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. myrna Roman

    Jurors are NUTSSSSSSS.

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

    My one question for the jury is did they forget that this woman CHLOROFORMED her TWO YEAR OLD daughter to go out partying!!!!!? If anything how was she found not guilty for child abuse! This just utterly disgusts me, this woman should rot in jail for the rest of her life.

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

    Thank God that the US system of justice requires PROOF of someone committing a crime. It doesn't come down to a coin flip.

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

    I do not see the verdict is surprising. I think what happened in the deliberation room is that the jury started first deliberating on the last four lesser charges of lying to law enforcement and they did not find any slight reasonable doubt that she is guilty and the jury felt confident about that. I am sure they reached this verdict quickly.
    However, I think they had many doubts working on the first more serious charges and they did not feel confident to charge Casey with a death penalty. It is a weak case and this is the state's fault. Why did not try to recover Caylee's body when they received the phone calls in August from Roy Kronk? They might have more forensic evidence from Caylee's body that could have answered many unanswered questions in this case. The state did a sloppy work and they wanted the jury to clean up the mess by finding Casey guilty of first degree murder. If the jury did that, they would live with the decision (based on many doubts) for the rest of their lives. I believe that Caylee drowned in the swimming pool and the jury used their common sense that the state prosecutors asked them to use.

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

      Seriously? Caylee drowned in the swimming pool and instead of calling 911 to get help they double bag her, tape her mouth and nose shut, and throw her in a swamp? That makes no sense at all.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RMS1585

    The results of today's verdict will prove 2 fold; America has its next Johnny Cochran and a murdered 2 year-old child has no justice.
    This is not justice! This is the result of being able to game the system into getting away with murder! This system must be fixed immediately!
    My only hope is that Caylee has found an eternal peace she so desperately deserved but could not have while still with us.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. scorcher

    hundred bucks says the father is charged next

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

    Woohoo let party down hard!!! Lets enter a wet t-shirt contest and get another tatoo of my darling daughters face on my butt.....Then i'll buy a new car a house do some drugs and forclose on my new house cause its boring then burn the car to collect ins on it. Life is so easy w/o a child.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lorraine

    Caylee was victimized a second time, today, this time by twelve strangers. I choose to believe, however, that regardless of the outcome here on earth, that Caylee is in heaven, where she knows nothing but peace, joy and love; and that her mother will someday stand before the Judge who knows all, and will get her rightful judgment – and that it will be eternal.

    I feel incredibly sad for George, Cindy and Lee – after all the accusations against them, all the public examination and judgment, their lives will never be the same, and they have, for all intents and purposes, lost their daughter (can you imagine them having a 'normal' relationship with Casey, ever again?)

    July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frank M

    II am disgusted by the bias of the talking heads who are supposedly current or former officers of the court. Nancy Grace, refers to Casey as "TotMom" and while showing her disdain at the verdict. Nancy does nothing but plugs her show with "What we try to do everynight is fioght for justice." The justice in this case was determined by the jury – not by Nancy "my s*** doesn't smell" Grace. Nancy and her cohorts talk to the audienceTlike we are idiots and how we don't undertsnad the obstacles that must be overcome when presecuting a case. Her comment that the jury is unaware of a lot of "evidence" that we are aware that is damning against Casey. It's NOT evidence unless it is entered as such.; The fact is there was probably more information that the defense was not permitted to enter. Her buddy, another talking head (another officer of the court) from Atlanta with " well, if Casey didn't do it, who did?." Now that's a basis for conviction. I can understand the jury not wanting to subject themselves to these sensation seeking commentators.

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

      I have to agree that the reporting on this case has been extremely biased. Most of the reporters for this case have talked as if the jury had already decided she was guilty. The reporters have done nothing but praised the prosecution and criticized the defense, all the while ignoring that the defense just had to put up a scenario that caused doubt, and that's exactly what they did. The prosecution by did not have a slam dunk case, far from it actually, and the reporting on this case has just been ridiculous.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike from Calgary

      AMEN ' the prosecutors (persecutors) overreached and Nancy Disgraced fanned the flames against Casey. If she was stronger, she should sue the ass of NANCY DISGRACE FOR SLANDER!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Moth1

    One more crime that goes unpunished. This is way too sad. What justice does this baby get now? Oh, too bad Caylee – understand – your mom was only 22 – she needed to party, OK? nOT!!!!!!!!! SHE WAS KILLED BY HER MOTHER. PERIOD.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Leah

    I cannot believe that she was found not guilty. I am sick to my stomach that this girl, and that what she is a girl, about 10 years old in maturity, will be free to have a party life while her little girl lays in a grave. What goes around comes around, it may take years but if I were her I would watch my back for the rest of my life. I can understand not wanting to give first degree but to think that she wasn't guilty of anything except lying, the jurors are idiots. Period.

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

      I'd watch the threats my friend. She ends up dead they might drag you into court.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Johnny Cochran

    God Bless Casey Anthony! Having to put up with you Nancy Grace idiots, I only pray she asks you idiots to jump off a cliff so we can cleanse some fools.

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

      So what you're saying is that if your child dies, you would go out and celebrate. God, I hope you are not a parent! There is a heaven and a hell. Caylee is in Heaven, but Casey will never get there.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. American Citizen

    Judge Perry is a very good and moral justice.

    The entirety of the case reveals that who the media holds up as "experts" and interviews these persons regarding very serious Court cases, as if they know more than anyone else what will or might take place, is not reliable.

    The barring of juror names to the media is a good decision. Let them be.
    ©2011 American Citizen ™. All Rights Reserved.

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

    This is the only country in the world where something like this would happen. You can kill someone in daylight, be a very good lair and not proving (although common sense tells you dd it) makes you walk away. NICEEEEE "I love America"

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

    HEADLINE: JURY DECIDES CAYLEE PUT TAPE OVER HER OWN MOUTH, JUMPING INTO BAG IN TRUNK AND COMMITTING SUICIDE – MOTHER SURPRISED AT THE 2-YR-OLD'S AGILITY!

    JURY FINDS CASEY GUILTY OF LYING TO POLICE SEVERAL TIMES, BUT SEES NO CONNECTION WITH CAYLEE'S DISAPPEARANCE OR DEATH – POLICE STUNNED!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:18 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