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. Paul E

    If you guy's paid attention to the live session today, before the jury came into the courtroom the cameras kept circling around. When the camera rested upon George and Cindy Anthony, the way I read the their body language, they were already crying hard as if they knew that Casey would be found guilty. I know that George knows, from 10 years law enforcement, that he has done his own objective criminal investigation. He is smart and all those time's he took the stand he spoke of Caylee and never of his own daughter. He knows when a story don't ad up and he must know when a person lies. His body language has changed over time, in the beginning he actively defended his daughter but as puzzle of lies and the remains of a child were found, he changed his stand in favor for his grand daughter.

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

      That is a fantasy you cooked up. You can't prove it, and she cannot be tried again on the same charges.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tina

    Guilty or not, the real tragedy is that a sweet child's life has been lost and was never afforded the opportunity the life she deserved. She was robbed at birth.

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

    She'd better move to Mexico, or she's going to endure a lot of spit in her face, and a lot of beat downs from angry citizens who have seen through her lies.

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

    If anyone buys her book,it will be as much injustice as this jury's decision.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Just like the juice

    if you got big t*** you must acquit – Baez closing speech

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

    Well – the defense attorney got one thing right – murder isn't right no matter who does it.

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

    Great, now she's gonna make millions selling her sob story on the talk show circuit, ensuing book tell-all, to be topped off by getting her own reality shows "Casey Minus One" and "Real Ex Baby Mammas"

    July 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jerry walters

    Nancy - what is stunning about the verdict? The prosecution failed and you are a loon.

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

      amen to that!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian Webster

      No Jerry, the prosecution didn't fail. Something is wrong with the system.

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

      2nd that

      July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kerry Daniel

    IMO, based on what is currently happening in our judicial system, no crime can/should be prosecuted unless there are at least two eye witnesses AND a visual, time-stamped record of the crime being committed. Otherwise, everything else is smoke and mirrors. We should scrap our justice system and simply provide everyone with a gun at birth. It is a terrible waste of taxpayer money to provide police forces who arrest criminals who will never be convicted; it's a waste of money to maintain a court system because most people arrested will never see jail. And it's a waste of jail space. Empty the jails and let everyone fend for themselves. Our judicial system has turned into a HUGE JOKE.

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

    Is Casey Anthony was a man and wasn't attractive, would the verdict be the same?

    I think not.

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

      She's attractive?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ang821b

    What kind of world do we live in where a mother can kill her child and get away with it, no justice for Caylee. Even though this jury got it WRONG I know one day she will stand before God and her crocodile tears and excuses will mean nothing for he knows the truth and her punishment will be for all eternity.

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

    Unbelievable! Why couldn't she be charged with CHILD NEGLECTING???? How can a mother live her life without reporting her child missing for a month. Now it's time Casey has to live life uncomfortable that many people hate and judge her. I think it's worse than getting death penalty.

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

    Thank God Casey is NOT guilty!!! Hopefully justice will be made for Caylee someday.

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

    Thanks god. The jury made the right decision . Not enough evidence to convict Casey.

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

      Thank you for having a heart and common sense Lin H!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian Webster

      Not reporting your child missing for a month is "not enough evidence"? Get the f*** out of here.

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

    Caylee was murdered and there will be no justice for her. A poor defenseless 2 year old who couldn't fight back or defend herself is gone and her horrid excuse for a mother (I hate to even call her a mother) could care less. I am sick and saddened by this verdict. I believe she killed that child. I understand I am not on the jury and do not have all of the evidence in front of me, and that a verdict has been passed, but my heart believes what it will. I am even more disgusted that she will more than likely make heaps of money off of this selling her victim story to everyone. It's a sad thing that happened today and even more sad to know that Caylee will never get the justice she deserves, and that family will always be broken. May God have mercy on the souls who deserve it, and may he bring swift justice to those who don't.

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