dollars from book and movie sales. Since it is now open season on 2 year old girls I will not contribute by buying or watching either. Rest in peace Caley because you didn't get any peace here.

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

    So does she play the "I'm a victim" card, or "I want my 15 minutes of fame extended" card, or "Here's my lie of the day" card over the next few days.

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

    Huge victory for our justice system. I 'think' she is guilty of something but it was NOT proven by the state. She very well may have gotten away with murder but there was no real physical evidence... When you're playing with somebody's life, I would not judge on emotion but evidence.
    The next 'Case of the Year' will come around and we'll see the media repeat the process of guilty before trial. The sheep will follow and get emotionally attached to the victim through photos and videos and want to see the defendant hang. Same thing happened with Scott Peterson with a different outcome than this... Its just the way it is.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. You're all suckers to believe in the system

    Nancy Grace and the talking heads look even stupider than before as they are wrong yet again lol !

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

      CNN NEEDS TO FIRE NANCY GRACE!!!!!!! INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY....GRACE SHOULD BE FIRED AND SUED FOR SLANDER..

      July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Emily

    I can't believe this!! I only started watching this 3 days ago. and I am in complete shock!! From the 2 sides what I have heard the prosecution may not have had unreasonable doubt but with everything else that they had against this "mother" such as the chloroform in the trunk of her car and the fact that she was too busy out partying while her daughter was lying in an animal graveyard. I live in Canada and am disgusted with the outcome! I feel so sorry for poor little Caylee's family! Casey will get what is coming to her with devine intervention!!! Again I fel so sorry for Caylee's family and all I can say is R.I.P. little Caylee Anthony
    Jill: if they can charge her with 2nd degree then they should!!!!!!

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

      I think you should get the death penatly for calling an innocent person guilty. She was declared innocent of the charges. Live with it.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ohio disgruntled

    system needs changed back to cave man times guilty till proven innocent many people have been sentenced to death row on hearsay only but you are right the prosecution failed to tie her to the murder but funny the anthony's private dick was led to the area where the body was found how coincendental

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

      We are going to start with you. You are a witch, the penalty is death by burning.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LJ

    I personally feel she is guilty , unfortunatley due to lack of there not being enough evidence to link her to her daughters murder she got off,....................for now, lets she what happens on judgement day, you can't fool or lie your way out with God, he already knows the truth. R.I.P Caylee.

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

      Hey Sicko, If you are going to bring God into the conversation, then you just sinned with that statement. "Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven? “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” You don't know anything about God, so hush!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. EH

    How about child abuse people? Not reporting your child missing for 31 days, letting that child possibley be in eminent danger and not telling someone she was missing is CHILD ABUSE!!!!

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

    Sorry to say it, but the American Justice System has failed today! I have read some posts about there not being any evidence of her committing the crime. All I have to say is that you must have been watching a trial different from the one I have been watching. There wasn't any DNA at the scene because it's six months later and there has been a lot of rain in the area. What about the computer searches? What about the chloroform? What about the heart shaped sticker? I believe in our justice system but these jurors are grade A morons!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Barbara in GA

    I'M glad that OJ got off as well, They didn't prove their CASE Either...HA HA HA. Michael Jackson got OFF SAME REASON, Robert BLake, SAME Reason.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. L Tutt

    We live in a country where we rely on the justice system to say if a person is guilty or not, no matter what are personal feeling are. To listen to the media to play of the masses like Nancy Grace does is a shame. Caesy will have her day if she had any thing to do with her child killing, it won't be by man but her god..

    July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    Only in America can biased nutcases here ignore the testimony in the trial and just come up with "she needs to pay."

    July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Adelina

    WHAT A DISGRACE!!!!!!!!!! THEY SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED!!!!! HER, THE JURORS, HER DEFENSE TEAM, AND HER PARENTS!!! MY BRAIN IS STILL TRYING TO WRAP ITSELF AROUND THIS VERDICT!!!! REGARDLESS OF WHETHER HER DAUGHTER DIED BY HER HANDS OR SOMEONE ELSES, AND WE ALL KNOW IT WAS HER, SHE WAS HER MOTHER, SHE BROUGHT THAT INNOCENT CHILD INTO THIS WORLD AND SHE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR CARING FOR THAT CHILD!!!! SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED TO THAT POOR LITTLE GIRL!! WHERE IS CAYLEES JUSTICE!?!?!?!

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