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. Squidman11

    I feel sick.

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

    WOW..i just don't get it.. maybe the jury is fed up of being there for so long and away from their family etc.. that they just came to the conclusion that she is not guilty so they didn't have to stay longer than necessary.. nothing adds up especially for her defense.. is this case still going to go unsolve on who killed the little girl? I guess if you are either pretty or rich.. you can get away with almost anything.. sad really because there is no justice in this care.

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

    just like O.J. and Vandersloot......it will come back around.

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

    To Mark, the prosecution is only as good as the evidence, which just wasn't there....not necessarily their fault just the way it was...

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

    HOW could it be that another jury could be as brain dead as the OJ jury. The prosecution did a fine job of presenting the evidence and showing Casey Anthony for who she truly is. There's no doubt that this woman killed her child and covered it up for as long as she could. The jury found her guilty of lying to the police – the only reason a person would lie is to cover their guilt – yet they don't find her guilty of murder – what is wrong with this jury??? If any book deals come out of this for Casey Anthony or any jurors, they won't get one cent of my money. I'm stunned, disgusted & disheartened. The people in this woman's orbit better hope they never become an inconvience for her – she has chloroform & duct tape, and knows how to use it.

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

    This evil woman said she had sometihng t do with it, a accidential drowning and still walks a way after admitting to disposing of her little girl's dody?

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

      I don't understand. I'm shocked.

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

    On the outside looking in with the media having influenced many of us we need to understand that the jury is not privy to what we see or hear. If you have ever been on jury duty you know you are often in out of the court room and don't hear or see everything. You avoid newspapers and news on TV in order to render a sound decision. It's up to the Prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt if there is guilt involved. In this case they didn't prove it. Even with what we saw on TV, newspapers and internet.

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

    well now I belive that theres no real justice!! cant belive that they let a baby killer free!!!!! I feel so bad for the grandparents to have to go throug all that an not get any justice for caley!!!! but hey thats the system for ya!!! hopfully they will appeal the verdict an if they dont hey theres a god an she will get whats coming one way or another!!!!

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

    What I find mind boggling is how could the Prosecution charge her with everything all at once... First Degree Murder and Manslaughter WITHOUT forensic evidence... Now Double Jeopardy comes to play... She can confess now and there is NOTHING the State of Florida can do to convict her... UNREAL!!!! they should have left the lessor chargers for another time and continued their search for a killer... I'm sure Miss Anthony would have tripped up somehow...

    July 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joseph Davies

    I'm embarrassed to be an American right now!!!!

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

    there needs to be a non profit in Caylee's name to help find missing children with a new Florida law named after her to punish parents who allow 1 hour or more (31 days) to report their children dead / looking for an attorney to serve as defending cousel for non profit to sue for the proceeds that will come from all Casey's upcoming deals / money to help look for REAL missing kids

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

    gee, is she gonna have a pizza party with jose baez, just like she had WHEN HER DAUGHTER WAS MISSING AND SHE WAS OFF GETTING A "BEAUTIFUL LIFE' TATTOO

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

      I could only hope she will get lynched and buried in the woods in a few bags with a heart sticker across her...never mind. Throw a few of those retarded jurors with her. Actually ALL the jurors.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Old Dog On A Hog

    Evidence or no evidence...The one thing I could never understand is...If this were TRULY an accident, why would someone sit in jail for three years, and risk a possible "Death" sentence?...For an "Accident"????? It just doesn't add up!!!

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

    I do not understand this verdict at all! How much more evidence is needed to prove Casey murdered her daughter? I believe the prosecution proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Who else had any motive to kill Caylee? Justice has not been served and a child killer will walk among us come Thursday.

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

    Whooooooooooo Im in shock. How can this be ?????? No justice for the little Child. It was never about her. I;m so sad.....

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