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. Nikkie Cali 909

    Can't belive that they let her go it's pretty funny my brother is in prison for not killing any1 he got 28 years & she killed her baby girl & she walks free!!!too bad I couldnt be in jail with her cause....dam I would kick her ass

    July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Congrats, Casey!

    The small minded and the uneducated will be the haters! Our judicial system worked! The state didn't prove anything! Did grandpa try to commit suicide because he is the guilty person?

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

    Old Dog, apparently you don't understand the bail process. For SERIOUS allegations, it is common to be DENIED bail or to have bail at an astronomical amount.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MadMardigain

    Casey will be the master of ceremonies at ta local bar by next week for 1/2 price drinks for 1/2 dressed girls night.

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

    Jeff Ashton is laughing really hard now!!! I can't believe how many people are brain washed by the media including Nancy Grace and Jane Velez!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Martina

    The verdict is no less stunning than OJ Simpson's and Casey Anthony will not be innocent in the court of public opinion. the key issue is lack of clarity around the definition of "resonable doubt". It is not beyond "all doubt" or "any doubt". Was this a verdict base don reason? not in the least, even just based on her behavior alone, even without the evidence. I'm guessing the jury will constantly refer to this.... shame on our justice system for going to such incredible lengths to try someone, and then not go to great lengths to make it clear what reasonable doubt means - and what it does not mean, in common sense, practical terms with enough examples to leave no doubt in their minds what reasonable doubt is ! . If there is even one juror who did not suspect Casey Anthony is at least probably or quite possibly guilty, then we are living in a dream world and we are wasting alot of money on these trials. Better spent on the welfare of children in need.

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

    Too all those that are accusing Casey with NO PROOF, I hope you never have to be in her place, but if you are I hope everyone accuses you the same way you have done to her!

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

      You're an idiot.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cathy

    I have to wonder if orange juice is the only thing FL can get right? Remember the "hanging chads"? What an absolute mockery to our judicial system!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Barbara in GA

    I do NOT Believe a Thing That Nancy GRACE says. Its a Good that the JURY is Not going to TALK to The Talking Heads OF the MEDIA........TOO BAD!!!!!

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

    This is just the way it is. The defense attorney won the case when he played the "Beyond a reasonable doubt" card. And fortunately enough for him, the jurors were incompetent fools.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RCH

    Casey may have been found not guilty by a jury, but that doesn't mean she didn't kill her daughter. Someone did. And I honestly believe it was by Casey's hand. This verdict has taught me at least one thing: If I ever find myself in a position where I've been arrested in Florida on a felony murder charge, the first phone call I make will be to Baez's office.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mrs. Piggy Grace

    Driving around with your dead child in the trunk should be enough for at least a neglect conviction, but then again, the jury were stupid retards. You just set a murderer free, congratulations losers.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AX

    "I hope that this is a lesson to those who have indulged in media assassination for three years,"

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

    She was just found "NOT GUILTY" by 12 people who have been kept away from their family, friends and loved ones for 2 months they wanted to get the hell out of that sorry room they've been kept in. "Character Assassination" Ha!! she is guilty, she murdered her 2 1/2 year old daughter and got away with it. SCOTT FREE!! I hope wherever she goes people will hold her accountable for what she did. Don't and I repeat don't cause her physical harm because no one deserves that but I believe she did hurt her daughter! She is in my book forever GUILTY!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Seattle

    Its very sad to hear this outcome. Enough with the OJ people, we are talking about a child who once was. Remember her Caylee, she has no voice now. Not like Andrea Yates who did the unspeakable which she admitted to, at least much of the blame was due to the fact she had mental issues. Casey is like Susan Smith she didn't want to be a mother anymore. She got rid of them and finally confessed, but not Casey you could see it in her face all through the trial, she shed tears for herself fearing how she would be punished. There have been many injustices, and this is just another one. I just feel when I see Casey smile she knows she got over, that's who this monster is. I just hope that when facing other charges and when the sentence is given that she gets penty of time to think about Caylee and how she suffered. If she was such a good mother how did this happen to her child, and there is plenty of evidence to prove that she could of cared less.

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