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. Random Citizen

    Hopefully now Nancy Grace will shut the hail up now

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

    CNN just reported that Nancy Grace has spontaneously combusted.

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

    Are you kidding me that they didn't find Casey Anthony guilty of murdering Caylee? What evidence was the jury listening to? Obviously not what the rest of us was hearing. A murderer goes free. So much for our justice system!

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

    Why is racism being discussed? What the hell does racism have to do with this? Get a life and stop pulling out the race card every chance you get.

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

    So who then killed Caylee??? Casey's behavior told us all that she killed her own daughter. But our legal system won't convict a person for murder unless the killer is caught in the act – either by a live witness or by indisputable concrete evidence of the killing. Without that witness or indisputable concrete evidence – a jury cannot convict on the murder charge. So if you decide to kill someone – do a really good job of covering it up – and you’ll probably get away with it – at least – for the time you spend here on earth. But in the final analysis, when your judgment day comes – as it Will Ultimately Come for Each and Every One of us – the TRUTH Will Revealed and if guilty before God – Justice Ultimately Will Be Done – Make No Mistake About That!. For those who don’t believe in God – each and every one of you ultimately will become a believer – on your own judgment day. So Casey’s off the hook – for now, and for the remaining time she’s got left here in this very short earthly existence. Each day of the remainder of her life takes her one day closer to her Judgment Day – where the TRUTH will come out – and where she will ultimately have to face up to and pay for what she did.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bills Conscience

      You killed her Bill. You killed her until she died!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. I love America

    This is the only country in the world where something like this would happen...

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

      In my country, the moment she gets out from that court room, considered her dead. She may be acquitted by the court but the people will kill her, free of charge. Justice for Caylee.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Celeste Prier

    So glad to be an American. Once again, the Justice System proved to work! A person can't be tried and convicted in the MEDIA. I wanted Casey to be found guilty but not of first degree murder. I am satisfied with the verdict. Nancy Grace etal. needs to get a life and move on.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. A vidit

    6000 years and April obviously can't read. My comments in no way said she was innocent, I said the jury did their job based on the defense Baez and company put up for Caylee. This is the result of the incompetence of the prosecution, not the jury. They saw, as many sane people would, reasonable doubt with the prosecutions case and they could not commit. Too many people, especially minorities, are persecuted because jurors just "think they are guilty" regardless of evidence.

    So, yes, your God will judge her and let him do so. Our mortal system worked as it should. There was reasonable doubt with the prosecution's case. PERIOD, and this is the right outcome when there is reasonable doubt.

    By the gods man, no wonder this country is backwards and FAUX news dominates the ratings. Reading comprehension and common sense fails us, and way too many "so called christians" are far too quick to call for blood – something that contradicts everything Jesus stood for.

    Some people are up for a shocker at the pearly gates mayhap.

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

    Nancy Grace is worthless trash, but like must of us she's able to actually says she's guilty without having 100% perfect evidence as the jury has to have for conviction.

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

      The woman is guilty.... no doubt about it...if you were the father of that child or mother and the other person killed your child how would you feel..i bet the same as the majority of the people on here.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Thad

    Wow....she should burn...she did it and SHE KNOWS it....GOD Bless her soul......

    July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. growinmind@cs.com

    Wow. What else can I say? What a miscarriage of justice. The next thing you know we will have to sit and listen to her lies during interviews. This is so disgusting I can't believe this jury. They all must be smoking crack.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chief Section B

    While I don't agree with the jury verdict, I do agree that Nancy Grace should just shut up and go away.
    This is the most irritating woman on network TV. Would someone please get her some cheese to
    go with her whine???

    July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lost faith in system

    This is a said day in America that we let another child killer go free. I'd like to see if any of the jury members would ask Casey Anthony to babysit there kids if they even have any. The jury definitely want to get out of that trial without feeling guilty of having to put someone to death.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GDEM

    She is an evil person and she will in all likelyhood do another evil deed down the road! I hope all of the jurors that set her free get sick to their stomaches when this happens!!!!! You know it is just a matter of time!!!!

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

    Is Dexter on his way? I hope so.

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