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. Tom

    Holly on CNN is now trying to say why the defense lawyers didn't ask for her freedom immediately. That DUMMY never learns.

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

    I knew it !

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

    George will take care of Justice! All their lives will never be the same. Their grandaughter recieved no justice! All the evidence pointed to Casey. I think the procecution did a great job proving it. No idea what case the jury was watching.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kelley Folsom

    I guess the next important question to ask is, what can we do differently in our society to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again? Well, there's 2 tragedies actually, the murder of an innocent child, and the killer not yet identified by the justice system. Only the mother knows for sure if she's responsible or not, but if she was totally innocent, why did she feel the need to lie? What can we do as a society to better support women in the role of mothers so that these kinds of tragedies can be better prevented? I'm not saying the mother isn't responsible, because, ultimately, she is. Whether she actually committed the act or not, we are all as mothers charged with the responsibility of keeping our children safe. These kinds of things shouldn't be happening to any child, and especially not in America.

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

    None of us were there. So, hard to say that what the 12 did was right or wrong. I am sure they will be asking themselves that for the rest of their lives. Regardless, her actions and attempted cover up after her daughter went missing speaks volumes towards her guilt. Casey may have escaped the judgment of man, but she will not escape the judgment of God.

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

      Amen to that!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lolol

    [Updated at 2:35 p.m.] Casey Anthony starts prarie dogging.

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

      I think Ill kill my child...leave him in the trunk of my car...toss him in a swamp...and get away with it! I wish you nothing but torture and pain for the rest of your life Casey Anthony!!!! This will come back to you..........LYING MURDERER!!!!!!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • cap12

      she is lucky that she was not on trail here in Texas!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Holly Smith

      I cant believe that after all this time oor Caylee can rejoice with the angels around her .

      July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • lm

      discusting

      July 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Motherofthree

      I am absolutely disgusted! This is justice?!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angeles, E

      I am APPAULED to hear the verdict! There is a D_E_A_D child people – who was LAST seen with her mother CASEY ANTHONY!! The eyes of justice has onec again turned her eyes AWAY from the truth. We as a society have become too "accepting" to the fact that it's ok to KILL our children in our nation! Rise to the occassion and make your voice heard . . .it's NOT right! So, what I am left with is..... who KILLED Kaylee?!!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. aaryn viden

    Facts versus Nancy Grace, highlights Nancy Grace's and the medias pre judgement independent of the facts. CNN and the media has created a disbelieving populist. Who is really guilty? Nancy Grace or CNN Listen to the media right now!!! They are all trying to justify their pre judgement

    July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • I am a mother too

      Ok, are each of you going to tell me you have never done anything wrong. give me a break. ya never speed in a school zone, wrote a bad check, didn't wear your seatbelts when the laws mandates it, text on the phone while driving. Tell me another lie. I've seen you do it and if I am willing to tell the truth, have done it myself. As for the media, these ignorant high school drop out want to be lawyers need to learn how to back up what they say with hard undisputable facts or keep their mouths shut. She was found not guilty by the jury for their own reasons. We were not selected to the jury so we do not have a say in her guilt or inocence. Just my two cents on this but then I am only a mother and grandmother, what do I know.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brent

    I have to admit, I feel she is a terrible mother, but the evidence presented did not prove she killed the child. It is a sad case, but people have let emotions and media speculation cloud their view of the justice system. We can't begin convicting people of murder or other things when there is bascially no evidence. I don't support her or think she is a good person, etc...but no one proved anything except there are many unanswered questions in this case. Justice was correctly served, even if it roils the emotions.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • RP03345

      Terrible mom? Really? You dont' think she should at least be held accountable for NOT reporting her daughter missing for 31 days? That is child abuse/neglect and that was one of the options for the jury. If she HAD reported her missing right away....they probably could have proven what happened to her. If they couldn't find her guilty of murder...at least they could have found her neglectful! It was HER responsibility to keep her safe.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • PH

      hear hear!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty

      I have to agree, it is a very sad day.....BUT the prosecution did not prove without a reasonable doubt what happened to Caylee. With the evidence brought forth in this case, could anyone prove it. Because of the condition of that poor little babies body they could not show how she died. And without that the case was weak. I feel in my heart she did it or knows who did. The jury did the best they could with what they had. And as hard as it is for any of us to realize, the jury's back was against the wall. No Real Proof...No Conviction.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • PH

      I couldn't agree more Brent.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KimH

    So, the jury finds her guilty of lying to everybody for 31 days about her missing child, but not guilty of having involvement in it? If she didn't do it, she must know who did because otherwise why lie?

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

      And she didn't cry when she saw pictures of her dead daughter/skull, etc, but cried tears of joy when she was acquitted. What a Sociopath!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. scorcher

    the father did it

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

    George Bush's fault.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rose (NJ)

    Micheal Vick gets convicted of killing dogs and Casey basically walk free for killing her baby. Wow!! a dog life is more important than a child

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

      Geez, you have a simple mind.

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

      Rose, I say the same thing. A dog will never be a productive citizen and pay taxes for the government to take. This child died before her time. She could have at least contributed to John Boehner's tanning bed funds, with even just a little bit of suntan lotion or something. Welcome to America!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tracy

    People are saying OJ #2. Okay, we now have a black president. Guess what, the next president may be a white woman?! Casey Anthony, God knows and God is not to be mocked, you will reap what you sow!

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

      I hope someone does to her what she done to babygirl!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mnmad

    Only in America can a black woman be convicted of a felony for CHANGING THE ADDRESS of her kids to attend a better school, whereas a white woman is acquitted of murdering her child...I hate to have to pul the race card but this is just blatant. Young whites have to be guilty beyond any shadow of a doubt- the standard for conficting blacks is far lower...

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

      oh be Quiet! This isn't a race issue. Remember O.J. Simpson?? Yes he was found Not Guilty too!! ppffft!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julian

      Does OJ ring a bell?? Do You really think this is a race issue?? Do You think anyone of any color is happy with this Verdict??

      race has nothing to do with this, You insult yourself to say such a thing.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • dianec

      I thought the same thing... but... 3 of the jurors are black.. I really think they just wanted to leave and not have to stay sequestered another 48 hours for the sentencing.. which is what would have happened.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • LNM

      Why there should always be people pulling out the stupid race card. We no longer live in the 60's to talk like that. The woman is a terrible mother and I think she should have been found guilty, but her sentence has nothing to do with her skin color. There was just not enough evidence to convict her. You should not look at convicted people as blacks or whites – but simply as people proven to be wrong and getting their verdict. There are just as many white people convicted , as there are blacks. COME ON! STOP PULLING THAT RACE CARD AND MOVE ON! It's 2011!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Eden-Balfour

      So the trial and conviction of Susan Smith is essentially nothing to you?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 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. ff

    July 5, 2011 at 3:15 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