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. Rose California

    Go figure If i found a murderer not guilty i wouldnt speak with the press either, at this point i think we are deserving of a reason why they made their decision. This is a great injustice.....I still want justice for Caylee. I wish Casey had as much of emotion to her daughters death as she did to her not guilty verdict.... Guess all about her right

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

    So who then killed Caylee Anthony??? Casey Anthony’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 Be 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 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MalibuChick

    It is sad because this woman murdered her child, regardless of what the jury said. This little girl was missing for over a month before it was reported and the mother never noticed?? I think not considering she was a 2-year-old, and age at which most mothers would notice very quickly. So much for justice for Caylee.

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

    this country is scarey listen to you all. she was not a murderer she was guilty of negligance probably the child drowned not guilty of murder. scared of her mothers reaction she had no reason to kill the baby her mother would have taken her and raised her all she had to do was walk away and live her life the way she wanted.
    she will pay the personal price for what she has or has not done. open your eyes to yourselfs and listen to you angry vicious animals.

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

      yikes, it is hard to take this post seriously with all the grammatical and spelling errors. And common sense says if your child "accidentally drowns" you would tell someone, NOT go out and party.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RicRic

    We can definitely blame the the verdicts on the prosecutors. They did not prove their case!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Someone Actually Intelligent

      You are sorely mistaken. Good luck supporting a murder.

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

      I totally agree with you !! I truly believe she knows what happened but the prosecution could not beyond a resonable doubt prove that she did it. And I applaud the jury for folowng the law and not their emotions. Don't get me wrong I believe she did it ! Prosecutin just couldn't prove it.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • MJ

      A child is dead, this is important. The state failed to prove it was Casey, fact. The justice system is set up for beyond reasonable doubt. The issue I want to bring up is the overall incompetence of the news media, who look like a bunch of fools now, for they have had Casey convicted on day one. Geraldo, Grace and Pirro look especially like total fools.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Confused

      bad choices cast complicated long shadows.....

      July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. newsie

    So it's justice to chloroform your child to sleep with your boyfriend,be thrown in a trunk,then a trash bag,duct taped head to keep quiet and then a swamp to decompose?I hate Florida.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • b.rush

      And do it in Pineless County.....Tampa!

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

    Oh my gosh. We can get back to real news now. Really what is so special about this case? Thousands of these cases happen every year, why have I had to constantly watch/listen to this one? Can we please move on to some real news that actually effects me?

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

      Ignorant

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

      That would be "affects" me.

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

      Ok, so lets just start throwing everyone in jail that lies..... or that we think is guilty. I don't think anyone here knows her on a personal level. I mean really? Are we going back to the witch hunt days. The prosecution didn't produce any hard evidence. I do believe she knows what happen but that doesn't mean she did it. We cannot let assumptions be the basis for our judicial system.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. NOTGUILTY!

    Lets just be honest the prosecution sucked they never found evidence

    July 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • it is wat it is

      well let's c ! they had no DNA evidence to link her to the body or the crime scene...ppl r cryn of injustice "reely" had it been a person of color whether DNA link her/him to it they wud of been found guilty...there is no reel definition of injustice in this country (others I dnt no this is the ony one I've ever lived in) I beleeve justice is base on "color" not evidence or the lack of it...count the numbers of ppl of color in jails/prisons the lack of DNA (not) linking them to the crime r duin life w/o the possibility of parole...let's not even get to the issue of lying to the Cops...heyyyyyyyyy

      July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. A Coley

    As her attorney said, you cant convict someone in the media. Evidently you cant convict them in court either. It is so sad that the only one who has lied repetedly, mislead her family, the police, infact the whole country is now the person who stands to gain the most from this poor childs death. She could easily make six figure deals off of this. In my opinion she should be digging graves for a living, and even that would be too good for her. There is no justice in this.

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

      OK. So we all can not believe this, I will say this, look back to O.J. yes he did get off, but I know my God and Lord. threw my own evils that I "Got Away With" Always came back and hit you in the butt. So I know for a fact that she will not get away with is. One way or another she will get her own and it will most likely be at her own hand.

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

      Death was not the answer...................but what about little Caylee's justice Only in USA

      July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rodney

    hahahaha Nancy Grace ! This cow has been convicting Casey for 3 years and now she gets NOTHING !

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

    Smart the jurors not to talk to the media when it has been SO BIASED and you can tell from the nutcases on this board, that they might be stalked by some here.

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

    Well maybe one good thing will come from this. Maybe that vile Nancy Grace will have the massive stroke I've been wishing on her for years! LOL

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

      Hopefully you have a stroke

      July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • it is wat it is

      lol she is vile wishing her a stroke is a bit harsh lets jus offer her a dog bisquit...she is a very angry woman and need desparately therapy she still holding onto the anger of the guy who murdered her boyfriend yrs. ago...she has a vengeance on err-body. she is married now and ned to move on...have a nice dae...

      July 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. PrisseeMissy

    SOOOO, let me get this straight, they found her guilty of lying ... lying to COVER UP something they say she didn't do??!?!?

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

      Exactly!! Makes me sick to my stomach. A sad, sad day.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DIDI

      U got it right.................

      July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • DIDI

      LITERALY SICK TO MY STOMACH

      July 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chad D.

    Way to go US Judicial System. What a crock. You cannot rely on the Judicial System in this country to do its job. Rob a store for 20 bucks do 20 years, murder a 2 year old get off scott free. Its a shame.

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

    This is some BullS%^* .........So ok let me get this straight the Juniors just basically said was you can kill you baby just make sure you leave enough reasonable doubt and you will be found NOT GUILTY!!! I hope those Jurors have nightmares every night and see that little baby in the dreams... I hate this system and the Jury...

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